How much would you expect to pay for an at-home daycare of a 18 month old?

Mary Renee - posted on 08/31/2011 ( 24 moms have responded )

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Hello,



I very much want to be able to stay home with my toddler until she's old enough for preschool, and I have looked into watching other children in my home in order to supplement the family income.



I thought for sure the going rate would be around $8/hour. That's pretty much minimum wage in Hawaii (we live in Honolulu) and let's face it, watching kids is a lot more difficult than ringing people up at a store (I'm speaking from experience as I've done both).



When a friend of mine (we are both mother's with a college degree and several years worth of child care experience, her as a science teacher, myself as an english teacher and a drama camp counselor) and I started talking, she said she wasn't able to get people to be willing to pay more than $600 per MONTH!



To me, this is shockingly low! The family needs daycare 8am-4pm Tuesday and Thursday, and 8am-12pm Wednesday and Friday - so 24 hours/week (so part-time hours, but still a regular commitment)



I did the math and to work 24 hours/week at the minimum wage of $8/hour is $192/week and about $864/month. When I've looked at the going rate of daycare in Honolulu for $18-month-olds it's about the same, often more, and at least in my opinion, you aren't going to get the same individualize attention at a daycare that you'd get at an at-home day care.



I understand that since I would have my own child with me and the luxury of staying at home, maybe that would factor in to the cost. So if I charged $7/hour (which is LESS than minimum wage) that would be $168/week and $756/month.



Still, $756/month is $150 more than the person looking for a sitter is paying right now. I don't get it, Honolulu is a urban city with one of the highest cost of living in the world.



I was thinking of giving potential parents two options. Pay $8/hour, and I'd be paid at the end of every week after calculating the total hours. OR pay $7/hour for the entire month, a flat rate of $756/month regardless if whether some days they decide to take work off or skip a day.



I really could use the money for our household, especially as my daughter is out growing her "baby" things and is starting to need "toddler/big girl" things (toddler bed, booster seat, etc). I don't want to be money hungry, but at the same time I don't want to sell myself short! What do you guys think is a reasonable price for childcare? Should I charge even LESS than $750/month? How do you factor in the cost of food? What do you guys think? Would you watch an 18-month-old 24 hours a week for $600/month?



***Edited to Add: When responding about the rates you pay/have paid/charged... please let me know what region you live in so I can take into account the differences in the cost of living.

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Mary Renee - posted on 09/01/2011

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Thanks you very much Lynn, you've offered a lot of really good suggestions to keep in mind. However the only thing I want to correct you on is that I'm not asking for more than minimum wage per child. I was asking FOR minimum wage. And I really only want to take on one or two children.

Part of the reason these parents need at-home care is because the daycare centers that were the least expensive (the state-run daycares that cost $900/month for kids under 2 - I know because I was looking into these day cares for my own daughter) CLOSED their under 2 programs and so now the parents only need at home day-care for 6 months or so until the kids can get into the regular day cares. Regular daycare out here is $800-$900/month, that's why I'm surprised that no one is willing to pay $700/month for at home day care. In Hawaii, $8/hour is minimum wage. At $700 a month I'd be making around $6/hour.

Also, I wouldn't never smoke cigarettes in my home or around children, that wouldn't even enter my head, I have a bachelor's degree and over 5 years experience working with children 2-10 (as daycare counselor, an English teacher, and a drama camp counselor)

Thanks again, Lynn, because you really touched on some points that I want to keep in mind. I planned to have a contract and I planned to offer two options. Either pay $700/month (which works itself out to around $6/hour) and that would be paid at the begining of the month regardless of whether the kids couldn't attend a certain day OR they could pay $8/hour at the end of every week. I will write up a contract and handbook too.

I have an additional question for you. When you had the infants you charged $10 extra a day for food? Would you suggest I do something similiar with a toddler? I think like I mentioned before, food is super expensive here (Gallon of milk: $5, Pound of Apples: $3.00, Pound of Grapes: $4.00) But did you have them pay a separate check of food, give them the option to pack their own food, or just include the cost of food in the price?

THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL YOUR HELP!!!!!

