I Debating on Getting State Licensed for Childcare. Appreciate Input Here

Updated on February 09, 2012
R.A. asks from Marathon, WI
9 answers

Alright so here is the situation. I took my classes to get State licensed for childcare in 2007. I decided against it afterwards as I became prego with my 1st, moved etc. I ended up continuing to do childcare fulltime and have been doing so for almost 6 years. I thought since I quit school (was going for elementary education) that this would be a good foundation until I went back. I love what I do but feel I need more. I guess the biggest issues that frustrate me is: A. I am sick of people looking at me like I don't have a "job" (I put in about 9 hours a day now, not including cleanup and preparing for the next day) 2. I am sick of some of my parents walking all over me, even though I do have a contract... ( example.. Oh I'm sorry I know I still owe you $70 from Nov. but with me being in the hospital I can only afford to pay you a couple extra dollars a week... or money is tight this week, is it ok if I wait until next week (and this happens at least once a month) or the child should arrive at 730 and at 725 I get a call "so and so is sick so he wont be here today") I admit I am somewhat of a pushover and it's no ones fault but my own. 3. grocery bills are through the roof, electricity etc. and I don't claim any % on my taxes.

I only charge $115 a week for FT or $4 an hour. They provide diaper and formula/baby food, I provide the rest including fees if we go on field trips.

Like I said I love what I do and want to continue opeing my home and allowing others to become an extended family. I feel if I would be licensed that would give me my backbone that I am looking for since I wouldh have to follow through with my policy on fees and absence, no matter what the situation is at hand.

For those of you who are licensed what do you all get to write off, pros and cons of being licensed, how hard was it to get your house up to code? For non licensed why haven't you gotten licensed? For parents who put their children into daycare does it matter to you if they are licensed, wy or why not.

Thank you all for giving me input here :)

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So What Happened?

I appreciate the input, lots of helpful advice. I guess just to clear the air and qlarify a couple things, I use to work about 12 hours a day, but it became to much when my husband began working 60+ hours a week. I also allow my parents to claim me as daycare ( I have the tax guy call me and then I give him/her my SS#), but I feel that I am limited to what I can write off. With me previously taking the classes, I try following the guidelines including a escape ladder on the second floor, sleeping cots, animals food and water out of reach of children, there are 2 exclusive playrooms, and I have a policy. Speaking of policy I feel mine is too in depth as its about 9 pages. It goes over every thing from hours of operation to sickness procedure, emergency pickup, late fees etc. I think it's an awesome idea to charge for the week before service, and I want to find out about the magnetic locks! I only watch 1 fulltime and 1 part-time child and then as the full time leaves I get a 9 year old Thurs and Fri afterschool. I have 2 children so my numbers are never over 4. My fulltime has off thurs, my part time leaves by 2 and isnt at my home on tue, and fri, I'm not in it to make a ton of $, but rather to have my children be around a couple other children. I felt that if I was a little cheaper I would keep families long term, which has worked so far except the one familys constant money issue.

More Answers



answers from Kansas City on

I am a childcare provider in Kansas. I am licensed, only because I feel like I have to be.

I HATE the business part of my job: asking for payment, handling late parents, etc. but it is part of being a business owner. I require that payment be made on Monday of each week, or every other week if they prefer. They are paying me in advance. "No, you cannot short me on this weeks payment, I have bills to pay and this is my salary. I'm sorry little Johnny is sick, but you will pay me for the days that he is absent." You have to learn to stand up for yourself, practice what you are going to say. I promise it gets easier!! I still don't like handling the tough situations, but I don't break out in a sweat thinking about it anymore!!!

No matter if you are licensed or not you have the right to have policies and have them adhered to.

Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Parent who puts kids in daycare here. Licensed for me unless you're a close relative watching my child. The quality of care, with licensing, is often mediocre in my area. Plus licensing inspectors give childcare providers so many opportunities to correct problems they seem to bend over backwards for daycare providers. But I'd rather deal with a daycare that has some guidelines and inspections than nothing at all. Of course you can be a high quality unlicensed daycare provider but I still want someone who is licensed and pays taxes.

