Critical Things to Know Before Starting a Child Day Care Business

With the rise of single parent and working parent families, the need for quality child care is at an all-time high. However, because caring for children is such an important job, the law requires you to secure proper licensing, insurance and meet other requirements before starting your business. Below are key things to take into account when looking to start a child day care.

How to Starting a Child Day Care Business

Find the right location:

Whether you’d like to operate your child care business from your home or a commercially leased property, you need to ensure it has all of the necessary features to meet your the needs of children. Think about food prep and a kitchen, bathroom facilities, storage for toys and if you’ll need an outdoor area for play time or a playground.

Zoning Laws:

Be sure that your neighborhood and/or the location of the commercially leased property is zoned for a child care business. The best place to find information about your specific location is to contact your city or county zoning department. Also be sure to check the bylaws of your Homeowner’s Association (if you have one) to ensure you are not in violation of any of their regulations.

If you are planning to operate your business from your home, review this checklist relating specifically to home-based businesses. It’s also a good idea to have a licensing specialist visit your home to ensure that you have met the necessary requirements and avoid any fines for non-compliance.

Space and Safety:

Because you’ll be working with children, there are very strict regulations on how much space you’ll need to operate, as well as the safety precautions you need to take. Check out online resources like ChildCareAware.org  or your state or county social services department website for more specifics on how to meet these requirements.

Get Insurance:

There are a variety of insurance types and policies to consider, especially for small businesses. Some of the most common include liability insurance— both personal and professional; property insurance; and home-based business insurance. Consult with an insurance professional when setting up your day care to make sure you are properly insured.

Licensing:

The most important part of running a child care business is to be sure that you, your business and any of your employees are properly licensed. Some states, like New Jersey, require licensure at the local level, while other states, like California, require it at the state-level.

In addition to any child care-specific licenses you’ll need, you’ll also have to comply with all general business licensing for your city and/or state, as well as any periphery licenses, such as food service. Conduct a comprehensive search for licenses.

Business Set-Up:

Make sure you set-up your business correctly from a financial and organizational standpoint. In the end, this will be just as important to your success as acquiring the proper licenses. Things to consider when setting up your business include everything from tax laws to budgets to operating expenses.

Background Checks:

You and your employees must have clean criminal records, usually at both the state and federal level, in order to run a day care business. Your state and/or local government will run background checks on your employees as part of licensing them, so you may want to do your own background checks first –  prior to making an offer of employment. There are many companies that offer Int-ernet-based solutions for running background checks..

Other things to consider:

Caregiver to Child Ratio:

You’ll want to be sure you have an adequate adult to child ratio. many experts recommend having at least one adult per every four children, but that can change based on the children’s ages. Many states, counties and ciites mandate this ration and sometimes even tighter ratios – particularly with younger age groups. Daycares that take babies may have a legal requirement of one to two or even one to one.

Proper Education:

Many local governments require owners of child care businesses attend government sponsored orientation classes. Also, you’ll want to be sure that at least some, if not all, of your employees know how to perform CPR on a child, as well as basic first aid. The American Heart Association and the Red Cross offer classes across the country.

When starting a daycare business, you’re taking on tremendous responsibility. If you do it well and give parents confidence, it can be a rewarding and lucrative experience.

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