How to Start a Childcare Business During Covid-19

Carolyn Canetti
Nov 13, 2020 3:45:00 PM

If you're at home perhaps without a job thinking about what you could do instead, consider starting a childcare business. Being a parent during Covid-19 is an unusual time, for those going to work and leaving children to participate with online education, for unemployed parents who spend time applying to new roles while taking care of their children, or for parents working from home who are expected to help with their children's remote education... either way you look at it: parents and children need safe, fun help. 

 

A daycare business, babysitting business, or after-school activity business are all great ideas given the circumstances and needs for parents and kids during the pandemic. But! It's not without a few upfront requirements. Here's how to begin:

 

Know your state or city's Covid guidelines and restrictions:

To begin building or reorganizing a childcare business during Covid-19, it's very important that you know your state guidelines and restrictions on gatherings, infection rates, and safety protocols. If you are presiding in a state regulating capacity of gatherings, requiring masks, or working in a town or city where children are in-person learning, remote learning, or hybrid - you will have to comply not only by these requirements, but also decide what guidelines you want to set for your business itself. 

 

These are the rules of business these days, especially for childcare, where the obvious concern is for the health of children, you and your employees, and families. Utilizing the CDC's Control and Prevention guideline is a good place to start, AARP's state-by-state guide, or your state's website (or town's website) can provide resources for you. It's important to note that these rules are fluid and constantly changing based on new research about the transmission of the virus, and can differ overnight if rates of infection grow rapidly in concern for the safety of the public and essential workers. 

 

 

Learn about licensing, credentials and business registration: 

The next thing to understand about starting a childcare business is The Child Care Aware of America' license guidelines, and then find your specific state and city for additional information. You can also contact the state Department of Children and Family Services to learn about the regulations for child care providers. Some licenses require a CPR certification, a clear background check, or specific accreditation from Child Development Associate (CDA). This will illustrate your experience and understanding of early childhood education, and may be useful to have all future employees showcase as well. 

 

Parents want to feel secure in leaving their children with you, and you should want to feel secure in caring for their children. Crossing all the legal requirements and certifications for the sake of every child's safety is not something to gloss over. If you have an educational background, this may read as things to cross off your list, but if you are completely new to working with children, you do need to jump through a few hoops to get started. 

 

Additionally, you will have to register your business with the state and government as either a LLC if you're a sole proprietorship. This allows you to separate your personal and business finances during taxes and throughout the year. If you choose to hire a team, acquaint yourself with 1099 forms. But for now, start with an LLC

 

Use these resources:

babysitting during coronavirus

 

 

Create a business plan and offering:
As a determined new business owner, you must come up with what you are offering to families and children. What is the greatest demand in your town or city? Are you offering after-school care, full-time day care, one-on-one child care, a specific activity or class? Will you offer care in multiple languages? What age range? 

 

Once you answer these questions, then it's important to know where. Will you rent out a space? Will you require a permit to facilitate care outside, in a public space? 

 

Finally, how to price your services. Start with the recurring costs: the cost of the space, staff to hire, technology to keep customer information, payments and scheduling organized, sanitation supplies, child safe toys, snacks, and equipment. Then, decipher how many kids can and need to work with you on a daily basis to operate a successful business. This will help you to determine the cost to operate and the charge per child, as well as funds to promote, advertise and market. 

 

Consider these accounting tools, great for new small businesses:

  • Intuit QuickBooks Online: The behemoth and most trusted in the space, QuickBooks has been around for a long time as a super advanced software. Intuit is the light version, in which you can track income, expenses, send invoices, track sales and tax, and do pay roll. Starting at $12.50/month up to $75/month. 
  • Wave: Great for individuals or tiny businesses, they offer mostly free services, inclusive of invoice and transaction management. Not useful for product based e-commerce that requires fulfillment and inventory tracking.

Cover yourself legally: policies, procedures and insurance: 

We swear it's not all paperwork, but we can't stress enough how important it is to do all of this upfront work to demonstrate your trustworthiness to work with children. Especially during Covid-19, parents are extra weary of where their children are, and you want to be available and able to provide care. 

 

Insurance wise, kids will be kids and accidents are inevitable. Get small business insurance to cover items like: liability, equipment breakdown, property, business income and crime. A lot of insurance is common sense - ensure you have safety equipment, smoke detectors, fist aid, fire extinguishers, child safe facilities, and basic first aid and pediatric CPR training for all. 

