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Running a home daycare is a labor of love for those who are called to do it, but there are plenty of reasons NOT to open a home daycare.
I hear a lot of people say things like, I’ll just stay home and open an home daycare. And it sounds great, and it sounds easy, and it really sounds like easy money, but believe me, it’s NOT!
Home daycare is a wonderful career, but you have to be okay with other people’s kids breaking all your stuff. And peeing and barfing on it. And spending most of what you make on the kids you keep.
You also have to be okay with being there every day no matter what. You can’t call in with a headache like you can at some other jobs. You can’t run around town and have lunch with your friends. You have to be okay with spending all day every day with just kids.
Personally, for me, I was made to be stuck at home all the time. I really do love it. But if you’re not, you’ll hate it.
Reasons NOT to open a home daycare
There are many reasons to open a home daycare and many reasons not to. You have to write them out and weigh the pros and cons and see if it’s the right fit for you and your family. And if you don’t think it will affect your family, think again.
Family is one of the most critical parts of the equation. Your husband and your kids have to be okay with invasion in every part of their life. Don’t forget that when making your business plan for your home daycare.
How to open a home daycare
If you are looking for help to get started in home daycare, check this out. It has a lot of helpful information.
Cost of opening a home daycare
It seems like the only thing you’ll need to open a home daycare is a home, but there is a lot more to it that you don’t always see. The start-up expenses alone can be substantial, but once you get that lined out, it doesn’t stop there.
You have everything in place, and you are ready to open. Cue the money rolling in. But once you start collecting fees for childcare, you’ll see there is a ton of expense that goes with that. I spend over $7,000 a year on food for the kids alone.
And I don’t buy expensive convenience foods. I buy cheap ingredients and cook from scratch. A printer, ink, and paper is another huge expense that I never dreamed would be so high.
No matter what I decide to do with the kids that may require printing, the DHS and Food program paperwork is staggering. It’s expensive to print out all the “stuff” they want.
Who ever dreamed that a child would put out the tv with a toy hammer? Did you ever think you’d have to replace the actual wall because someone picked all the finish off of it? What about the actual sheetrock? Because I have mutliple places where children have scratched that off my studs.
Why does anyone want to pick sheet rock? You got me, but I can show you the pick marks if you want…
Toys get broken on the regular. Just today I had to ask a child 752 times to stop slamming a big toy dinosaur into the wooden dollhouse. It’s been out as our special toy for 2 days, and one baby, two beds, and a closet have been broken. You can only glue stuff back together so many times and then so much is broken or missing that you have to replace it.
Then there are all the supplies and extra utilities and things to run the home that will be more expensive with 7 kids running around your house all day. There are rainbows and sunshine in the day, but it’s not all that.
Home daycare salary
Once you factor in all of those expenses, there’s not a lot left as your profit. Your profit is your part of the deal. In 26 years, I have never earned anywhere near minimum wage. Not even half. And the hours are LLLLLOOOONNNNGGGG.
I think my all time high profit was just at $10,000 for a year. Factor in that I work a minimum of 11 hours a day, earlier in my career, closer to 14, that’s not a lot of cheddar to keep for the fam.
The home daycare salary is a BIG deterrant from the job. I still wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Requirements for running a home daycare
There are different requirements for running a home daycare for each area. Depending on where you live, you may have to be registered or licensed or something like that.
What certifications do I need to open a daycare
In Oklahoma, we are required to be licensed even to watch one child. It’s important to follow the law, so find out what it is before you have a daycare and then find out, like I did. I listened to my mother-in-law. She told me you have to have 5 kids before you need a license. Um, no. That’s not correct.
It’s better to get informed and do what needs to be done first than to try to do it while you’re already running it like I had to do.
Problems in home daycare
For me, the love, the satisfaction, and the joy I get from the job far outweigh the problems in home daycare, but those problems are MANY! There are so many things you don’t think about. I love being at home. I love connecting with kids. I loved being at home while my daughter grew up.
I love teaching and seeing the awe and wonder. I love supporting kids and helping them become better. I love supporting families and giving them a safe place for their kids so they can work without worry.
But what are the reasons NOT to open a home daycare?
Dealing with angry parents can be really stressful. And inevitably a parent will get upset about something. In this post, I tell about a parent that was mad, legit mad, that my entertainment center was dusty. If you open your home and heart to families, you also open those things to criticism. Parents, for tips, see what not to say to your daycare provider here.
