In this article
What is a Childminding Business?
According to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in the UK, 75.1% of mothers and 92.6% of fathers with dependent children are working parents. This means that the demand for childcare for both early years and older children is higher than ever.
Childminders are a popular choice for many working parents. They care for children of all ages, from young babies to teenagers.
A childminder is a professional childcare provider who looks after small groups of children, usually of different ages and from different families. To be legally classified as a childminder, you must be offering childcare for at least two hours per day.
Childminders usually operate from their home, although they may employ other staff or have other adults assisting them with their business.
Childminders offer childcare and early education in smaller groups than nurseries and other early years settings. The smaller groups allow the childminder to work more closely with each child and their parents. This can be beneficial to the child’s education, development and wellbeing.
There are two main types of childminding:
1. Early Years Childminder:
You are classed as an Early Years Childminder if you look after children from birth up to the 31st August following their fifth birthday. These childminders are often used as an alternative to nurseries and nursery schools.
2. Later Years Childminder:
A Later Years Childminder looks after children over five years of age. They are typically used as an alternative to before and after school clubs and holiday clubs. Later years childminders usually operate for fewer hours per day and may be responsible for dropping off or picking up the children from school.
It is possible to be both an early years and later years childminder if you are looking after children of a variety of ages. However, you will need to apply to be on both registers.
Some of your day-to-day responsibilities as a childminder could include:
- Supporting and facilitating the children’s learning and development.
- Engaging in outdoor and indoor play, such as creative and imaginative play.
- Encouraging physical activity and exercise.
- Ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of the children.
- Providing healthy and nutritious meals and snacks.
- Observing progress and recording the children’s development.
- Dropping off and picking up the children from schools, activities and other settings.
- Taking the children on outings, such as to the park or a farm.
- Liaising with parents, schools and other professionals.
- Keeping up-to-date and accurate records of policies, procedures, accidents, injuries, medication and other necessary information.
As well as caring for the children, a childminder is responsible for stimulating the minds of the children in their care, encouraging educational, behavioural and social learning, encouraging their creativity and social imagination, helping them to understand and manage social relationships and aiding their individual development.
A childminder’s working hours will vary, depending on the ages of the children you care for and the working hours of the parents. In order to maximise your business, you will likely want to operate during traditional working hours. Most childminding businesses open between 7 am and 8 am and close between 5 pm and 6 pm.
If you receive payment for looking after one or more children under the age of eight in England or the age of 12 in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, then you must register as a childminder.
Your registration and governing body will vary depending on which country in the UK you live in:
- England: The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).
- Wales: The Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW).
- Scotland: The Care Inspectorate.
- Northern Ireland: The Local Health and Social Care Trust.
Starting up a childminding business can be a financially and emotionally rewarding career choice. If you love children and feel you could provide a safe, high quality, fun and educational environment for them, this could be the perfect career choice for you.
Types of Customers
Location is a key factor that will influence your customer base. Parents generally choose a childminder that is close to where they live or work, to reduce their travelling time. Alternatively, they may opt for a childminder that offers drops-offs and pickups from their child’s school.
However, parents will also want to consider other factors when choosing a childminding business, such as:
Your Ofsted (or other relevant governing body) rating
Childminding businesses are inspected before they begin operating. This is known as a pre-registration inspection. Childminders are also routinely and randomly inspected once operating.
Ofsted will give you a rating of:
- Grade 1: Outstanding.
- Grade 2: Good.
- Grade 3: Requires Improvement.
- Grade 4: Inadequate.
Parents will usually opt for a childminding business that has a rating of ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.
Your qualifications and training
Although there are no set qualifications required for childminding businesses, having qualifications and training certificates can make your business more attractive to some parents.
Your equipment and resources
Parents will look at the quantity and quality of your equipment and resources when considering you as a childminder. They will likely consider whether the equipment is age-appropriate for their child and whether it is educational, fun and safe.
