15 Steps to Starting a Daycare Center in Your Home
Updated on: by Miranda Grimm
It’s often a delicate balancing act to manage caring for your children while earning money to support the family. Some parents opt to start a childcare service at home to earn money and care for their own children in the process. If running an in-home daycare sounds like the best of both worlds to you, this guide will help you begin your business. The order of the steps in the guide may vary, depending on your time, skills, and legal requirements, but ultimately, they should all be met to provide the best care to the families you will serve. Some states may require you to fulfill even more obligations, but these fifteen steps will definitely get you started.
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15 Steps to Starting a Daycare Center in Your Home
Step 1 – Brainstorm
Brainstorm ideas on what you believe is best in a daycare and what you would like to implement in your own home. Research online articles and books about successful centers. If possible, visit other daycares in the area or look at their promotional material online to establish more ideas.
Step 2 – State
Contact your state’s childcare division to determine licensing and safety requirements and to obtain paperwork. Your state office might refer you to a city or county office. Some states only require licensing if you’ll be caring for more than a certain number of children, generally five, but each state is different. Even if you don’t need a license, you may still be required to register your in-home childcare center.
Step 3 – Size
Determine how many children you would like to take on. It is always best to start small to be sure you have what it takes to manage other people’s children all day long. The number of children may affect what paperwork you need to fill out.
Step 4 – Name
Select a name for your organization. It may be required on the paperwork, so begin brainstorming early.
Step 5 – Paperwork
Submit all the proper applications and any other paperwork. Now is also the time to turn in relevant fees.
Step 6 – Safety
Obtain your CPR and first aid certification, particularly for children and infants. This is not always required, but the certification provides proof to parents of your abilities in an emergency, which will be a huge boon to your business, the parents’ peace of mind, and, most importantly, the safety of the children.
Step 7 – Training
Consider taking a few early childhood classes or childcare courses. This too will benefit your business, impress the parents, and benefit the children.
Step 8 – Background
Initiate the process of running background checks on yourself, all other adults in the home, and any assistants you may hire or volunteers you might enlist. Yes, this even includes your sweet little old mother.
Step 9 – Property
Implement the necessary improvements to your property required by your local childcare department. Depending on the condition and safety of your home, this may be minimal or highly involved.
Step 10 – Inspections
Schedule inspections from the fire department, your local childcare department, and anything else your state or county requires. If your home fails, promptly begin the process of bringing it up to code.
Step 11 – Rates
Determine your childcare center’s hours, services, and prices. Call around and ask what the going rate is for local daycare for all the ages you will be considering. Price your center competitively. Base it on what types of services you will offer, such as meals, snacks, and field trips. Don’t forget about the extras, such as what you will charge for early drop-off, late pick-up, weekends, nights, and one-time drop-offs if you will allow this. Also establish a payment policy at this point, such as paying in advance, frequency of fees due, and payment method.
Step 12 – Registration
Print out forms for parent to sign when registering their children. You will need forms for general information, emergency contacts, liability, permission, and anything else your state requires. Look up what other centers use by searching online.
Step 13 – Schedule
Set up a daily schedule. Not only will this prove to parents that you won’t be plopping their little ones in front of the television all day, but it will give your days a basic structure that will make them run more efficiently.
Step 14 – Social
Consider establishing a social media page, such as a secret group on Facebook. There you can post quick updates of the kids during the day so the parents can check in on them and feel more involved with their little ones.
Step 15 – Advertise
Advertise your new business. Depending how fast you want to grow, begin with word of mouth. Beyond that, consider a sign, newspaper advertising, an online presence, and flyers distributed throughout the neighborhood.
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Getting your in-home daycare center off the ground requires considerable time and effort. Nevertheless, establishing a successful home business which includes spending time with your own children is well worth the work it requires to launch it. Good luck on your new venture!
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