How to Start a Child Care Referral Agency

by Contributor - Updated September 26, 2017
Start a Child Care Referral Agency

How to Start a Child Care Referral Agency. Child care is in high demand as more and more families depend on two incomes to get by. Starting a child care referral agency can be daunting, but rewarding. A successful agency implements a rigorous screening process to ensure that child care referrals involve responsible day care centers and providers.

Decide if you want to run a non-profit or for-profit organization. Non-profits are funded by grants and donations and provide free referrals to those seeking child care providers. For-profit or businesses sell referral arrangements with local agencies and list only those that they have a business relationship with. Each referral that is completed and placed is paid for by the day care provider to the referral agency.

Contact the local Small Business Association for information on starting a referral agency. The SBA has information on grants, loans, licensing and business plans. The SBA can provide guidance and information on starting a business.

Create a name for your child care referral agency. Choose a name that is catchy and easy to remember. Keep this name in mind when you are choosing domains for a website as well and check to see if that domain is available.

Begin by searching the Yellow Pages for child care agencies in your referral area. Make an Excel spreadsheet or use a database software to record the name of the agency and contact information. Note the ages and kind of care provided.

Continue to gather names of individual day care providers as well. You can find these in the local newspapers and most of these are available in classified ads online. Make sure that the providers have taken CPR and First Aid classes. Check for certifications as required by your state.

Develop a website and fliers to advertise your child care referral agency. Contact a local newspaper and request an article on your agency. Place a classified ad in your local newspaper and Craigslist.

Keep your reputation intact by providing good referrals and follow up. Word-of-mouth advertising is the best advertising of all and this can only be obtained by providing good service.


  • Track all financial transactions with bookkeeping software such as QuickBooks. Follow-up with clients to see how the referral worked out. Keep track of complaints and address them with your referral source. If you continue to receive complaints about a certain provider, do not refer to that provider.

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