This will be a major factor in determining your customer base. Some parents may want to pay as little as possible and be looking for a budget-friendly childminder, whereas others will pay higher prices for childminders with more qualifications and additional resources.
Equipment You Will Need
When planning your equipment requirements for your childminding business, you will likely find that you already have much of the equipment you require. However, it is important to ensure any existing equipment or furniture you own is completely safe and fit for purpose.
Depending on the number of children you care for and the ages of the children, you may find that you don’t require all of the equipment on the list below. Take this into consideration when determining your equipment requirements.
Some of the equipment you may require for your childminding business includes:
Food preparation, cooking and serving equipment:
Mainly, you will be able to use your existing kitchen equipment for your business, as long as it is in good working order. There may be some other equipment you will need to purchase additionally, as you may not have it in your home. Below is a full list of food-related equipment you may require, which you can compare to your existing inventory.
- A fridge and freezer.
- An oven, grill and hob.
- A toaster, kettle and microwave.
- Pots and pans.
- Chopping boards.
- Utensils, such as knives, spatulas, ladles and whisks.
- Temperature probes.
- Cooking accessories, such as rolling pins, graters, weighing scales, colanders and sieves.
- Child-friendly plates, bowls, cups and cutlery.
- Baby bottle sterilising equipment.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as hair coverings, aprons and gloves.
You will likely use much of your existing home furniture as part of your childminding business. However, there may be some other furniture you choose to purchase for your business.
- Child-sized tables and chairs.
- Sofa coverings (to protect your sofa).
- Beanbags or other seating areas.
- Cots, beds or sleep mats.
- Baby feeding chairs.
- Blankets and pillows.
If you are looking after young babies, you will have different equipment requirements. To save you money, you could request that parents bring some equipment with them, such as their baby’s pram, bottles, dummies and favourite blankets.
However, there will be some equipment that you may be required to purchase, including:
- Bouncer chairs.
- Changing mats.
- Changing supplies, such as nappies and wipes (even if you ask parents to provide these, it is best to have spares just in case).
- Spare bibs and clothing.
- Sensory toys and equipment.
- Discovery play mats.
- Push and pull toys.
- Baby-friendly toys.
If you have your own children, you may choose to use the toys you already have at home, as long as they are safe, appropriate and in good working order. However, having separate toys could also help you to distinguish between your home life and work life and prevent any upset from broken or damaged toys.
Some toys and other play equipment you could choose for your childminding business are:
- Art and craft supplies, such as paint, colouring pencils and crayons, paper, card, glitter, sequins, feathers, playdough, scissors and glue.
- Imaginative play and role-play toys, such as dressing up costumes, figures, animals, toy kitchens, shopping tills and dolls houses.
- Toy vehicles, such as trains and train tracks, cars, lorries and planes.
- Construction toys, such as bricks and blocks.
- Soft toys, teddy bears and puppets.
- Books appropriate for different ages.
- Jigsaws and puzzles.
- Alphabet, numbers, and word toys or activities.
- Board games and interactive games.
- Musical toys.
If you have a garden, having outdoor toys and games is a great way of keeping the children entertained on warm days.
The amount of equipment you purchase will depend on the size of your outdoor space, the number of children you are looking after, and your budget.
Some equipment you could choose includes:
- Play equipment such as slides and a climbing frame.
- Bicycles, tricycles, scooters and other ride-on equipment.
- A trampoline.
- Tunnels, tents or playhouses.
- Balls of different sizes.
- Sand and water play areas.
- Skipping ropes.
- Hula hoops.
- Giant chalks.
Other equipment requirements:
Some other equipment you may require for your childminding business includes:
- A fully stocked first aid kit.
- Baby proofing equipment and baby gates.
- A mobile phone and/or landline phone.
- Fire safety equipment.
- A television and music player.
- Cleaning equipment.
Although a childminding business has lower start-up and running costs than other childcare and early years settings, it is still important that you plan for all your potential costs. This allows you to plan your initial investment and predict your profits.
