,Starting a Unlicened Day Care.

Updated on August 17, 2012
K.C. asks from Vincennes, IN
8 answers

my friend and I would like to start up a day care of course will be training in CPR and First aid. How many children are we allow to have. She has a baby that of course we would watch and her daughter. I heard you can't have more then 5 kids not counting your family children? Also could we just rent a house and start up our own day care. Thanks for all the help any more to add would be great help also.

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So What Happened?

Thanks Everyone and will be looking into all the information I was given.

More Answers



answers from Portland on


What you need is hard facts.

"In Virginia, a family day home provider is required to be licensed if at any one time she cares for more than five children from birth through age 12 **in her home**, other than her own children or children who reside in the home. In addition, a family day home provider who cares for more than four children under two years of age in her home at any one time, including her own children or children who reside in the home, must be licensed unless they are exempt from licensure in accordance with the law."

This is taken from: http://www.southernvajobs.com/daycare_info.php#regs

I can tell you from my own experience running a preschool that even if you are unlicensed, you need to create a real business plan and look at your overhead. Are you planning on supplying snacks and meals, or will the families be bringing those? Being unlicensed, you will not qualify for the USDA food program, so food cost needs to be considered. Then, supply costs for wipes, towels, toilet supplies, extra soap used, cleaning supplies, art supplies, toys, etc. Consider the increase in water usage. Don't forget insurance. My cost annually for a policy on my preschool was close to $500, and I didn't operate a full-time program. I also became an LLC to protect my home from any claims against me, should they arise.

You will also need information regarding liability waivers, emergency contact forms, illness exemption policies (each state has them) and have a plan/handbook for parents so that they know what the mutual expectations are. Clear communication with your families is of extreme importance.

Also consider what your plan would be if your child/children were ill at home with something dreadfully contagious. How will you manage this? Do you have backup care available, or is the onus on the families to have backup care? Do you plan on charging an hourly rate, running a drop-in for regular families or a weekly or monthly rate? All of this must be considered, as well as hours of operation and what they day would really look like with youngsters arriving at your house or staying late in through the dinner hour.
All very real considerations before hanging out your shingle.

My guess is that, like Oregon, unlicensed care must be conducted in one's own home. That's what the above said. Unless you get a great deal or are charging a pretty penny, it's very hard to turn a profit on a rented space without a license. And parents will not want to pay out for this if they are not able to claim the child care expense on their taxes, as Molly pointed out. Landlords also do not want to be paid in cash, so that is another factor to consider.

You might find your local child care resource and referral and ask them for help in getting information. While my preschool was unlicensed (in my own home and a small group for high-quality care), I did attend workshops which familiarized me with the regulations for my state. I'd highly recommend that you and your friend do this research; it can help you decide if this is the right route for you to go before spending any money on this venture.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I agree with others who say, check your state's licensing regulations before you decide to jump into starting a business. In my state you can not care for more than one other family without a license. If you operate without a license and a licensing analyst comes for an inspection (because maybe someone called them and told them you didn't have a license), you would be charged $200.00 dollars a DAY from the time that you are reported to the time they come out to inspect.

Why don't you want to get licensed?

I would strongly encourage to really look into what it takes to run a daycare from your home even if you do end up wanting to get licensed. What kind of experience do you have working with children? Why do you want to start a daycare? How much are you really willing to put into your work?

I knew what I was getting into when I opened my daycare and it still was twice the work that I thought it would be. Not only are you responsible the entire day 5 days a week for other people's children, you have to cook, clean, shop, plan, clean, clean, clean. Your house has to be company ready every day. You have to have policies in place so your parents understand what you will do and what you won't do and what kind of care you provide. You have to have endless patience every day, and then if you have your own kids, you are on second shift when your work day ends and your family begins. You need age appropriate toys, play structures, art supplies, activities, paper products, porta cribs or mats for napping, high chairs and lots of other supplies and equipment to meet the needs of the kids you're caring for and provide a safe environment. Not to mention, the initial training fees, ongoing trainings, insurance etc... You have to be able to have to composure to deal with parents who can sometimes be difficult.

It's not easy work... sometimes you lose kinds without warning because someone moves or has a job change and it's hard to get new kids. Sometimes everyone in your care has a rough day and you don't get a break for 10 hours. Sometimes you have to work when you don't feel well.

It's not that easy to "just" rent a house to run a daycare from. Many landlords and property managers don't want the wear and tear or liability of a daycare in their rental. In CA there are laws to protect people from discrimination or eviction, but they don't have to rent to you if they know that your running daycare on the onset and if you tell them after they don't have to renew your lease.

Get more info K.. I love my job because I'm wiling to work hard to provide a good program to families and give back what I was given when my own kids were in daycare. I love working for myself and I love able to be with my own children more (who also have sacrificed for the daycare, by having nap space in their bedrooms, sharing their house and mom... not always easy for them.) I love when families tell me that they didn't put their kids in daycare before because they didn't trust anyone until they met me. I love teaching kids new things and knowing how to help families deal with new phases of development that can be hard for new parents, but not for me because I've seen it a thousand times. I love when parents tell me that their pediatrician asked for my contact info because their kids know things that most kids don't yet and I brush their teeth. I am passionate about my work, and it's good for me, but I know that the burnout rate is huge.

Do a little more research and make an informed decision with a business plan before you invest in something you don't have all the information about.

good luck~

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Youngstown on

I, personally, would never use an unlicensed daycare. Also, most people want to write daycare off on their taxes. If you don't report your earnings, you will be caught for fraud. Be careful. You need to protect yourself and the children you care for. I highly suggest you get a license and a tax ID number.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

That is what I hear also.

Plus, as a mom who would be paying for childcare, I would not pay in cash, I would need the documentation to be able to write it off.
If they write you checks, they will claim it on their taxes, which in turn gets you for tax fraud. :(

If you can find people who will only pay you cash, and people and neighbors that will not report you, you might be able to get away with it.

In my state, you can have no more than 5, including your own children.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If you stay within your numbers, and you chose not to be licensed, make sure your homeowners policy covers in home daycares. It is considered a risk, so some insurance companies do not even offer that. Those that do will have a higher rate. I cannot stress how much having that insurance is a must.

Please take the advice of Gramma G and do research on the Standards of your state. Even if you are not licensed, you sill need to follow the guidelines. If you rented a house for this purpose, that would mean you are starting a business. I would imagin that you would need a business .license and at that point would have to be licensed through DCFS. I'm pretty sure The rule of no more than 5 kids wouldn't matter if it's not in your own home, your main residence.

Good luck, you have a lot of research ahead of you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

In my state you can open a home daycare only if you are registered or licensed. I would suggest checking all of your state rules before just opening a daycare. I believe in my state it is 6 kids including your own.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

If I had to i'll PASS on an unlicensed daycare.You really need to think about this I would get a license that will protect you from the ins and outs the laws of caring for children what if an emergency happens they can take you to court fine you till you get a licensed,your home or place of buisness I would like to get inspected if my children was attending a facility where they will be watched,taught and feed.I would like to get reviews on a licensed daycare any fines and why.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Billings on

Not sure about VA, but here in Montana it is SUPER EASY to become a licensed home daycare. I got the license, which was not big deal and I am glad I did it. check into it, it might not be so bad.

1 mom found this helpful
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