How to Start Up a Home-Based Daycare

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A home daycare is a viable business opportunity for individuals who enjoy caring for children but need a business they can operate at home. Demand for home daycare services is constant since many parents either work or go to school. The start-up cost is low, compared to most businesses. Each state regulates home daycare operators through an agency to ensure that children are safe while in their care.

Determine the number of children you wish to care for daily. Most states allow daycare operators to care for up to two unrelated children at the same time for up to 20 hours per week without having to obtain a childcare license or register the business. Operators who plan to care for more children must obtain a daycare license.

Complete an orientation if this is required in your state. The orientation provides information about childcare rules and regulation. Operators also learn about the various aspects of the licensing process.

Submit an application for a childcare license. Include the necessary supporting documents, such as a medical form showing the results of your physical examination and a fingerprint card. Your supplemental documents must also include forms for each assistant you hire as well as forms for all adults who reside in your home.

Pass a home inspection. A representative from the licensing agency inspects your home to ensure that it is safe for children and satisfies the agency’s requirements. Representatives from various city departments, such as the fire department and the water department may also visit for an inspection.

Wait for a response from your state’s childcare regulating agency. The agency approves licensing applications if the applicant’s background check and home inspection are satisfactory. The processing time varies depending on the amount of time necessary to process the background check. Display your license in a prominent location in your home for parents to see.

Gather the items that are necessary for daycare activities. These include tables and chairs for children, mats, toys and books. You may purchase them or request a donation of gently used items from friends, family and the community.

Hire staff, if necessary. Staff members must complete various aspects of the application process, such as the orientation, medical examination and background check. In most states, daycare assistants must be 18 or older.

Advertise your daycare with online and offline resources to reach as many local parents as possible. For instance, place an ad in the classifieds section of the local newspaper, distribute fliers around your neighborhood and post information to online forums dedicated to your community.