Some typical costs associated with a childminding business are:
Equipment will be one of your biggest expenditures, even if you have some of the equipment and resources already in your home. Depending on the amount of equipment you require and the number of children you plan to take care of, equipment costs can start from as little as £100 and go up to £10,000.
Repairing and replacing equipment
Young children can be heavy-handed or careless, and equipment or furniture may become broken or damaged frequently. Your equipment will also need to be inspected regularly to ensure it is safe to use. Any equipment that shows signs of damage or could be unsafe should be repaired or replaced. Maintenance, repair and replacement costs can vary but could start from £100 per year.
Making any necessary changes to your home
Hopefully, you will need to make minimal changes to your home and much of the work, such as removing any fragile, expensive or potentially dangerous items, can be done by you. However, you may have to hire someone to install any specialist equipment, build furniture, or baby-proof your home. Prices can start at £50, depending on the level of work you require.
If you provide food or snacks as part of your business, the costs of food and ingredients will need to be included in your budget. Plan your menus in advance and buy as much of the stock and ingredients in bulk as possible, as this can help to save money overall. The food you provide should be healthy and nutritious. Your food costs will vary, depending on how much you charge the parents. For example, if you charge £1.50 per meal, you should spend no more than £1 on ingredients.
These are the everyday costs associated with running your business. Take into account the hikes in your electricity, gas and water bills you are likely to see because you are running your business from home. Your running costs can vary, depending on your provider and tariff and the amount you use.
Some types of coverage will be legally required. Other types of coverage are recommended to protect your business, your home and yourself.
Some insurance coverage commonly chosen by childminders includes:
- Public Liability Insurance.
- Home and Buildings Insurance.
- Temporary Suspension of Registration Cover.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance.
- Loss of Revenue.
- Legal Expenses.
- Childminder Contents.
- Personal Accident Cover.
Insurance costs can vary depending on the level of coverage you choose and your provider. Prices can start at £6.50 per month.
You may require a vehicle to take children to and from school or on trips out.
There are several costs associated with a vehicle, including:
- The costs of renting or purchasing the vehicle.
- MOTs and services.
- Vehicle tax.
- Vehicle insurance.
Branding can help you to establish your business’s identity and set you apart from any local competition. Branding could include creating your business’s visual identity, a logo, your business name and your business website. You can hire a professional to help you with branding or do some of the work yourself. Branding costs usually start at £300, depending on the level of work you require.
Marketing and advertising
Marketing and advertising are great ways to grow your business. It is recommended that you spend no more than 10% of your annual revenue on advertising costs. Although you will have a limited number of children you can care for at one time, children will leave as they grow older, meaning marketing and advertising could be consistently useful. Think of the best ways to target your customer base, such as local advertisements and online advertising.
Once you have determined the approximate costs associated with setting up and running your childminding business, you can then create your pricing policy.
Several factors will affect your pricing:
- Your local competition and their typical pricing.
- Your location and the average income of local families.
- Your premises, facilities and equipment.
- Your training, qualifications and experience.
According to NCT, for a child under two years of age, the average cost of a childminder is £118 per week for part-time (25) hours and £228 per week for full-time (50) hours. This averages at £4–£5 per hour for one child. Prices are usually lower for children over two years. You may also choose to offer a discount for siblings.
Safely Running a Childminding Business
As you will be looking after young children, safety procedures and safe practices will be a top priority for your business. Safe practices can help to ensure the health and safety of the children you care for, you, and any visitors to your business.
Some ways you can safely run a childminding business are:
Ensure asbestos levels are safe
If your home was built prior to the year 2000, materials in your home may contain asbestos, which can be harmful to health. Although there is no legal requirement for your business regarding asbestos, determining where asbestos may be and checking these areas for damage is recommended.
Cover heat sources
This includes radiators, pipes and fires. You should ensure children are not able to touch heat sources as this can cause burns.
Ensure children cannot enter the kitchen unsupervised
Not only does the kitchen have hot appliances, such as the oven, hob and grill, but there are other potentially dangerous items in the kitchen, such as knives, chemicals and heavy objects. Ensure children can only enter the kitchen when supervised.
