If your dream is to work from home, set your own schedule and be your own boss, running an at-home daycare could be for you. This is especially true if you have young kids of your own.
Running an at-home daycare would give you the ability to keep your kids home with you instead of paying someone else to watch them, plus provide extra financial stability for your family.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 13 percent of children attend daycare in an at-home setting. While the market is a tad smaller than the center-based arrangements, if you run your business right, you will see success.
How to get started
Unfortunately, opening an at-home daycare isn’t as easy as doing some advertising and opening up shop. In order to do this, you first need to get licensed.
This varies by state, so check with your individual state on what the specific requirements are. Most will require a background check and home inspection at a minimum.
Tip: You may want to look into getting accredited through the National Association for Family Child Care. It can take up the three years, but it’s a clear sign of the excellent quality the kids will receive and gives many parents peace of mind.
You’ll want to come up with a business plan, too, followed by preparing your home.
Your home should have plenty of room for the kids to play and run around. It should be clean and sanitary, in addition to being safe for the children.
Stairways should be gated, corners of coffee tables and other sharp objects should be guarded and electrical outlets should be covered, among other things.
In addition to preparing your home, you’ll need to provide everything from educational games and activities to outdoor playground equipment for the kids. Major retailers like Walmart provide hundreds of affordable, kid-friendly options. Television should be used seldom to none, so you’ll need to find a way to keep the kids busy.
As a business owner, it’s always best to insure yourself in case anything is to happen.
The two types of insurance are liability and accident-medical insurance. Liability insurance protects your assets if they were to get damaged, including electronic equipment or damage to your home. Accident-medical insurance covers you in case children were to be injured in your home.
You can also check with your current homeowners insurance. Some companies offer plans for those operating at-home daycares, but some don’t, so don’t just make the assumption that you’re covered.
How to advertise
There are a variety of ways to go about marketing your business once it’s up and running.
The first, of course, is through referrals.
You may already know a few women looking to find an affordable in-home daycare for their young children. Word of mouth works wonderfully and requires little to no work on your part.
You can place ads in your local coffee shop or grocery store, register with sites such as Care.com, post ads on Craigslist and even put an ad in your community newspaper.
Also, don’t forget to take advantage of social media. Let your Facebook friends know you’re starting your own business and consider offering a referral bonus to those that help you get customers. Even something as small as a $10 Starbucks gift card is appreciated by many.
If you have school-aged children, post fliers in the office and tell your kids’ teachers and friends about your new business.
You never know who may be in the market for finding a good, reliable, trustworthy at-home daycare.
About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ with her husband and two daughters. She writes on small businesses, working from home and personal finance.