Contact your local child care licensor to find out if there are any serious barriers to meeting state licensing requirements. These could include:
* Safety standards: Requirements that you make safety modifications to your home, such as installing an egress window in the basement or a fence. Your home may also have to pass inspections be the building and fire departments.
* Space standards: Requirements that you have enough indoor and outdoor square footage available for the number of children you wish to care for.
* Disqualification factors: Requirements that you have a criminal background check that may include looking at any history of mental illness or chemical dependency in your or other family members.
Check with your local appropriate agency to insure that none of the following legal barriers apply to your business:
* Zoning laws: City or county zoning ordinances may limit your ability to run a business out of your home.
* Deed restrictions: Private landowners, such as homeowners’ associations, home developers, or landlords may have restrictions in their deeds that limit your ability to operate your business. Read all deeds and covenants for your property before opening your business.
* Business name: Although you are not required to adopt a separate name for your business, if you do some states require that you register your business name with your state secretary of state’s office.
* Business structure: The vast majority of family child care providers operate their business as a sole proprietorship (also known as self-employed). There is no paperwork to file before you start caring for children. If you do consider operating as a partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC), I strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney and tax professional for advice before you make this decision. There are many drawbacks to operating other than a sole proprietorship. For a detailed description of what business structure to choose, see my Family Child Care Legal & Insurance Guide.
* Business location: If you are considering running your business out of a building that you do not live in, consult first with your child care licensor, Food Program sponsor, and zoning office to find out if this can be done in your area.
If you are a family child care provider, what other business advice do you have for those who are just starting out?
Tom Copeland – www.tomcopelandblog.com
Photo credit: wise4living.com
For more information see my Family Child Care Business Planning Guide.