Safety proof your home
Even if you are not caring for young babies, safety proofing is a great way of ensuring the safety of the children you care for.
Some ways you can baby-proof your home include:
- Covering plug sockets.
- Installing safety gates.
- Covering sharp corners and edges.
- Removing any electricals that have a risk of electrocution.
- Not lighting candles.
- Not using looped cords, leads and other cords that could result in a risk of strangulation.
- Installing window restrictors.
- Tying up or covering electrical cables.
- Using soft close toilet lids and cupboard doors.
Keep dangerous objects away from children
This includes cleaning products, knives, scissors and heavy equipment. Any potentially dangerous objects should be kept out of the reach of children at all times, and where possible in separate rooms or locked away.
Conduct risk assessments
Although risk assessments are not legally required for businesses with fewer than five employees, they are a great way of ensuring the safety of the children. They can also help you achieve a higher score during your inspection.
Your risk assessments should:
- Identify hazards.
- Determine who could be at risk.
- Evaluate the potential risks.
- Implement safety measures.
- Record the results of the risk assessment.
You should review all risk assessments regularly.
Ensure you are first aid trained
If a child has an accident or sustains an injury, first aid training can help you administer any necessary treatment. In the event of a serious incident, first aid could even save a child’s life. A first aid certification can also be presented during an inspection or shown to prospective parents.
Obtain any other necessary qualifications and training
Although these may not be legally required, they can help you to ensure safe practices.
Some recommended training includes:
- Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework.
- Child Protection.
- Safeguarding Children.
- Paediatric First Aid.
- Food Safety and Hygiene.
- Allergen Awareness.
- Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) training.
Implement a cleaning policy
You will have to clean your home much more frequently than usual when running your childminding businesses. Illnesses and infections can spread easily among children, and implementing a cleaning policy and cleaning procedures, including a schedule for cleaning and the management of cleaning materials and equipment, can be beneficial. Cleaning procedures should apply to all areas of your home, including equipment and furniture. You should also implement a handwashing policy that is followed by you, the children and visitors to your home.
Implement security measures
Security measures can protect the children and your home. Securely locked doors and gates and a CCTV system are recommended in your home.
When setting up and running your childminding business, it is imperative that you are aware of all legal requirements and fully comply with them.
Some of the legal requirements you should be aware of are listed below.
Apply for registration
You will need to register your childminding business with Ofsted (or another relevant governing body) before you begin operating. Registration can take up to 12 weeks and you cannot operate your business until your registration is confirmed. Depending on the age of the children you care for, you may also need to obtain a certificate confirming you meet the requirements set out in the EYFS.
Ensure you apply for the correct register, depending on the age of the children you look after:
- The Early Years Register – For children from birth to the 31st August following their fifth birthday.
- The Childcare Register – For children above the age of five.
You can apply to be on both registers if you are looking after children that fall into both age categories.
Obtain a criminal record check
You cannot look after children until you have undergone a criminal record check and obtained a certificate.
The type of check you require depends on the country you live in:
- England: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
- Wales: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
- Scotland: Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme.
- Northern Ireland: AccessNI.
Ensure electrical safety and gas safety
In accordance with the law, if you are running your childminding business from your home, you must ensure that all electrical appliances and fittings fully conform to safety standards and don’t pose any risks. You must also ensure any gas appliances are tested or serviced every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Ensure you ask the engineer for a gas safety certificate, as this may be inspected by Ofsted or your relevant governing body.
Complete a Childcare and Children’s Social Care Health Declaration Form
The Health Declaration Form must be completed by all childminders. It includes an up-to-date medical declaration from you and your GP. Without this form, you cannot register with Ofsted or set up your childminding business.
Adhere to ratio guidelines
You must comply with the statutory framework that states how many children you are able to care for at one time.