Lynn - posted on 09/01/2011

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I've had a home preschool since 1996. I offer care from 7:30-5:30, and I charge $30 per day. I usually have about 4 kids, since the economy is so bad, but before I had my two kids, I always had 7 preschoolers (sometimes infants, though not anymore). If I have to take them somewhere, I ask the parents to leave their carseats, so I don't have to buy my own. I teach them what they need to know before they go to Kindergarten, which is more than some large centers do. We do art projects and worksheets every day, and I include meals and snacks, so everyone is eating the same things. I make the parents provide diapers, wipes and rash ointment if they need it. When I had infants, I bought the baby food, since I charged $10 more per day for them. I live in Phoenix, so the cost of living is less than Hawaii, but I'm still not sure why you think you should make over min. wage per child. If you want to make more money, take in another child, but you have to consider what is the going rate in your area. I would call other home daycares in your area and get an idea of what they charge, and what they offer. Some just take care of basic needs, some offer education and crafts. Things to consider are: will you let the kids watch t.v. (I don't), do have pets, pool, stairs, guns, do you smoke, age of your child, will you take them places that charge admission, where will they sleep, will you take paid or unpaid vacations and holidays, what is your policy on sick children, can they bring toys/blankets, do you have enough toys/educational/art supplies? These are all things you can expect parents to want to know. I recommend that you put your expections into a parent handbook. You will appear professional, and there will be no miscommunications about what you offer. I got info from other preschools when I wrote mine. You should clearly outline your policies on all the things I mentioned above, so parents know up front what to expect. Things like will you charge an enrollment/craft fee, is it annual or one-time, will you offer a second child discount, do they have to stay home if they have a fever/vomiting/diarrhea/undiagnosed rash/green or yellow runny nose, if they bounce a check will you charge them a fee, when are payments due, will you charge a late fee if payments are received late, what is your philosophy on punishments/redirection, what are your business hours, and will you charge a late fee if the child is picked up late? (very important, or people will take advantage of you!) The more professional you portray yourself, the more respect you'll get from the parents. I am very clear that this is my job choice, and I treat it as such. If parents think you're "just a babysitter" they can often take advantage by leaving the kids longer, paying late, and bringing sick kids.

Kellie - posted on 08/31/2011

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I was thinking about doing this very same thing but was going to charge something like 80 (Australian Dollars) a day per child, NO less. Which when broken down would be about $7.30 an hour, hmmm now that I think about it that isn't good enough, might have to think about $90 to $100 a day should I decide to do this myself. Here too, we have a Government subsidy so childcare is subsidised depending on your Annual Salary and the Parents out of pocket expense would be minimal.

So to answer the OP, definitely do NOT sell yourself short, especially with your experience and qualifications. Put the price you are worth on your services, those that need it will come.

I'm wondering why people think that a home based daycare (here ours are Government Regulated as are Daycare Centres) deserve less money per hour/child than a Centre? You're still providing the same service, I would even say a more personalised/tailored service, as a Centre. If anything I would think the Home based care being more personalised/tailored/suited to meet your child needs, would be worth more.

Kim - posted on 08/31/2011

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I do in home daycare in a fairly expensive city to live and I charge $35.00 for a 9 hour day.(gives parents time to get to/from work) For a day 4 hours or less I charge $20.00. If the days/hours needed are the same each month then I charge a flat rate by multiplying the days by what I charge regardless of whether the child actually comes or not. I provide lunch and snacks only because I find it easier for them to all be eating the same thing and making lunch for a toddler isn't that much more than making it for my own kids. The only time I don't is if there are allergies.
If you do decide to do childcare I would make sure to make a contract stipulating the hours, days, wages etc. I would also put in how much notice to end care you would need, if you charge for sick days, what to do in an emergency, etc.

Amy - posted on 08/31/2011

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I have to agree with the other ladies if a person is only making $12 an hour and you charge $8 that means they're working to $4 an hour. So this is where most parents start to calculate is it even worth it to work if you're working for $4 an hour and really it'll be less when you calculate the gas to get to work and the wardrobe to wear to work, they may actually end up not making any money or net very little pay.

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Sherri - posted on 09/01/2011

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I live in NH Mary and that would probably be the reason for such the price difference.

Mary Renee - posted on 09/01/2011

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As a favor, when you respond telling me how much you pay, could you also let me know what region you live in? I've lived in D.C., New York, rural Pennsylvania, and Honolulu and trust me, the prices of things vary GREATLY so it would be helpful for you to let me know where you're coming from. For example, in PA I could get a one bedroom apartment for $300/month... here it is $1000/month. Huge difference, and I think the cost of childcare would reflect that.