The money is a definite negative. And everyone says, it must be nice to play all day and make so much money. I do bring in a decent amount of money, but like I said, not much of that is for me.
There is no privacy. Parents have access to all of your beeswax. They see your groceries, your packages, your family’s meltdowns. And they don’t mind commenting on it or busting into your kitchen to see what you’re cooking.
I’m a really private person so that part is tough for me.
You have no time for yourself. You have to be on all the time. Always hustling, there aren’t breaks in the day. The hours are long and it doesn’t leave much for you to do the things you enjoy outside of childcare.
So if you do it, you better get ready for it to be your hobby too. If you don’t want that much of a time commitment and better pay, get a job at a daycare center where you work a cool 8 and at least get minimum wage.
I would hate that because I love doing what I believe is best for kids and not having anyone else to answer to. My goals, my hopes, my dreams, and no one to crush them for me. I love being my own boss!
Your house will be overrun with daycare junk. There is so much equipment required, especially if you keep all age groups, that you don’t have much room left for yourself and your own junk. I try to be minimalist with my stuff, but it still eats the house no matter how much I try to streamline it.
There are no benefits. No retirement, no sick leave, no vacation time, no 401K, no free coffee in the break room, no break room, no perks. If you have paid vacations, it’s because you gave them to yourself in your contract, not because they are built into your pay by someone else.
You are not guaranteed a paycheck in home daycare. People leave owing money. People don’t pay on payday and you have to ask them for it. They forget. They spend it on tattoos or their own vacations. They do all kinds of things and it’s up to make sure you get paid. It doesn’t just appear like magic as it does at most jobs.
The community and society as a whole have no respect for early childhood. It’s the most important job in the world, but you just have to know that for yourself. People don’t realize it or have respect for what you do.
Most of the time your parents won’t either. Your uncle will always ask you if you’re still babysitting. Even though you never sat on a baby and rarely ever sit down all day. It’s sometimes hard for us to relate to parents or for them to relate to providers, but many times people really know how to appreciate their provider. Those are the special times.
The wear and tear on your home, your body, and your furniture is something you never dreamed of. It’s physically a very hard job and that’s fine in your 20’s when you are young and spry, but in your 50’s is not quite as simple.
You might have a bad knee, a back problem, tennis elbow, and all kinds of other problems by then. Not that I would know that by experience, just speculation. It’s not like I can’t grow a big toenail on either foot because little boys stomp them daily with boots.
Also, the damage to your home and furniture can be overwhelming. I have to get a new couch and living room chairs about every 3-5 years because the kids tear them up. They might pick at the corners, jump on them and pop the upholstery, jump on your pillows, go rogue with a sharpie, cut them with scissors.
I watch my kids closely, but I still have to tell them 30 times a day, sit or get off the furniture, you’re tearing it up. They wear the fronts off the cushions climbing up and down. The velcro or buckles on their shoes tear holes in the cushions.
Their boots scrape all the paint off your bench seat because they want to sit on their feet instead of sitting properly. They throw your forks and spoons and even bowls and plates in the trash and sometimes you don’t see. They dig holes in your yard, break windows, mark up the walls, and so much more by just being kids and learning. You did it too when you were a kid, don’t try to say you didn’t.
The wear and tear is immense. I would have never dreamed it. And people will even bring their kids sick and lie about it and then get you sick. In the biz we call it the old dope and drop. Give them Tylenol before drop off and then after lunch, once everyone’s been exposed, the provider finds out they have a fever.
The bottom line is that daycare is the most important job in the world. If you want to change the world, consider working with young children. If you want to give the very best care possible, considering opening a daycare in your home.
But if your temperament or your family is not cut out for it, RUN and do something that you are. It’s a gift, and not everyone enjoys it. You may love kids, but not be able to stand up for yourself. You may not be organized enough to run your own business. But if it is your thing, you’re going to rock being a wonderful provider!
It’s the number one most important job in the world. It’s the job that’s more full of love than any other. The hugs are plentiful. The satisfaction in a job well done is unmatched. The responsiblity is huge. But it’s like the peace corp, the toughest job you’ll ever love. If you are made to do it, it’s hard to do anything else. Because you know it’s your calling and that’s hard to ignore.
If you are a provider, thank you! Thank you for tackling the most important job in the world in the face of all these obstacles. You are rocking the future and I appreciate you! Thank you for putting your 110% into the lives of little people!