This changes depending on which country in the UK you are based in:
- England: A maximum of six children under the age of eight. Of these six children, only three children can be under the age of five and only one child can be below one year of age. Children over the age of eight do not need to be included in your ratios.
- Wales: A maximum of 10 children under the age of 12. Of these children, a maximum of six children can be below eight years old, a maximum of three children can be below five years old and a maximum of two children can be below 18 months old.
- Scotland: A maximum of six children under the age of 12. Of these children, there should be a maximum of three children below primary school age and only one child below one year of age.
- Northern Ireland: A maximum of six children under the age of 12. Of these children, only three can be under the age of five and only one can be under the age of one.
It is important to bear in mind that your own children should be included in these ratios. There may be some exceptions, although you will have to contact your relevant governing body to obtain an exception.
Ensure fire safety
Some of your fire safety requirements as a childminder include:
- Conducting fire safety risk assessments.
- Having a recorded evacuation plan.
- Reviewing your risk assessment and evacuation plan regularly.
- Conducting fire drills.
- Ensuring escape routes are unobstructed.
Carry out a Water Risk Assessment (WRA)
You must ensure the safety of the water in your home by conducting a WRA to mitigate or reduce the risk of Legionella. Your risk assessment may identify some actions, such as removing limescale in your property.
Comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) guidelines
COSHH is the law that states that all businesses, including childminding businesses, must control any substances that could be potentially hazardous to health. In line with COSHH, you must assess, control and reduce any risks or potential hazards and protect individuals from harm. COSHH applies to many products that you will have around your home including toothpaste, shampoo and washing-up liquid. Consider ways you can reduce the risk in line with COSHH and have a contingency in place in the event that a child consumes, inhales or absorbs chemicals or other dangerous products.
Comply with food hygiene regulations
If you provide food as part of your childminding business, you will need to register as a food business with your local authority. You will then be subject to an inspection to ensure food hygiene standards are being met.
Comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (DPA)
You must comply with both Acts when storing or sharing personal information. You must also ensure that any information that is provided is only given by a parent or a carer who holds parental responsibility.
Apply for a Notification to Process Personal Data Licence
You can apply for this licence with the the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). If your childminding business has a CCTV system or if you store any details on your computer, you will need to apply for a licence with the ICO and renew your registration every year.
Follow guidelines for SEND and Inclusion
You have a legal duty to treat all children equally and help them achieve their full potential. If you care for a child who has Special Educational Needs or a disability, you must adhere to the statutory framework in the EYFS. You should download the Code of Practice for the country you live in and must ensure you have arrangements in place to cater for a child who has a disability or SEN.
Comply with safeguarding regulations
Childminders have a legal responsibility to safeguard the children in their care. You should ensure you read the guidelines and keep up to date with procedures and recommendations.
Register as self-employed with HMRC
Childminders in the UK who are self-employed are responsible for paying their own tax and National Insurance. Ensure that you register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to assess how much you are required to pay.
Comply with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013
RIDDOR states that you must report all injuries, diseases and dangerous events that occur when your business is operating. Reports must be made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) using an appropriate recording document.
Implement health and safety policies
Health and safety policies are legally required for all businesses in the UK. You should have policies in place that protect the children and any visitors to your business. Your policies should also include fire safety procedures and emergency procedures. Although recording the policies is not legally required, it can be a great way of showing your compliance during an inspection.
Keep clear records
You should keep up-to-date records of accidents or incidents, cleaning schedules, risk assessments, health and safety policies, and food hygiene policies. Ofsted will likely want to see your records when they conduct their inspections.
Obtain the correct insurance
The EYFS states that childminders must obtain Public Liability Insurance. If you use a vehicle as part of your business, the EYFS also states that you must have Business Class 1 Insurance.
Positives of Owning a Childminding Business
A childminding business can be an extremely rewarding career choice for multiple reasons. The main positives to starting up a childminding business are:
You can care for your own children
Many childminders begin their business so they can spend time with their own children. Working as a childminder means you won’t have to pay for childcare, and you can still earn a living.
