Full Guide on how to Open a Daycare | What Certifications Do I need to Open a Daycare?

If you care greatly for children, opening a daycare for them would be the right path. Working parents always need someone to look after their children, meaning a daycare business will never go extinct.

By reading this, you will start by knowing everything you need to know about starting a daycare business and all the steps you need to take. Also, you must bring your mind to things you may leave out. Enjoy the read!

What is a Day Care?

Basically, a daycare is any institution that provides supervision and care of infants and young children during the daytime, particularly to enable their parents to hold jobs.

Daycare, is the care and supervision of a child or multiple children at a time, whose ages range from two weeks to eighteen years. Starting a daycare could require you to have extensive training in first aid and be CPR certified.

In addition, background checks, drug testing at all centers, and reference verification are usually a requirement. Daycare can comprise advanced learning environments, including early childhood or elementary education. 

Is Opening a Day Care Worth it?

If you want to be a business owner, owning a daycare would be a business worth it. You also have to consider factors like how good you are with kids.

However, if you are not good with kids, you can employ people to help you. Owning a daycare would give you the time you need for yourself. The income you would pull in is also quite reasonable.

All factors put into consideration, owning a daycare is worth it if you know what you want.

How much can you make Owning a Day Care?

Research has shown that in owning a daycare business, you could stand to profit an average of $37,000 per year.

While some owners of daycare centers also report earning over $60,000 profit per year, others reported hauling in less than $20,000 profit. Several factors, including location, size, and demand, lead to these numbers.

Is Owning a Day Care Profitable?

Many daycare owners start their early childhood caregiving careers at their own homes. They are often fairly profitable because of the low running costs and not needing additional staff.

To be very profitable, you must be efficient. Try as much as possible to cut cost when necessary but do not cut the children’s quality or safety.

To be profitable in your daycare, you also have to be mindful. So not try to grow it too fast. take time in managing expenses, maintaining capacity little by little. Always try to maintain the safety of the children. Happy parents and auditors mean more business coming your way.

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How do I start a Day Care with no Money?

If you are considering starting a daycare and have no more, you can apply for grants. You can choose to secure a business loan, either from a bank or from an alternative lender.

Even if you start small, there is always going to be start-up costs when opening a daycare. Some of these grants also provide additional education in areas related to child development.

What Equipment do I need to start a Day Care?

In starting a daycare, there are several pieces of equipment that you would find very necessary. These include anything ranging from children’s playhouses to furniture to child’s safety equipment. The quantity you would buy depends on the number of children you plan to take in. Be careful not to buy too much or too less. Here are a few;

  • Child-size recliner
  • Coat/Dress-up Rack
  • Cow Rocker (toddler) with washable cover
  • Easy Grip Paintbrushes
  • Flannel board with scenery
  • Infant Bouncer Car
  • Kitchen Microwave/Oven/Sink
  • Baby Bouncer
  • Large Felt Boards (30″ x 40″)
  • Light box Desk & Chair
  • Nap Mats
  • Observation Activity Table
  • Playpen
  • Play structures both indoor and outdoor
  • Play Houses that are big enough
  • Red Bopp with Animals and Arc
  • Round Lego Table & Chair
  • Riding Objects such as tricycles
  • Safety Gate
  • Safety Mirror/Baby Mirror
  • Sand & Water Table with lid
  • Sandbox with Lid
  • Small Table with 2 Chairs
  • Swing Sets; amongst others.

What Age is Best to Start Day Care?

Research has shown that the best age for a child to start daycare is at least 12 months. The biggest consideration that you should consider is how your child would take being away from you. The study also shows that starting daycare too early can increase infant stress levels.

How do I Set up a Day Care Business Plan?

Setting up a business plan for your daycare business is one of the first things you should do when considering owning a business. You should sit back and think about what you want for your business and how to get it done.

A business plan may help you organize your ideas for launching your business by identifying the steps you need for a business start-up. A daycare center business plan will also help you stay on track after you’ve launched your business and as you move toward meeting your goals.

However, it did not set a business plan in stone, and you can adjust it periodically as your business grows or your plans change.

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What Top Certifications do I need to Open a Day Care?

Most of the time, some certifications are required to open a daycare. You would have to contact local governing agencies to find out what certification they require in your area to open a daycare.

Here are a few general ones;

Diploma or GED

A GED Certification is a certification that separates you from the rest. It is a pretty easy diploma degree that qualifies you to get jobs in construction, maintenance, office and administrative support, occupation and physical therapy help, pharmaceutical technology and various other fields.

Bypassing your GED exam and completing one year of vocational job training, the areas in which you will be qualified to work is extensive.

Family Child Care Home License (in-home daycare)

Getting a Family Child Care Home certification gives you an edge in starting your daycare business. You would be strictly taught the care and supervision of a child, regularly, unaccompanied by their parent or guardian, in a place other than the child’s own home, with or without compensation.

It would also imbibe you with standards for the certification of persons who provide child care for 1 to 3 children under age 7.

Food Handler Certification

If you open a daycare and get a certification as a food handler, it would give parents the courage to leave their children with you. A well-trained and knowledgeable food handler is the backbone of food safety in retail food service.

It would teach you food safety and meet the requirements for food for all persons, children included.

First Aid and CPR Certifications

A First Aid and CPR Certification is a must if you are taking care of people’s children. Health hazards may occur. If you already have a certification, to comply with their guidelines, they require you to renew your certificate every two years. If it sets your CPR certification to expire within the next six months, it’s time to think about recertification.

General Business License

A General Business licenses certification is a permit issued by government agencies that allow you to conduct business within a geographical jurisdiction.