Stifler's - posted on 09/01/2011

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I pay a lady $40 a day from 830 til 430-5 cash in hand to watch my kid

Lissa - posted on 09/01/2011

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Ours is equivalent to $6 an hour which includes a snack but if any trip/activities which cost money are planned we would pay for that. We only use it one afternoon a week so it's not an issue. That is a fairly average price here.

Sherri - posted on 09/01/2011

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I do in home daycare it is $150 full time w/second child at half price. $75 a week for part time w/ second child half price or $3.75 an hour.



For a 18mo old 24hrs a week I would only charge $360 a month!!



Parents supply everything and honestly it is no harder having children in your home then working outside your home. I personally would NEVER pay your rates they seem to be crazy high.



I watch 2yr old twins and get $50 a day, watch them 4 days a week and get $200 a week for 2 or $800 a month full time.



$75 a wk for a 6yr old boy part time

$185 full time for 6yr old twins but there cost is grandfathered as I have had them for 6yrs.

Sabina - posted on 09/01/2011

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I have two children in my home and charge the following-$30 a day or 525 month. I also take into account I'm not paying day care at 600 a month. SO it ends up about 14$ an hour. However the benefit of taking care of your own children and knowing them is the payoff in the end.
You need to just figure out what the going rate is in your area. The poor moms still need to make a living too.

Kellie - posted on 08/31/2011

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LOL yep that's the truth!

Way I see it is if your providing something that is very closely matched to an outside service then you deserve the same rate of pay. I'm sure there are 'under the table' Home based Childcare's here too but they (as far as I can tell) are pretty strict with it here.

Kim - posted on 08/31/2011

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But I guess you can charge whatever you want if someone is willing to pay it. :)

Kim - posted on 08/31/2011

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In that case I would be charging close to the same as well. I'm in Canada and there are licensed, licensed not required and registered licensed not required. Basically the liscensed daycares are usually the centres with staff, specialised training etc. Registered license not required means that they come to your house and do an inspection etc but not a strict as licensed and the liscensed not required they do not come to your home. The centres are always more and the others are about the same.

Kellie - posted on 08/31/2011

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I'm in Australia and all of our Daycares, Home and Centre based are Government regulated and you MUST be registered with the Government to run a Home Daycare. They actually visit your house and look it over to make sure it meets the Government Regulations and you have to fix it up if it doesn't. You also need to do a (in my state) Childcare Certificate (I forget which one exactly) before you can apply to and be approved for starting a Home Daycare.

So in my country I would be demanding rates very very similar to a Centre Based Childcare, my time and effort is just as worthwhile.

Kim - posted on 08/31/2011

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The reason most in home daycares charge less than a center is because most in home daycares are not licensed and beacuse they do not need to pay for childcare themselves. The staff in centers are also usually educated and specialise in child development. I take my daycare children on outings as well but if the outing is more than a few extra dollars I do ask the parents to pay. Most are more than willing but if there was ever a problem then we would just do something less expensive.
I could never imagine paying minimum wage for daycare since I would most likely not be making a huge amount above that. I don't know any parents around here that would but it does depend on your city and what the average rates are there. Doing in home daycare is certainly hard at times and you will definately not get rich, but I love kids and it's nice for my kids to have someone to play with. I try and help out the parents as much as I can.
Your city may have a website that shows the averages that daycares charge in your area. My city does and I always charge the average.

Kellie - posted on 08/31/2011

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No problem, I must say this attitude of "well your a Home Based Daycare and therefore somehow worth less than a Centre Based Childcare" somewhat mind boggling!

Mary Renee - posted on 08/31/2011

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Thanks Kellie! That's what I was thinking. I mean, I would be taking the kids on outing to the beach, the zoo, the park, the aquarium, the library, I've even been putting money aside to get extra car seats. I know I don't have to do these things, but I do think the kind of service you'd be receiving at an at-home day care would be better than at a child-care center.

I don't want to come across as unappreciative of anyone's help because I am really grateful. I was shocked that there was so many different opinions about it or that it was even an option to pay someone less than minimum wage, but now I'm getting a lot of different ideas.