You can work from home
One of the best things about working as a childminder is the flexibility of working from your home. You won’t have to worry about long commutes or paying a lot for furniture and equipment as you will likely have a lot of the necessities already, especially if you have your own children.
It can be extremely rewarding
Running a childminding business can be very rewarding. If you love children and spending time with people or enjoy the organisational aspects of running a business, setting up a childminding type of business can be very rewarding. You will be able to see the children you take care of develop and grow and see the ways your care and teaching has a positive impact on them.
High customer retention
Many parents stay with the same childminder for years. You could start taking care of a child when they are a baby or toddler and look after them throughout their early years and even when they begin attending school. Most parents also use the same childminder for multiple siblings. Not only can this customer retention be beneficial to your business, but it can also be financially and emotionally rewarding for you.
It can be extremely fun
Imagine a job where you get to work in the comfort of your home and engage with children all day. You can plan fun games, go for days out, and enjoy activities, such as baking, treasure hunts and sports activities. Having fun at work every day is a common side-effect of being a childminder.
Few start-up costs
A childminding business is an extremely low-cost enterprise. You will have very few start-up costs and low running costs, allowing you to maximise your profits.
Pick and choose your customers
If you feel like a child or family isn’t benefiting from your care or is causing you some difficulties, you can choose to stop taking care of them. You won’t be entered into contracts with the families so can make the decision that is best for you, your business and the children. Some childminders also choose to only care for children of certain ages, for example, by not accepting young babies or older children.
Choose your own workload
You can choose to look after fewer children or work shorter hours. As the business owner, you can control your workload and choose your working days. This gives you more flexibility than many other career choices.
Predictable income stream
You will know exactly how many children you are taking care of every day and your outgoing costs. This makes it easy to predict your profits and your income.
You can choose whether to work the school holidays
Some childminding businesses don’t operate during any of the school holidays, whereas others open during all or some of the holidays. You can decide what works best for your business and what will suit your home and family life.
Be your own boss
You can make all key decisions yourself and steer your business in whichever direction you choose. You can choose your working hours, your customers and your responsibilities and make the best decisions for you and your business.
Work within your local community
As your business will operate from your home, your customers will be people from the local area. You can develop an important connection with other parents in your local community and get involved in local events. This can be beneficial to your business and your personal life.
There is a constant need for your business
With more working parents than ever, childcare businesses will always be in demand. People always need someone to look after their little ones or choose to send them into an early years setting to aid their socialisation, development and education before they begin school. You shouldn’t ever have to worry about your business not making a profit or experiencing a lack of demand.
Negatives of Owning a Childminding Business
Setting up a business and making that business succeed can be a difficult undertaking. Being aware of the potential problems you could face and the negative aspects of starting up a childminding business can be beneficial.
Some cons you should be aware of are:
You could be working long hours
To attract prospective parents, you will likely need to take care of children while the parents are working. This could mean you are working long hours every day. Many childminding businesses open between 7 am and 8 am and close between 5 pm and 6 pm. This could result in a long working day.
Items in your home could become damaged
As you are looking after young children every day, items in your home could become damaged. Things could get smashed or broken and your couches, rugs and carpets could become stained. This wear and tear on your home can be annoying for your family and expensive for you to fix.
Your children might not want to share you
If you are looking after your own children at the same time as other children, this could cause some jealousy, especially if some of the children you care for require additional time and attention. It can be difficult making sure you give all the children equal attention and that the parents don’t think you are favouring your own children. Childminding can be difficult for your children to cope with, especially if they aren’t used to sharing you.
Lack of adult interaction at work
You will be spending your entire working day with young children and will likely have no other adults to interact with. As well as meaning all the responsibility falls to you, it can also be lonely.
You need to be constantly aware
As the only adult on site, you need to be hyperaware at all times. A child may hurt themselves or others, eat something they shouldn’t or even run away. If you are not aware at all times, a child could sustain an injury or have an accident. If a child is injured, contracts food poisoning or is involved in an accident, you and your business could be liable.
