Children's Day Care Business Idea

The Complete Daycare Start-Up Kit [Day Care Business Guide]

AdrianGBox 6/20/2008

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Business Summary:

As a day care provider, you will fulfill one of the most sought after services in the country, caring for our youth. You will safe guard, protect, love, comfort, and teach those within your care. This job is demanding and sometimes stressful filled with screams, tears, temperatures, vomit and dirty diapers. However, this is also a job of many rewards filled with smiles, hugs, new words and first steps.

You will be all things to those you care for, from a friend, or playmate, to an artist, teacher, storyteller, disciplinarian and chef, the hats you wear will be many. It would be difficult to find another job as fulfilling and heart-warming as this one.

You will have the flexibility to be licensed or unlicensed, work within your home or in a separate structure, and choose the number of children you keep. Each state has a set of guidelines and requirements for day care centers, which you should review during the planning stage of your business.

Start Up Cost: $2,000 – $10,000

Can Be Home Based?: Yes

Can Be Operated Part Time?: Yes

Skills Required:

Certain technical skills are required for operation whether you are licensed or not such as CPR and first aid certification. If you plan to obtain a license, further skills will be required to fulfill state and county standards such as early childhood education.

Interpersonal skills are just as important to be happy and successful such as a high level of patience and a sincere love of children. It would also be helpful to be easy going, fun loving, and creative.

How Much Can You Earn:

Potential earnings of a day care center depend on the number of children you decide to keep, their ages, and if you are operating a licensed or unlicensed facility. You can charge more for babies and toddlers than school age children because they require more one on one care. Likewise, you can charge a higher fee if your facility is licensed as you have met all state requirements and paid all applicable fees.

Most day care centers charge by the week with payment in advance and many require payment even if the child is absent. If you are looking to supplement household income and/or do not want to become licensed, you can easily keep two children and earn gross revenues of $10,000 per year. However, if this will be your main source of household income, you will need to obtain a license in order to keep a higher number of children and employ the appropriate number of licensed teachers. A day care center with enrollment of 35 or more children can expect to earn gross revenues of $100,000 plus per year. Again, it all depends on the age and number of children you decide to keep.

Understanding Customers:

Your clients will be busy moms and dads with hectic careers. They will look to you for safe, dependable care of their most prized possessions, their children.

Marketing Strategy:

One of the best ways to find new clients is by word of mouth. If you make a child happy, their parents will be happy. They in turn will tell friends and family members about you, which will drive more business your way.

You can also solicit new clients if you place small classified ads in your local newspaper, hang a few business cards on the church bulletin board or ask to be included in the next newsletter. If you are a licensed day care center, you can contact social services and they will refer voucher recipients to you. Most departments of social services have a voucher program for low-income families. Parents pay a small portion of total monthly day care costs and social services sends you a check for the remainder. You can obtain more information about the voucher program and food reimbursement program from your local department of social services.


The requirements to operate a day care center vary from state to state and from county to county within each state. In most cases, basic requirements include but are not limited to the following: you will need to be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and a clean criminal record. You will also need a tuberculosis test and become certified in CPR and first aid. Adequate square footage requirements must be met both in and outside for each child, typically 25/75 respectively. If you have pets, they must be up to date on all vaccinations and you must obtain approval from the zoning department to operate a day care center in your area. For more information and specific requirements, contact your state and county of residence.

Depending on the ages of children you plan to keep, you will need some or all of the following to get your center started:

  • Cribs
  • Mats or Cots
  • Books
  • Teaching Materials
  • Tables and Chairs
  • Toys for Indoor and Outdoor Play
  • Snack and Lunch Foods
  • Fencing
  • Small Yard Sign
  • Basic Office Supplies (business cards, pens, receipt books, a roster, file folders and forms to document necessary information for each child)

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