Thanks! I think I'm definitely going to take on this first toddler (I wanted to start with just one, because if it's a ton of extra work, I don't want to be working for pennies) because income is income and I'll see how it goes.

I'm thinking that I'll give her the option of paying a flat rate of $700 for the month OR the option to pay $8/hour weekly.

Mary Renee - posted on 08/31/2011

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Krista, I understand your logic, but am curious what city you live in, to find out if it is comparable regionally to the cost of living here.

As far some of the savings you mentioned, I don't own any dry-clean only clothes, I always packed my lunch because I could never afford to eat out, and I didn't own a car till my daughter was born, I always rode my bike to work. I never have had a lot of money for those things, so staying at home won't be saving me money in that way. If anything, the cost of food for this child would be an ADDED expense.

The cost of food out here is really expensive. $6.99 for a lbs of strawberries, $3.99 for a lbs of grapes, $3.00 for a lbs of apples, $4:50 for a box of ten granola bars, up to $4.00 for a dozen eggs, and it's at least $1000 for a one bedroom apartment, no extra amenities, no utilities included.

Part of my frustration is that when I was trying to go back to work and was looking for childcare, I couldn't find a day care that would watch a 13 month old - 3 year old for less than $900/month, which played a part in my decision not to go back.

Krista - posted on 08/31/2011

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Okay, you've indicated you only want to take in two extra kids. So I'll amend my numbers:

So let's say you charge $25/day/kid. If you take in 2 other children besides your own, there's $50/day. Add in what you're saving on daycare for your own kid, and you're now netting $75/day. For an 8-hour day, that's a wage of $9.38/hour.

Mary Renee - posted on 08/31/2011

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@Kelly,

I am confused by the logic of your post. I never said I would charge $16/hour for two kids from the same family. I have baby sat and never charged more than $1 extra per hour for a second kid.

Secondly, you said that I would consider myself making $16/hour since I would need to include my own child. Therefore, by that logic, I would be charging $8/hour, $8 for them, $8 for my own daughter.

I would never trust a daycare that only charged $3/hour unless they were receiving government-funding. That's ridiculous! I wouldn't even pay a 14-year-old $3/hour, that's insulting.

So what I'm trying to understand here is then that, yes, you think $600/month is an appropriate amount to pay for a month in-home childcare 4 days a week? I would only take in at most two children because they are toddlers and I would want to give them adequate attention.

How does food factor in to this equation? Would I be expected to pay for the child's food out of my own pocket with the $600/month they're paying me to care for their child?

You cannot base your price per child on minimum wage. Would you be charging a family with 2 kids $16/hour?

The pay rate for a home based daycare would reflect the fact that you will be watching more than one child. If you are charging $8/hour and watching 3 kids, you are actually earning $24/hour which is much higher than minimum wage, and you MUST count your child. So even if you only watch your child and one other child, you are making $16/hour because you are making what you would be paying for your child.

Krista - posted on 08/31/2011

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Rate for childcare is usually based on the day. And like Kelly said, you have to base it on more than one kid.



On average, at-home daycares around here charge $25/day per child. That works out to the $600 a month your friend was talking about.



So let's say if you take in 3 other children besides your own. That gives you $75/day. Add in what you're saving on daycare for your own kid, and you're basically netting $100/day, or $12.50 an hour, for an 8-hour day.



Then calculate what you're saving in gas, by not having to drive to work. What you're saving in dry-cleaning. Lunches out. Parking fees.



You're not going to get rich watching kids, but you can make enough to at least make it worthwhile.

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You cannot base your price per child on minimum wage. Would you be charging a family with 2 kids $16/hour?



The pay rate for a home based daycare would reflect the fact that you will be watching more than one child. If you are charging $8/hour and watching 3 kids, you are actually earning $24/hour which is much higher than minimum wage, and you MUST count your child. So even if you only watch your child and one other child, you are making $16/hour because you are making what you would be paying for your child.

Jennifer - posted on 08/31/2011

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A lot of it does depend on your location, but usually childcare is a lot less than minimum wage. I honestly don't know what minimum wage is now, but when I was working, it was $6.45 an hour and childcare was about $3 an hour per child for certified providers and $1.50 and hour per child for non-certified. The reason it is usually less is 1) if the parents are only making minimum wage, what is the point of working and 2) usually you can watch more than one child at a time, so you would make more an hour if inviting more families.

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