Starting a daycare doesn't have to cost much if you are thrifty. You can start out slow and eventually add more toys or furniture when you've become settled or have more children in your care. Initial costs will include the daycare license, state required classes, home improvements, safety supplies, toys, books and furniture. If you are a frugal shopper and know where to purchase the things needed, you can open up your daycare with very little start-up fees.
Contact your state's family or social services department to find out if you need to have a license and how much it will cost. Most states usually do require a license and will have you take a few classes such as CPR, first aid, shaken baby syndrome, SIDS training and car seat training. The classes are fairly inexpensive and will help you understand what to do in an emergency. You may also need to have a fire safety check done in your home, which usually costs less than $100. You can easily find out the approximate cost of the classes needed by talking with the social services department. Most of your start-up costs happen here.
Check your home for any safety issues. Are you near a pond or lake and need a fence? Does your home need any renovations in order to be a safe place for children? Do you have any animals that need to be vaccinated? Your start-up costs will increase if your home needs special attention.
Keep your start-up costs low by knowing what you already have and what you need. Make a list of the furniture, toys and books that you already own. If you do not already have young children in your home, you will need to start from scratch. You can purchase almost everything you need at garage sales, thrift stores and online classifieds such as craigslist for less than $100. You can also place a free ad in craigslist requesting donated items. Many people will gladly give away free items to help supply a daycare in their community.
Pay nothing for advertising. You can advertise for free on craigslist or with your state's child care resource center, or create inexpensive signs and place them around the neighborhood. This will keep your start-up costs at a minimal.
Government Food Program
Sign up with the federal government's food program. The federal government has a program that helps child care providers supply healthy food for the children in their care. You can receive a substantial amount of money each month for food by just logging in what you are serving them and going to a couple of free classes each year. They will also provide you with great menu ideas.
Talk to Other Providers
Talk with daycare providers in your area for more information on start-up costs. They can give you a ballpark range of the fees involved and where to go for inexpensive supplies.
Ask Family and Social Services about daycare start-up grants. You can also contact your city hall to find out if you would be eligible to apply for any grants to help you get your home ready for daycare. You may receive hundreds of dollars for free to help you start your business.
Consider getting liability insurance for your daycare. Child care liability insurance protects your business from accidents that can occur with a child on your premises or under your care. Look online for a daycare insurance specialist.
Based in Minnesota, Kristen Middleton has been writing since 2009. She runs a child-care business and, in 2010, authored the book "How to Open Up a Daycare." Middleton contributes to various online publications, specializing in child care, gardening and furniture care.