$115 a week, WOW!!! There was another mom asking for help to change from $220 a week. And I pay around that much too and provide meals. I pay the Friday before care and if I didn't pay come Mon I'd have to find alternate care. I hope you don't have to deal with late payments for much longer!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son has been in daycare since he was 9 weeks old. I NEVER considered unlicensed providers, period. The people I know who use in home care, basically think of them as babysitters - not the same thing as 'child development specialists'. And treat them accordingly. I think getting licensed would be a big step towards your clients treating you as a professional. Also - I would consider raising fees so they would be closer to what a center charges. At least for any new families you enroll. I think people definitely feel that you get what you pay for and likely expect less from you because you are so inexpensive. They might have more respect for you if they were paying appropriately.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

As a parent who uses a Licensed In-home care, the pro for us was that it is less chaotic than a center....more one on one attention which I really liked, especially since ours started at 6 weeks. To be 100% honest, the only way I would use a non-licensed person is if it was a family member. Other than that, those offering non-licensed services do not have the background check requirements nor are they visited by the licensing agency to make sure everything is on the up and up. Now, I have been to a few shady licensed facilities and homes that manage to 'get by' but for me, it offers a little more peace of mind when I know it isn't me or a family member. I get reports twice a year from the licensing folks and can determine whether any findings are something I can live with. Our provider had a finding involving an emergency card that wasn't up to date....nothing crazy though. Good luck with all of this!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Collins on

Get licensed. It is not hard and it gives you a new network of people to help you. It does make you more credible to parents and you can usually charge a little more. You will have to create a policy book and you will be able to refer to it when dealing with parents too. It is nice to blame it on "the state" when you are not comfortable confronting a parent about an issue.

The Colorado inspections are once a year and you are given six months to correct the infraction (depending on the issue). The state provides you with a resource list and will also list you as a licensed provider on their parent's referral list. They also provide some legal protection because they help you child proof your your home from a legal point of view.

I have done child care for over ten years and I have found the more clear and firm you are about your rules the happier the parents are. Be nice, but be firm about your policies and the parents will either be happy or they will move on and take advantage of someone else.

Licensing will help, but remember the most trying part of child care will always be the parents who do not take you or your job seriously. 8-)

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rockford on

I have been licensed for 9 yrs...there are advantages and disadvantages, but I do know, in IL, if someone reports you and you are NOT licensed, DCFS will shut you down immediately and try to help you get licensed. Advantages are that you get reimbursed for some food (for me it equals an extra $400 a month) and you are also able to take state subsidized children.

If you truly want to do this, be prepared to work way more than 9 hours a day! I work 12 and that's just when the kids are here. It is also a huge sacrifice for my family, as this is their home and there are always other kids here, always toys around and they give up our whole basement/family room area for my daycare.

My husband added a bathroom, an egress window w/ full landscaped steps outside it, and we had a sprinkler system put in, along w/ having to add additional smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector. (Fire Marshall inspects regularly)

So...there is a LOT of work and sacrifice involved...but very worth it. One VERY important thing you need to keep in mind is have a book of policies and a contract for yourself. (if you have any questions regarding this, inbox me anytime.) And never be afraid to stand your ground...this is your business and livelihood and affects your whole family when someone is late in pick up or paying you.

Best of luck...after the 1st year, it does get easier and more enjoyable and rewarding! LMK if you have any questions!

**Also, I am able to write off a LOT of things and have always gotten a return. I do pay taxes quarterly and my husband has extra taken out of his check to help offset my estimated tax payments.



answers from Madison on

As a working mom with three in daycare I value the state licensing.

Personally, I feel that you are undervaluing your time by only charging $115/wk. I am familiar with where you live, and still feel like you could be making AT LEAST $150/wk, and that said, you also should have different fees by age! Those babies take alot more work than the 7 year old. I think it is great that you have a long policy manual - you should! I'm not sure what you mean by you "let your parents claim you" but it seems like you are the one that should be claiming tax benefits as you are the business owner. There are alot of tax benefits to doing a Scheudle C business on your tax return and writting off a portion of your house & yard that is used in your business. I think you should go for your licensing and raise the bar for your family....up your rate structure, charge a week/month ahead, and use those tax deductions to your advantage (even if it means hiring a local CPA to help you figure that out). Good luck.


answers from Minneapolis on

I am a licensed home childcare provider in your neighboring state of Minnesota. I have been licensed 15 years, with 10 prior as a child care professional. So I can honestly say 25 years as a child care professional now! I have never, in my entire life, done a different type of work, ever. I am also Mom to a 17 year old daughter.

Not being licensed was never an option for me. My state has a "legally unlicensed" status, with serious limitations on numbers of kids you can take on, but aside from that, I am a professional and wanted all the credentials I could reasonably attain to express that. Licensing was the first hurdle.

