If you enjoy being around children and have experience working with them, opening your own licensed in-home daycare may be the ideal business for you. Excellent childcare is severely lacking in the United States and the need for responsible and caring daycare providers is enormous.
Each state has its own qualifications for becoming a daycare provider. In most states, daycare licenses are usually granted through the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Families and Children. Typical questions on the application include the daycare applicant’s name, address and telephone number, how many children will be cared for, the ages of all of the children and the name and age of each person living in the home.
After completing the application, your home will be inspected for general and fire safety. Additionally, most states require daycare providers to attend first aid and CPR classes, as well as classes in food safety. You may also be required to get a TB test and be fingerprinted. This sounds like a complicated process, but its purpose is to make sure each family daycare is a good place for children to spend their days.
How Many Children Can I Care For?
The number of children one person can care for in a daycare depends upon the state in which you live. Typically, one adult can care for no more than four infants if those four infants are the only children being cared for. One adult can also care for two infants and up to six other children so long as at least two of them are over six years old.
Setting Your Rate
Knowing the number of children you can legally care for will help you determine your rates. To find out the going rate for daycare in your area, contact several other in-home and center daycare providers. Set your rate according to the going rate for your area. You will charge more for babies, less for preschool-age children.
Important Legal Issues and Policies
In addition to deciding on your fees, you will need to make sure you have all of your policies in writing. Be sure to include things such as attendance policies (What if the child does not come to school? Do you credit the parent’s account or do they still pay?), vacations, baby supply policy (Do parents bring their own diapers or do you supply them? What if the baby runs out of diapers? Do you charge for each diaper used? If so, how much?) and payment information (When is payment due? Is there a grace period? What happens if a check bounces? Are there refunds? What are the consequences of late payment? Do you refuse service?). Have your attorney write up your policies or do it yourself with daycare business legal forms available online.
Supplies to Get Started
Food Subsidy Program
Your daycare may qualify for federal food program subsidies. If you choose to apply for this program, you will be required to create meals and snacks according to federal guidelines. Menus must be made up in advance. For more information about the USDA Child & Adult Care Food Program go to google and Find.
Advertising Your Daycare
Advertising your daycare business does not need to be expensive. A small classified ad in the newspaper, fliers distributed at markets, churches, children’s clothing stores, and word-of-mouth advertising will quickly fill your available daycare slots.
Establishing your licensed daycare business can be cumbersome in terms of the things you must do to satisfy your state’s requirements for licensing, but if you enjoy working with children and have children of your own at home, daycare may an excellent work-at-home job for you.