If most of your paycheck is going toward child care, it may be time to consider opening your own day care center. You can save on day care costs and start your own business at the same time.
Jobs are unpredictable in these tough economic times. However, people will always need child care, which makes it a great business to start.
Here are the steps you should follow if you want to start your own daycare business from home.
Identify the Local Requirements
Contact your local Health and Human Resources to find out what the child day care requirements are for your area.
They will likely send you a start-up packet that will tell you everything you need to know about getting your daycare center up and running.
This will include:
- How many children you can have in your home at one time
- How many hours you can work
- Any instructional courses you must take
Advertise Your Daycare Business
You will need to start advertising as soon as you have decided to start your own home child care center.
There are several ways to advertise for free.
Make some fliers to pass around. You can place your fliers up at schools, grocery stores, leave a few on the counter of a gas station, or find a friend on the PTA who can pass them out for you during the next meeting.
Consider these items when creating your flyers:
- List some of the things you are offering to your children (fenced in yard, arts & crafts, story time, etc)
- What did you like or dislike about your child’s day care center? Use this to be a guideline of what you want to offer.
You can also place an ad in the local newspaper. This does cost, but they usually charge per word and you can control the cost.
If you live in a high traffic zone, you can put a sign in your front yard to attract business.
Setting Up Your Home
You will have to set your home up for a home child care business. To do this, you must consider all the safety aspects, including covering outlets, removing weapons, hiding cords, blocking stairs, and protecting sharp corners.
Here are some of the things that you will want to take into account when setting up:
- You will need to designate an office in your home. This should be located near the door or the rooms used in your business. Here you can conduct parent meetings and keep records. You will want to get a file cabinet or box to keep all the necessary records on each child. You will also need a place to keep your payment records and your sign in/out forms, daily schedules and reports, and monthly fire drill papers.
- It is important that you mark the exits of your home, as well as the rooms that have been designated just for your home child care center.
- Decide which parts of your home you want to allow children to use. If you have a basement or a part of the home that is not being used, you may want to use it as part of your child care center.
- You should have a smaller designated kitchen area so that the kids are not exposed to your main kitchen where there may be dangers. Get a small refrigerator and microwave and place them on a small counter, ideally with a small sink as well.
- Kids will need a bathroom with a training potty and a safe way to wash their hands and brush their teeth. If you don’t have a bathroom to spare then keep supplies for your child care in a basket that you can get out every day for your kids to use. Then after you close you can put the basket away.
- Consider a place for arts and crafts, a reading corner as well as free play room.
Go to yard sales and flea markets to find toys to use for your child care business. This is a great way to find top dollar toys that have been gently used and still have a lot of play left in them. When you bring them home be sure to bleach and clean them thoroughly before setting them up in your home.
Establish The Rules of Your Daycare Center
Establish your business rules. This will include:
- Hours of business
- House rules
- Menu for the month
- When you expect payments
- How you prefer to be paid
- Daily schedule
- What age group you want to accept
- What you will charge for each child
- If you will charge overtime
- If you will open nights and weekends
- Any late payment fees
- Returned check fees
Plan an Open House
As soon as you advertise, you are likely receive several calls regarding your new daycare center. You want to make sure that you are completely ready for business, because most parents will not contact you until they are without child care.
You can plan an open house which will allow parents to walk through your home and see for themselves how safe it is. They will also be able to ask questions and get to know you better.
- Create activities for the children to play while the parents are viewing your open house
- Enlist the help of a friend or neighbor to come over during your open house to play with and entertain the children while you talk to the parents
- Offer snacks and drinks for the children and arrange a five minute session with each parent so you have time to answer questions and talk with them about your business
- Offer an introductory price for parents who attended your open house
If your goal is to stay home and run your own home child care center, you can make it a profitable business as long as you plan properly and start it on the right foot. Know exactly what you want before your doors open. You can start a home child care center with minimal money and it can be as successful as you want it to be.