You need to have consistently high energy
Even if you are having a bad day, are tired or feel unwell, you still need to remain energetic and positive to keep the children engaged. There is unlikely to be much time in your working day to sit down and relax and this can be exhausting.
Your job can be physically difficult
You will likely be on your feet for a lot of the day, carrying children, bending down, moving toys, running, cooking and playing on the floor. The physical strain of your job can result in aches, pains and even injuries.
It can be demanding and stressful
Not only will you be responsible for making your business succeed and ensuring safe practices, but you will also likely be in charge of the administrative duties and day-to-day running of your business. As the owner, you will also have to deal with parents’ worries, concerns or complaints. This can be both demanding and stressful.
Strict laws and regulations
Childcare settings are highly regulated and there are many laws and regulations you will need to abide by. You will need to research your legal requirements and ensure your childminding business is operating in line with the law. You will also be inspected regularly by the relevant governing body.
It can be competitive
Not only will you be competing with other childminding businesses, but you will also be competing with private nurseries, nursery schools, before and after school clubs, and other childcare settings. Having multiple settings to compete with can make it more difficult for your business to succeed.
Lack of benefits
As you will be self-employed, you won’t receive benefits such as holiday pay, sick pay and maternity/paternity pay. You won’t receive pay over the Christmas break and during any other holidays you take, or if you fall ill. This could result in financial strain.
Planning Your Childminding Business
When setting up a childminding business, creating your business plan is a great way of helping your business to succeed.
When creating your business plan, consider the following factors:
What ages are you going to care for?
This will determine which childcare register you will need to apply for, your equipment requirements and your pricing. The ages of the children are also important to ensure you are complying with childminding ratio regulations in your country. Consider where your skills and experience lie, the age of your own children (if you will also be taking care of them) and whether you want to take children to and from school.
Who will your target customers be?
Your location, operating hours, facilities and equipment will all impact your target customer base. To reach more potential customers, consider your branding and your marketing and advertising strategy.
Do you need to make any changes to your home?
This includes changes that are done for health and safety reasons, such as removing dangerous objects and safety proofing. You should also inspect any existing furniture and equipment you will utilise in your business to ensure it is safe and fit for purpose.
What are your training and qualification requirements?
Some training, such as paediatric first aid training and safeguarding training will be expected by your business’s governing body. Others, although not legally required, can help to ensure safe practices and make your business more attractive to potential parents.
What equipment and resources do you need to buy?
Look at the equipment list above to help you determine your equipment requirements. Consider the ages of the children, your budget and your available space when choosing which equipment to purchase.
What is your local competition?
Your competition could include other childminders, day nurseries and childcare providers. Consider your competitors’ pricing, advertising and marketing strategies and the things they do well. Knowing your local competition can help you to compete more successfully and find ways to stand out.
What are your start-up costs and running costs?
Consult the list above to help you determine your start-up costs and running costs. Being aware of your approximate costs allows you to determine how you will finance your business and when you are likely to start making a profit.
What will your pricing be?
Once you have determined the costs of setting up and running your business, you can then calculate your pricing policy. Consider your location, facilities, experience and training, as well as the pricing of your competitors. If you provide food, your pricing should be higher. You will also likely charge higher prices for children below two years old.
What are your business objectives?
Some people don’t plan to run their childminding business forever and may only do this while their own children are young, whereas others intend to set up a long-term business. Planning the future of your childminding business and creating a one-year, three-year and five-year plan can be pivotal to the success and growth of your business. When creating your business plan, you will also need to determine your business objectives.
Your business objectives should be SMART:
- S = Specific.
- M = Measurable.
- A = Achievable.
- R = Realistic.
- T = Time bound.
Have you complied with all legal requirements?
Consult the list of legal requirements above and ensure you fully comply when setting up and running your childminding business. Failure to comply with the legal requirements could have a detrimental effect on your business or could result in a fine, the forced closure of your business or, in serious cases, prosecution.