It is the authorization to start a business issued by the local government. This certification would teach you everything you need to know on running a business.

Group Family Child Care Certification

A Group Family Child Care License certification basically teaches you everything you need to know about caring for children in a family home regularly for over three hours per day per child.

In this type of care, there can be seven to 12 children, ages six weeks to 12 years, plus four more school-age children. To get this certification, you would need to apply online. After you apply, you must attend a 15-hour Health and Safety Training.

Health and Safety Permit

A health and safety permit is also very relevant to start a daycare business. A safe system is required for all work activities, particularly for children left with adults. There have to be maintenance activities put in place.

Permits are most often required for maintenance work where standard safeguards cannot be used or where new hazards are introduced by the work. Having this certification would ensure you put in place the necessary tools to ensure the safety of children.

Directors License

The Director’s Certificate program by Childcare Education Institute (CCEI) provides information for early childhood professionals seeking to further their skills and knowledge in managing a child care center.

This certification would enable you to identify key considerations for developing a childcare center philosophy, recognize strategies for maintaining a safe and healthy environment, and identify and utilize best practices and strategies for assessing young children’s learning and development.

How do I Open a Day Care?

  • Get Educated: While considering owning a daycare, you have to be at least educated enough to affect the children left in your care positively. As an aspiring small business owner, this is very crucial. An early childhood education degree is a good start as it would even teach you most of what you need to know about running a daycare.
  • Get a license: One of the first things you should consider before opening a daycare is your state’s family child care licensing laws and procedures. Each state is different. You’ll have to meet certain requirements regarding age, education and teaching experience, background checks, home safety, and capacity, amongst other things. To get your license to open a daycare, there may be certain documents that it would require you to provide. You may need a CPR certification, an unblemished driving record, and other documents showing your commitment to children. Gathering all the documentation can be time-consuming, so be sure to plan.
  • Research Tax Credits- In your plan to open a daycare, you may claim a tax deduction on spaces used for business purposes. This can be the case even if the space doubles as your family room when the children go home for the night. This is a simple yet wonderful way to help cut costs.
  • Seek Grants- To successfully start up a daycare at home, you need to get finances. You can choose to secure a business loan, either from a bank or from an alternative lender. Even if you start small, there will always be start-up costs when opening a daycare. Some of these grants also provide additional education in areas related to child development.
  • Design your learning environment- How your learning environment looks is one thing that would enable you to stand out in starting a daycare business at home. You need to imagine what you want your learning space to look like and transform your living space into that. While doing this, you must also be careful not to spend too much of your budget.
  • Get insurance- Getting insured is also another crucial step you need to take in starting up your daycare business. When opening a daycare center at home, you should seriously consider small business insurance because you risk a lawsuit while running your own business and caring for other people’s children.
  • Find things that can distinguish you- One of the first things that can determine you in opening a daycare is the name and how you market your daycare. This step is crucial. You would want to get an excellent reputation for your daycare. In addition, you should also think of having an online platform where people can search for you, find you, sign up, drop reviews, and all of that. Parents want to know their children are safe while they are out running their businesses. You need to find things that distinguish you from others and use them as leverage.
  • Pen down your policies and procedures for a handbook- Putting down your policies and procedure for running your daycare would help you more than you know. You would need to decide on some basic operating policies and procedures for your school before you open. You have to decide on things like your hours of operation, holidays and days off, meals and snacks that are allowed for the children, payment schedule, daily flow, children’s ages, late pickups or after school, parts of the home that are off-limits, sick day procedures, emergency procedures, discipline, amongst others. These don’t seem like a big deal, but you must figure them out now. In the long run, they would do more than help you.
  • Hire assistants- Depending on the number of children you will handle, you might be interested in hiring assistants. Running solo when you are taking care of a lot of children can give way to negligence. Every state mainly sets a required staff ratio to children to ensure that every child receives adequate care. They also dictate the maximum number of children permitted in a group. Following these guidelines, you can know when you need help and consider hiring assistants.
  • Market yourself- Find all the ways you can market yourself. Set up a Facebook page that says your business will come soon. Make a website and get some pictures of it. Post fliers and keep them in libraries, community centers, coffee shops, and grocery stores. Use social media as much as possible to make your business look professionally ready.
  • Get people to come- Once you have met all these required steps, you are 50% ready. It would be time for you to enroll your first family. The first impression always matters. Ensure that the first time they meet you, something about you makes them want to leave their child with you. Funny right?

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a daycare license?

This would vary from state to state. However, it would take around 6months of processing before you probably receive your daycare license.

How long should a child be at daycare?

Infants experience much higher stress levels until three years old when left at daycare for a full day.

What part would I be playing in the business?

You may be a qualified and certified teacher who wants to interact with your daycare charges at all levels. You may be an entrepreneur who likes kids and wants to turn that affection into a thriving business. Define your role early on in the startup process, so you’ll know in what areas you’ll need the most help and backup.

Where can I get grants for funding my daycare?

 If you are non-profit, there are several good sources of grants and funding for your daycare, but if you are for-profit, your only source of government help is the CAFCP (Child and Adult Food Care Program). And if you’re undecided about whether to go for-profit or non-profit, remember there are some significant tax advantages to being a non-profit.

What do I gain by owning a daycare?

Asides from being a business owner and the money you would make, that feeling of self-sustenance is the best.


Opening a daycare can be scary, but it could be worth it since you will take the bold step. There is no blueprint for success. The key is to stay motivated and constantly remind yourself of the reasons you are doing it. Just ensure you take all the proper steps.



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