Starting an In Home Daycare in Ohio

For many stay at home moms, college students, retirees, and children lovers a great way to make extra money or even create a living is to start an in home day care. This article focuses specifically on requirements for Ohio Child care providers with less than six children. Outside of the basic state requirements the information below will be useful for child care providers in any state.

In Ohio child care providers with one to six children (including their own children under six years old) with no more than three of the children under two years old are referred to Type B homes. Type B homes do not require a license and only require certification if child care is being paid for with public funds. Certification is provided by each counties department of job and family services. Visit http://jfs.ohio.gov/county/County_Directory.pdf for a list of contacts for each Ohio county.

Planning

Before you start taking clients you’ll want to do a few basic things to set up your in home day care. First you’ll want to do decide if you will accept day care vouchers, if so you will need to be certified by your county. Some of the requirements for county certification include a criminal background check (fingerprinting). Annually there are two monitoring visits by County Department of Human Services staff, one of which is unannounced. If you won’t be accepting vouchers then you don’t have to get certified but it’s a good idea to just in case you have a future client who would like to pay with vouchers.

Now that you’ve decided whether or not you’ll need county certification; your next step will be getting your home ready. You’ll want to child proof the entire home including bathrooms, kitchen, living or family rooms, laundry areas, basement, and bedrooms. Obviously you won’t have children in all of those spaces, but you’ll want to protect them and yourself in case they go somewhere they’re not supposed to.

You’ll want to designate specific areas of the home where the children will primarily be, and what types of activities they’ll do in each area. If you have your own children this will probably be pretty easy, but if you don’t have children or have older children this may take a little planning. Will the children play in the family room? If so do you have a table and chairs small enough for them to sit at and color, do you have a storage area for toys and books? Will they eat breakfast and/or lunch in the kitchen do you have booster seats to help little ones reach the table, what about a high chair for toddlers, and do you have small silverware for them to use or will they use regular sized plates, cups, and silverware? These are just some of the things to consider. I’m not suggesting that you go out right away and buy all of these things if you don’t have them, just keep in mind how you will accommodate kids.

Next you may want to consider insurance for your daycare business or see if your homeowners or renters policy will cover any accidents that may happen.

Some other things to consider before opening the doors of your daycare are how much you’ll charge, what age groups you’ll accept, what hours you will operate, if you will prepare meals and snacks or if they need to be packed, what supplies do parents need to send (wipes, diapers or pull ups, etc.), and what happens if they run out of those supplies. You may want to write out a “handbook” outlining your daycares policies and procedures. That way you’ll have clear guidelines and will also be able to provide parents with clear guidelines of what to expect.

Advertising

Now that you have an idea of how your day care will run, and what if any insurance or certification you’ll need you have to get some clients. Word of mouth is an excellent way to advertise a daycare, tell everyone you know that you’re open for business. Get business cards and flyers printed. Hang up flyers at your local grocery store, laundry mat, library, community center, churches, and anywhere else that has a bulletin board or that parents might be. Hand out business cards to everyone you come in contact with the cashier at the grocery store, the dry cleaner, pizza delivery guy, when you eat at restaurants leave a business card or two with the tip for your sever. Networking is the name of the game, so don’t pass on any opportunity to tell someone about your day care or hand them a flyer or business card. Even if they don’t need daycare services they might know someone who does. Other relatively low cost ways to advertise are by taking out an ad in the local paper or by registering at websites like care.com.

Running Your Daycare

Now that you have advertised and have the first clients there are just a few housekeeping items that you’ll need to take care of. You’ll want to provide the parents with a copy of the “handbook” you created back in the planning stages, as well as write a contract that outlines the care you will be providing. Make sure the contract includes the days and times the child will be in daycare, the cost per week, day, or hour- however you choose to bill, any additional fees for late payment, running out of supplies, or being late/ early picking up or dropping off, and when payment is due. It is very important that both you and the parents have clear expectations going into the arrangement to avoid problems down the road.

Daycare is a service that millions of Americans need each day. Running an in home daycare can be very rewarding and profitable as long as you take the time to plan ahead and do a little advertising.

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