start a childcare business

How to Start a Childcare Business in 10 Steps

Starting a childcare business requires time and effort and can be difficult without any guidance. The 10 steps below are to give you an idea of what it will take to start a childcare business. If you are unsure if this type of business is for you, click here and answer the following questions.

Become Familiar with Rules and Regulations

Once you decide this is the right path for you, research your state rules and regulation to determine what you will need to become licensed to open a childcare program. Most states will require a childcare facility to be regulated or licensed. Click here, select your state and obtain information about the requirements to become a licensed daycare provider in your state.

Contact the State Licensing Agency

If you are a little confused or have questions after you have read over the rules and regulations, contact the licensing agency in your state, and they will be able to assist you further. They should also be able to give you the required information to become licensed in your state.

Register for Orientation

Most states require you to complete orientation. Orientation will be training between 2-6 hours provided by the state’s licensing agency and will educate you on the rules and regulations to become licensed and to stay in compliance. Orientation is free in most states.

Obtain Required Education Credentials

Before becoming licensed to operate a childcare business, you must meet specific educational requirements. Most states require you to obtain credentials in early childhood education. An Accredited University can satisfy this requirement. Programs include Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC), Associates, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degrees in early childhood education. A more affordable choice is a CDA, which will take less time to obtain. A CDA includes 120 clock hours of training in early childhood. To find out more information about getting a CDA, click here.

Pass A Criminal Background Check

If you plan to start a childcare business, you must pass a criminal background check. Most states will require you to complete before you can become licensed. Usually, your state agency will have a preferred vendor you will have to use. A criminal background check usually takes 2-4 business days, depending on the circumstances, but it could take longer.

Complete Pre-Service Training

In the process of being licensed, you will have to complete the pre-service training required by your state licensure. Pre-service training usually involves becoming CPR and first aid certified and completing a certain amount of clock hours by completing state-approved training courses. Click here to enroll in the required training.

Contact Zoning and Planning

Call your county Planning & Zoning office and ask if you can operate a childcare program on the property and if a zoning permit is required. A zoning ordinance is a written regulation and laws that defines how a property in a specific geographic zone can be used for residential or commercial purposes. This can apply to home childcare programs too. For example, in Gwinnett County, GA, you must have a zoning permit for a home childcare program of 5 children.

Renter’s & Homeowners

If you are a homeowner and have an HOA, check with the association to ensure that running a childcare business in your home is okay. If you are renting, check with your landlord to ensure it is okay to run home childcare on their property. Don’t go through all the trouble to start a childcare program and get shut down for not taking the required steps.

Contact the Local Fire Authorities

Contact the local fire authority in your county/city to schedule an appointment for the fire marshal to come and inspect the property before the licensing agency. There may be a small fee for this service. The fire marshal will come to your home and inspect to ensure the provider and children can get out of the house in the event of a fire or any other emergency. They will check smoke detectors, front and back exits, fire extinguishers, plugs, etc., to ensure that your home is safe for children. This will help you to prepare for the state licensing inspection.

Submit the Application

Now that you completed all the steps, it’s time to pay all the required fees and submit your application. You’re probably wondering why I submitted my application. What should I do next?

Click the button below to download a guide with 14 action steps to complete to build a strong foundation for your childcare business. The steps listed in this guide cannot be found on your state agency website.

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