Work from Home: How to Start a Home Daycare Business


Most of us could use extra cash in our budget. I know that I always can and I’m sure you’re no different. If so, you may be looking for a way to make some extra cash or a business that you can work from home. For many people, starting an in-home daycare can be the answer to that extra income search. If you love children and are willing to open your home, it may be a great ways for you to add extra income to your family budget each month and avoid having to work outside of your home.

Starting and running an in home daycare is easier than you think! Use these tips, tricks and ideas to get started in just a few days!

Usually, home daycare centers are run by stay-at-home moms, who don’t want to leave their own kids to work outside of the home. If that is you and you’re trying to figure out if you can afford to be a stay-at-home mom, you’ll want to pay attention to the rest of this post. As far as how much money you can make by running an in-home daycare, the answer is “it depends.” It will depend not only on what you charge, but your operating costs and one more thing: your location. Where you live will impact your income quite a bit so you’ll want to take all of those into account when trying to figure out if you can afford to start your own daycare business.

How to Start an In-Home Daycare

Before you get started, you’ll want to take a look at your local laws. You can’t do anything if you don’t stay within the law. You’ll need to check things like how many children you’re allowed to have in the home for every adult, safety equipment you are required to have, and any certifications you’ll need. Most places won’t require much though for a small in-home daycare so don’t let that worry you. If you’re planning on opening up a huge business though, that is where you will likely run into more rules and regulations to pay attention to.

Once you’ve got the laws and regulations figured out, it’s time to really get started! Grab a project planning book and get planning because you have some decisions to make.

  • What hours will you be open?
  • Will you feed meals or will parents be required to bring food for their children?
  • What ages will you care for?
  • What will you charge?
  • Will you require payment daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly?
  • What is your plan for emergencies (both your own and that of a child)?
  • Will you be providing preschool lessons and learning or just play?
  • Where will children sleep during nap time?
  • Will you provide sleep mats for nap time or will parents?
  • Will you open a separate business checking account or just use your savings account?

These aren’t all of the things you’ll need to know, but they’re a really good place to start. Don’t worry too much about trying to figure every single little thing out. You won’t be able to because when kids are involved? You won’t be able to.

Once you’ve got all of that figured out, it’s time to really get cracking! Figure out which room in your home you will use as a play area and get it cleaned up all spiffy like, bring in baskets or totes to help you stay organized and hit the deals and thrift stores for kids toys, books and other goodies to help keep them entertained. Make sure that you get things that will appeal to each age group that you’re going to be caring for. You don’t have to go overboard, but try to find a few things (7-10) in each age group to start. You can always continue to pick things up as your business grows.

Another thing that I recommend is that you pre-plan any activities that you and the kids in your home daycare will be doing, that you account for things like fire drills and that you mark on a calendar ahead of time when you need to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You should already be doing those things, but if not, now is a fantastic time to start. If your home doesn’t have carbon monoxide detectors or smoke detectors, you’ll want to have them for sure before you open.

Next you’ll need to start placing ads. There are plenty of places that you can do this for free, like Facebook groups, Craigslist and other online classified sites. Place ads in all of the free places you can find then move onto other areas. Flyers can be a huge help and usually grocery stores, libraries, and laundromats will allow you to put one up for free. After you exhaust all of those places, you should look at your local newspapers website to judge whether or not you think it would be profitable to place ads in the paper and their online classifieds.

One thing. Be sure to have your phone number on your ads as well as your email so that people can contact you. If you’re not sure about putting your phone number on the net, pick up a cheap cell phone to use for your daycare business. You’ll also want to make sure that you have an awesome day planner handy so that you can schedule interviews efficiently.

When you get to the interview phase, be sure that you’ve got references and any education or certifications handy. It may be helpful to update your resume and have a few copies on hand. Highlight your experience in the child care field specifically since that is how you will be working from home. Most parents tend to be very careful who and where they leave their children so you’ll have to be able to prove to them that you are more than capable of providing care for their kids while they are away.

You will want to have 2-3 references from people who have hired you to watch their children plus it never hurts to have a couple of character references as well. If you’re CPR certified or happen to have any formal education in childcare, be sure you have that information ready to go too.

It may take a few interviews before you find a couple of solid clients. That’s okay. No successful business is built overnight and your time and effort will eventually pay off. Running a daycare out of your home can be not only lucrative, but also heart warming. You will be making a difference in a child’s life in a way that most commercial daycare centers don’t.

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Stacy Barr
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Stacy Barr

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family. A true gypsy soul, her newest blog, Unsettled Hearts, chronicles the journey of her family to become full-time travelers. By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Her book, also called Six Dollar Family, has sold more than 7,000 copies since its release.

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