A client contacted me for help to start her own business. She wanted to stay home with her baby, but she could not afford to give up income from her job. Since she loves children, she wanted to open a home nursery business.
In working with childcare providers, I met many people who originally started a home day care to stay at home with their children. All too many of them fail, usually because of lack of basic planning.
Let me share with you some tips from successful providers.
Never forget this is a business – Great day care providers fall in love with the children in their care. When a parent does not pay their bill, have to make tough decisions to reject the child from care. A clear, written rules of payment and the ability to process credit card – look into Square or PayPal – will help you to continue to care for children without putting your business in the red.
Make sure you follow the law – Home Care must be approved by the state if they care for more than a threshold number of unrelated children. The threshold varies depending on the situation so be sure you find out what your state requires. There will be a health and fire regulations to follow and cities or organizations homeowner may have rules about home daycare so investigate before you open your business.
Decide whether to accept the assistance of government – The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides reimbursement for meals and snacks served by preschool providers. There are also federal day care subsidies for low-income parents. These programs can help your bottom line and investigate what is involved before you decide to participate.
Interview parents face to face – When a parent contacts you, meet them in person. Discuss rules for payment, drop off and pick-up times, sick care and discipline and have them sign a copy of these policies file. Meet the child before agreeing to sign him or her in the program. It is important that you, the parents and the child are a good fit.
Network with other companies – Home day care can be a lonely business, and if you do not have a car sufficient to transfer all the children safely, you can be homebound. To get to know others gives you someone you can talk to when you need help – or just adult conversation!
Home day care is hard work and many who try it end up giving it up and go back to work as soon as their children are able to go to school. If you really love children, however, and are willing to work hard and keep an eye on the bottom line, it can offer you a comfortable home base income.