How much should I charge for at home daycare?

Kia - posted on 11/14/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I am currently getting my Associate of Applied Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. I am very interested in watching children in my home. I live just outside the Vancouver, WA area. I like a more structured and educational environment than what I feel typical daycare centers provide. I have no idea what to charge. I know I want to charge for the month, and I want to provide food, basic formula, etc, but have the parents provide diapers, change of clothes, etc. Also, should I charge a deposit so they can't yank their kids out and leave me stuck? What can I expect for start up costs, such as craft supplies, cots, playpens, highchairs, children's tables, etc.?

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Brandi - posted on 11/15/2009

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I would suggest that you look in your area and call around to some of the existing daycares to see what they charge and then keep it right around that figure. In my area of PA daycare costs approx. 130 a week (most daycares charge by the week, not the month). As for charging a deposit, I wouldn't, but you should create a "contract" that requires a 2 week or 30 day notice when ending care. Also, if you become certified in your area, you may be able to purchase materials for your daycare tax-free. In PA, if you start a daycare in your home and become certified, you are eligible for a tax exemption on anything that you need for your business. Also, I wouldn't supply formula, as many babies need special formulas and most daycares do not provide that anyway. as for food, make sure that you get every child's allergies in writing and be sure not to have those items available. Some very common allergies are peanuts and strawberries. whatever you decide to provide and whatever you expect parents to provide BE CLEAR from the BEGINNING and don't make exceptions. I would highly recommend that you become a certified daycare provider because you WILL inevitably come across some parents who either are on daycare subsidies and get some or all of their daycare money from the state, or people who refuse to pay you. If you are certified you can use the Dept. of Children's welfare in your area to help you obtain those monies or end the business relationship with parents who don't pay you. I used a home daycare for my daughter when she was young and I loved it, but the care provider did tell me that over the years she had some troubles and was glad to be certified. Once the Welfare Dept. called up a mother that hadn't been paying her and told her that my caregiver was over capacity (she wasn't ) and that she would need to find other arrangements for her children. Also, when some parents get separated or divorced there are custody issues that the Dept. of welfare could help you sort out if you come across a situation like that. I have looked into this a lot in my state, as well, but do not currently have a home big enough for a large scale daycare center, but there are a lot of pros and cons and before you really get started, you want to make sure you ask yourself a few questions. 1. Are you willing to open your home to strangers? 2. Are you willing to have your own kids have to share you, their toys, their space, etc. with other kids 3. Do you live in a neighborhood where extra noise might be a problem? If a neighbor complains too often, you could be shut down. There are many other things to consider and if you call your Dept. of Child's welfare (that is what PA calls this dept. WA may call it something else if it exists) they possibly could send you a booklet and an application for certification. This booklet will outline all of the things you should consider before deciding to open up your home to other kids. Also, it will give you the requirements and guidelines for how many children are permitted and what ages they can be, the liabilities that you may have due to having other kids in your home (you may need addtl. insurance to cover potential accidents or you may be paying out of pocket if someone's kid should get hurt on your property). Believe me there is a lot to consider. I really want to do this, too, but at this time it is sooooooooo not the right time for me. Hopefully, for you it is the right time.

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