If you enjoy working with kids, starting a childcare business may be a good option for you. As more and more families become dual income households, the need for quality childcare is in high demand. Just be sure to know all the ins and outs of the business before you get started.
What Home Childcare Involves
Sitting on the floor building a block tower. Reading Goodnight Moon dozens of times. Changing diapers. Getting several kids fed and to sleep. This is all in a day's work for a childcare provider. The pros of this work are watching and facilitating kids as they grow and change, during a vital stage of development. The cons can be the repetitive nature of taking care of little children and meeting their needs. In 2008, a home-based child care provider could expect to earn about $9.12 per hour, or $19,000 per year.
What You'll Need to Start a Childcare Business
In order to run a childcare business from your home, you'll need plenty of space for the children to play, learn, eat and sleep. You'll also need toys, books and games to help children learn and develop new skills. You should get CPR and first aid certified, in case of an emergency. Be sure to childproof your home--cover electrical sockets, cushion sharp corners and put breakable items out of reach.
Learn about State Regulations
You'll need to check with the local regulatory agencies to find out what the rules are for running a childcare business from your home.
There are minimum requirements for the size of the rooms you are using, which include:
- How many children you may have in your care (teacher-student ratio)
- Whether you need to have an in-home nurse, home daycare license, etc.
Home safety inspections and criminal record checks are common requirements for childcare providers. It's best to know all about the variety of rules and regulations before you start your business so things run smoothly.
Drum up Business
Do you have friends who currently use childcare services? Ask for their feedback--what they like, don't like, how much they pay for the care, and so on.
Place an advertisement in your local paper. Place an ad on the bulletin board at your local coffee shop, public library or some of the churches in town. Hold an open house at your new childcare business. Let parents get to know you. They will want to trust you before enrolling their children in your program.
Websites and Social Media
In this age of technology it is vital to create a website for your home-based childcare center. Show the rooms, toys and activities you'll use (hopefully featuring light, cheerful colors).
Explain your philosophy on discipline and learning, as well as policies you want parents to understand. Having a concise section with your fees is a good idea. Contact your local Facebook or Twitter friends and encourage them to check out your new website.
Even in this difficult economy, there is great need for quality childcare. If you enjoy working with kids and being your own boss, starting a childcare business may be great for you.
About the author: Alicia Klepeis is a freelance writer living in upstate New York. A former middle school geography teacher, she has written for the National Geographic Society, as well as magazines including The Dollar Stretcher, Fun For Kidz, Kiki and Sprinkles. She also writes for Suite 101. Her website is www.aliciaklepeis.com.