My home was di-ssected and in-spected (but not very RE-SPECTED, but I understood!). The State Fire Marshall had to do their visit, evey inch of my home was looked over and asked about. After 15 years we have learned ways to make living here easier WITH daycare (my state accepts magnetic locks....I have them EVERYWHERE now so I can still put my toothpaste back in my bathroom drawer and keep shampoos and medications in my big giant bathroom cabinet, etc)...I just flip the little lock things every morning so they are locked for the day and we have the magnet "keys" all over the house up high in case we need to open one.

We have created wooden trim with angles to put gates in awkward places and put kitty doors on 4 doors in our home so the cats can get to their food and potty boxes and quiet, safe places to sleep where the kidlet-monsters can not get them.

My husband has agreed to do his part..which is HUGE...and make sure walkways are super extra safe and plowed/de-iced (we don't want silly new Mommys in little heels to slip and fall while carrying that baby in the car seat to the door! She will figure that out next week!)

I have only one time (the one time I did a favor for a relative of an aquaintance) had a payment issue and I did not let it go on long enough to be a major issue. In the end the aquaintance (the Moms parents who live near us) paid up after I terminated the Mom. I get paid by auto deposit from ALL of my parents in 2 week chunks (mandatory), and I get it before I do the work. I simply do not tolerate payment issues.

I seriously could go on and on, but my advice will always be...GET LICENSED. Pay your taxes and be a professional. If not, get another job and leave it to the rest of us professionals. I do not mean that as a dis...I really do not, but in any profession there are negative aspects to maintaining a professional image, and for professional home childcare providers, its the "babysitters" who do not pay their taxes and let people walk all over them and get away with it. Somehow it brings our entire profession down bit by bit. Just like crappy insurance folks make us all dis on insurance agents, or lawyers get called carpet baggers.

My opinion is that caring for children is a serious business, with alot of fun attached! But it is a business and you need to do things with safety codes in place (alot of that is where licensing comes in..background checks, home inspections and some rules that seems crazy but are in place for the safety of the crew of children you might have to get out in case of a fire, or deal with daily with all the mini-emergencies life with children throw at you!).

And just FYI~ I do run a very successful home childcare. I had 2 infant openings coming available in June and July. I just filled both spots in the last week, and one is willing to pay "air care" holding fees (the spot is open before they need it, so they will pay a percentage fee each week for me to cease interviews and guarantee the spot is theirs...I call it air care as they are basically paying for air!).

I belong to professional local organizations (one I am the co-founder of, hold an executive board position on and am the referral coordinator), got my Child Dev degree in 2010, and am looking to pursue other credentials as my 60+ hour workweeks can allow.

Best of luck!



answers from St. Louis on

I am unlicensed by choice. I want 4 kids & that's it. I do not want more.

Been doing this for years now. I normally have a waiting list, which is a bonus of living in a small town. I also claim all income, pay my taxes, & use whatever expenses I have to offset my income. I use a licensed tax preparer, & I also carry liability insurance thru my homeowners. I treat my daycare as a real business...because that is what it is!

I think my concern for you is: how will licensing change your life? No matter what you have in your handbook, if you can't emotionally back it up.....then how does licensing help? I've had a policy handbook since Day One & I enforce it. It's awkward at times, but that's life!

My recommendation: Give all families notice that a policy handbook will be forthcoming. Give them 1-2 weeks notice on this.

Have a sit-down conference with each family when you distribute the handbook. Go thru it page by page....this is what I do with all new families. Emphasize that you "stand firm" on these policies. & be sure to include your method of how you can/will end services for non-compliance. I know this sounds harsh, but legally you have to have your structure in place before you can enforce it!

& seriously, I do all of this....even though I'm not licensed. My daycare is what pays part of my bills, therefore is supporting my family. It is my duty to stand firm & place my family before the needs of others. I cannot tell you how many times I've had to chase down a paycheck, how many times I've had to say "no" to being paid later. My favorite would be - years ago- when one mom said, "can I pay you on Monday? We're going to the Big City this wkend & I'm not sure how much we'll spend". OMG! NO, you can pay me now!

Moving on, here's a few thoughts: do not diminish your self-worth simply because you are not licensed. Please stand firm & collect your due, whether it be that paycheck or basic respect. :)

Please also take a long, hard look at whether or not you're ready for more kids. To me, that would be the only reason to go thru the licensing process. Oh, & as a head's up, our little town is fullly in the economy rut. I charge below the state-run facilities, & above the fly-by-night babysitters. As I've mentioned in previous posts, my income:profit ratio is seriously diminishing...& I cannot raise my rates. My goal is to re-enter the office workforce by the end of the year. :) Good Luck to you!

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