If you're planning to start a daycare, it's time to start doing your research. While anyone can open up their home to children, not everyone can operate a licensed daycare facility.
So what do you need to know if you want to start a daycare?
Here are ten things you need to consider when starting a daycare.
- Decide how you want to operate. Do you plan on having an in-home daycare or will you be opening a daycare center? The requirements are different depending on the type of day care you plan to operate.
- Look into incorporating. Incorporating your daycare can have many benefits, including reduced personal liability.
- Check local zoning laws. Once you've decided on your actual physical location, you will need to make sure that the location you've chosen is in compliance with local zoning laws. Check with your city or municipality's zoning department to be sure that you are allowed to operate a daycare facility at the location.
- Check your state's requirements for daycare licensing. Each state has different requirements and the link above will help you scroll an interactive map that can direct you to the right state websites.
- Get your day care ready for inspections. It's likely that the state authority issuing the license will want to inspect your daycare location to make sure it's safe. Check your state's compliance rules and get your place ready for the inspections.
- Research insurance carriers. You will be exposed to liability in managing other people's children. So talk to your insurance carrier to see what kinds of liability insurance you can get on your daycare.
- Hire workers. Look into the caregiver-to-child ratio for your state and make sure that you have enough caregivers on board. When you consider caregivers to work in your center, be sure to do a background check on each potential applicant. A proper background check will be very helpful to you in the long run.
- Advertise. Once you're ready to launch your center, you should start advertising. You can advertise on Craigslist, in local newspapers or by word of mouth. But remember-- don't stretch the truth as false advertising could cause legal troubles for you down the line.
- Draft contracts and policies. When taking clients, you should have policies in place for your fees, cancellation and zero-tolerance policies for behavioral issues.
- Keep good records. Make sure to keep files on each child and keep good records, in case you get inspected by the state.
- Requirements for Opening a Day Care Center (Houston Chronicle)
- Childcare Mixup: 2-Year-Olds Dropped Off At Wrong Home (The Chicago Family Law Blog)
- Starting a Business (FindLaw)