Starting a Home Day Care Center

If you love being around children and want a way to make a living in your own home, consider starting your own home day care center. It gives you the ease of working at home with no worries about pricy gas bills or long commutes. Plus, you get to be your own boss and not have to answer to anyone but yourself.

Steps For Starting A Home Day Care Center

When starting a home day care center, there are some vital steps that you should take. These include:

Legal Considerations

If you want to start a home day care center, you first need to check out the legal requirements in your area. This is a requirement that some people tend to forget in all the excitement. It’s vital to do the research on these so you can get your home in order and meet any requirements such as minimum area per child, number of children you are allowed to watch, or what meals or snacks you must provide.

It’s possible that you will have to be licensed and have taken first aid or CPR classes, or other specific requirements. Other possible requirements are things like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, baby proof electrical outlets, or designated areas for play, naps or meals.

You should also look into how to qualify to receive any sort of government vouchers so that you can take care of low income families and not lose any money. These things and more are essential and your state and local government regulatory agencies should have all the required information.

Money Matters

When you first start out with a home day care center, there will be numerous things that will cost you money. These include things like decorating the area to be used (i.e. painting, posters, etc), kid sized furniture (chairs, tables, cots, cribs, etc), supplies (crayons, paper, toys, etc), and more. If you plan on incorporating a pre-school into your center, you will need educational toys, pre-school workbooks and lesson plans, and other tools for teaching small children.

Many of these things may be deductible the next time you file your income taxes, so it is vital to keep all receipts and records of payments. You should also keep track of things like mileage and gas costs for your vehicle, home expenses such as utilities, taxes, or maintenance as at least a percentage of these are normal deductible expenses usually dependent on the square footage of your office/daycare facilities.

Contracts between you and the parents

Another important factor some people forget is that you need a contract in writing between you and the parents. You can’t just open your door and take care of children without something in writing saying what you will provide, as well as what is expected from both you and the parents. A contract will specify things like costs (regular and late fees), any days you are closed (holidays, sick days), termination requirements (i.e. how many days notice, etc), as well as things like contact information, medical insurance provider, and any issues particular to the child such as allergies, etc.

These are just a few of the things that should be down in writing for you and the parents to sign off on. You also need to have a clause in your contract that states there is a probationary time frame for a new child in case of any unforeseeable issues that would cause you to have to break your contract with the parents due to problems such as being habitually late or things like their child constantly biting or other issues. This covers you and keeps you from being roped into a situation that is unpleasant for all.

The contract will also state things like the daily schedule (i.e. meals times, play times, school times, and nap times). Plus, it could specify if there is a need to have parents volunteer, or other issues unique to your center.)

Marketing your new Business

Don’t forget about marketing your new day care. It doesn’t do you any good to spend money to set it up, and get ready and just expect children to show up with no prior advertising. You can put ads in the paper or through the Internet, put up posters in local businesses or schools, and of course word of mouth between you and everyone you know. Don’t forget to jot down the cost of all this advertising as it is another business expense for tax purposes.

You could even start your own website or blog. This could be a great marketing tool to promote and after things get going it can be used to post articles, pictures, and other information about your center.


These are some of the things that you need to consider when starting your own day care center. This is more than just a job, as you will be helping to shape the minds of little children while providing them a safe, nurturing environment to be in while their parents work. It’s not the same as being a babysitter, as the high quality home day care centers feature many things that will benefit the child such as pre-school, etc. Your day care center should be a welcoming place that the children love and that inspires trust and faith in your ability to provide a safe and fun place for children.

All in all, opening a day care center in your home can be a rewarding experience for both earning money, as well as doing a job that you love. If you have your own children, it also provides playmates for them. It can be a win-win situation for both you and your clients, as you are providing a vital need that many working parents prefer over standardized day care centers or leaving their child with someone who is just going to plop them in front of the TV all day.

So, join in the adventure of opening your own day care center and be sure to follow these valuable guidelines.


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