Starting an At-Home Child Care Service: Before You Get Started

20. October 2010 00:41

Whether you are a stay at home parent, recently laid off, or have imagined yourself taking care of children for a living, a child care service is a rewarding and satisfying option for those who are looking to start their own business. The cost of daycare and professional nannies can be a strain on some family budgets. There are families that will make the decision for one parent to quit their job to care for the children because child care costs would force them to lose more money than scaling down to a one income family. Starting an in-home child care service can result in little overhead costs, provide an income for those who are already caring for their own children, and help a community of parents who are looking for more affordable options.

If you are interested in starting your own home based daycare service, there are several considerations to make. A successful business is possible with the right planning, understanding your responsibilities, and communicating effectively with the families that use your service.

Is starting a child care service right for you? 

First and foremost, you have to love working with children. If you are squirmish when it comes to changing diapers or never saw yourself as a "kid" person, this is not the job for you. Typically parents need child care for eight or more hours a day (a typical workday), so you are going to be with the children for a long time. Make sure this sounds enjoyable before proceeding.

What are the laws in your state about starting a child care service?

Every state has specific laws about whether citizens can start in-home child care services and how many children are allowed to be under one adult's care. For instance, in the state of Ohio, if you are caring for more than six children, you are required to get a license. In addition, child care services must be certified if child care is subsidized by public funds. Contact your state for at-home day care service guidelines.

What is needed for starting a personal business?
Anytime we generate income, we are required to pay taxes. You can pay self employment tax by using your social security number or using an EIN (also known as a federal tax identification number). Either number should also be given to parents so they can declare child care costs on their taxes. Although it is not required, setting up a business checking account can help manage your business income so you can effectively set aside money for taxes, business expenses, and paying yourself. 

How will you operate your child care service?
Before you get started, think about the hours of operation. Are you willing to get up at 5 o'clock am for parents that have to be at work early? Would you care for children whose parents work twelve hour shifts or overnight? Do you want summers off? (Focus on caring for children of teachers!) 
 
There are many things to consider before starting your own child care service. Knowing how to get started makes it easier to decide if this is right for you.   

Resources:

"Start a Home Based Child Day Care Service". at-homeworks.com

"Employer ID Numbers". irs.gov

"Child Care in Ohio" ohio.gov