 

It's important to develop your own policies and procedures for both staff and families. Create guidelines for general health, Covid-19 related rules, safety precautions, privacy, nutrition protocol. Determine a detailed contract that outlines what you provide as well as the expectations to families: information about drop off and pick up, shared responsibilities, cancellation, payment, and such. 

 

Consider these legal services to have a secure and legal relationship with clients. 

  • DocuSign: DocuSign is a great tool for getting e-signatures on documents. Started at $10/month, up to $40/month or custom pricing, you can send all legal documents through DocuSign and feel sure of security and privacy. 
  • Rocket Lawyer: Rocket Lawyer helps to create reliable documents for all types of legal purposes. They also provide some legal services, consultations, and business specific filing. You can either join as a member for $39.99 per month, in which everything is included in the membership, or do a la carte style, where you make a one-time purchase to do a thing. 

start a childcare business

 

 

The fun stuff:

Okay, we swear that running a childcare service is more than proving your worth and covering your bases. Childcare should be a joy and a place and service that children and families love and look forward to. We want you to be so successful and safe that there's a waiting list to join in the activities.

 

Guide to Getting New Customers: Advertising and Marketing

 

Let's talk about getting your first customers and ongoing new business. You should start with 2 tactics. One, is your online presence. Most parents will validate your business by checking your website, social media profiles, and looking to read reviews, your protocols and credentials and pricing. Consider your online profiles and website as a way to convince someone to call or email you. It's important to set up smartly, with clear messaging and transparency. 

 

The bigger step in childcare is word-of-mouth referrals, happy customers, and partnering with other child related businesses. Insert yourself in the community, in the conversation, and create a way to get feedback from current customers to ensure that new families will be satisfied too. 

 

Our list of free or low cost tools to build a website, schedule social media posts, create videos, host virtual meetings, send email newsletter, and create easy branding: 

  • Zoom: Zoom is the biggest name in web conferencing with high quality audio and video. They offer a comprehensive free plan with their highest at $19.99/month per team individual. (So if you have two people on your time, it would be $40/month). 
  • Join.Me: A great service for individuals and small teams, providing local call-in numbers, and integration with Outlook and Google Calendar. Plans between $10-30/month. 
  • Bounce House: While we believe in the power of having a website, we also know it shouldn't be something that you stress about for more than a few minutes. We offer well designed web pages the services you offer. Starting at $9/month to $99/month. 
  • Squarespace: Long time fan favorite, Squarespace offers a multitude of templates, integrations and more. Priced at $12/month to $40/month, it's a great tool for those who want to spend weeks or more on creating their site. 
  • Later: With a focus on Instagram, plus automation and preview for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, Later has a free option, up to $25/month, with meters around posts per profile per month. Advanced plans include engagement tools and video support. 
  • Planoly: Planoly caters to Instagram and Pinterest, but includes other platforms with their most expensive tier. From free to $23/month, Planoly has an emphasis on image based content.
  • Medium:  Medium is a free blogging tool, as well as a platform built for discovery. With basic design elements, you can focus on your writing, follow like minded people, and increase engagement. 
  • Animoto: Animoto is a neat video tool you can use to make easy drag and drop videos. Inclusive of templates, music and more - it's extremely useful (and has a free version) for those who are not video savvy. Priced from free to $49/month. 
  • Constant Contact: Constant Contact is building popularity, with email marketing and powerful analytics attached. They offer additional tools such as design, e-commerce function and more. Plans are $20/month or $45/month. 
  • Send in Blue: Send in Blue was built for new small businesses to be affordable and useful. They offer both email marketing services as well as SMS, plans from free to $65/month. 
  • Canva: Consider Canva as your go-to for almost everything design related. They can help with logos, presentations, business cards, post cards, infographic, social media backgrounds and images. From free to $30/month. 
  • The Noun Project: The Noun Project is free tool (or $2.99 per icon, or $39.99/year), which is neat for iconography. With specific libraries to download, useful for logos, websites, newsletters, and social media highlights for uniform branding. 
  • Unsplash: Unsplash offers free, high-resolution photos sourced by creators all over the world. Best for environmental, landscape, or candid people and portraits. They update content consistently. 
  • Coolors: If you're interested in making a color palette to use for your business, Coolors is a creative tool for generating 5 colors at a time that you can then use as your brand color scheme. It's free to use! 

If this article hasn't completed spooked you from setting up a childcare business during a global pandemic, we know and believe it's an important service in these crazy times that parents and children want and need. Good luck! 

 

 

Ready to get started? Here at Bounce House, we help one person businesses get set up online quickly. From scheduling, website pages to payment and customer management - we have you covered. Jump in for free - check us out!

Topics: Customers, E-commerce,