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How Do I Start a Home Daycare?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated May 17, 2024
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Checking into licensing requirements is a good first step for anyone who wants to start a home daycare business. Future daycare providers should learn about health, zoning, and licensing requirements before investing money to begin a new business. Talking to others who operate a business in their home might also prove helpful for someone who wants to start a home daycare. Daycare providers represent likely sources of information about tax laws, effective bookkeeping methods, insurance, and sample contracts between childcare providers and parents. Looking into the average rates charged locally, offset by expenses of running the business, might indicate expected income from a home daycare business.

Most areas require home inspection and licensing before permitting a person to start a home daycare. Inspectors determine if inside and outside play areas are safe and secure, and if the home is clean and organized. The number of children allowed might be linked to square footage of the home, and measurements might be taken. Any hazard that could lead to the denial of a license should be removed before someone applies to start a home daycare.

Agencies that regulate child care facilities commonly require background investigations and fingerprints for all adults who live in the home. These licensing agencies typically also require that the person planning to start a home daycare know first aid and emergency resuscitation techniques. Getting those classes out of the way before applying for a license might save time.

Anyone who plans to operate a home daycare should look into tax laws that affect self-employment. A conversation with a tax planner or accountant may assist in planning how to keep good records to report income and expenses. Insurance needs might also be explored early to determine if a homeowner’s insurance policy covers children attending the daycare.

Devising a contract with pay rate and payment terms is advised as a crucial step to start a home daycare. Contracts should outline when payment is due, whether in advance or at the end of each week. It might include a waiver of liability and medical release for emergencies. Most daycare providers require names of people authorized to pick up children in lieu of parents as a security measure.

Someone starting a home daycare should choose toys and activities that are educational and stimulating. By determining the ages of the children who will be in the home, physically and mentally appropriate activities can be mapped out. Nutritional snacks and meals might also be planned ahead of time. Some licensing agencies set nutritional standards for daycare facilities.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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