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The first thing you need when opening a home daycare is a contract. This sample contract for home daycare will make it a cinch. And you’ll avoid a lot of frustration. There are many forms necessary for running a home daycare, but the contract is at the top of the list. If you do one thing for yourself, do this.
A contract is a simple form, but the most important form for running a home daycare business. The contract covers time and money. That’s it. Nothing else.
In home daycare forms
Policies are different than contracts. They cover how your daycare is run. Click here to see (and use if you like) my policies. We have some silly things in ours in Oklahoma that are required by the state, feel free to take out what’s stupid. I would if I could.
Without a contract, you are unprotected. Problems arise in this business. A contract will help deter a lot of them and get you out of trouble sometimes as well. The contract lays out your expectations and helps you find families that are a good fit for your program. And you have to know your limits as a home daycare provider.
- The contract covers what hours you are open each day and what days. If you have contracted hours that differ for different children, it will be noted in the contract as well.
- The contract covers holidays and vacation procedures. Do parents pay when you close? Do they pay when kids are sick or on vacation? Are parents expected to give you notice of absences?
- The contract covers emergency closures.
- The contract covers the price you charge for care.
- The contract covers when payday is.
- The contract covers returned check fees or procedures.
- The contract covers late fees, supply fees, curriculum fees, deposits, or whatever kind of fees you will be charging. There are no surprises.
Home daycare contract
- The contract covers what supplies parents must provide.
- The contract covers illness procedures. Picking up sick kids. Symptoms that children must be out of care for and for how long.
Child care agreement between parents
- The contract covers any touchy subjects such as if you have animals the kids will have contact with or others that live in your home. It could be religious beliefs taught. Whatever you have going on that may not be a good fit for some people. Let them know before care and let them sign off they are okay with it.
- The contract covers discrimination policies and reporting of abuse/neglect procedures.
- The contract covers notice to cancel services and what period it covers. Do you do contracts yearly or are they in effect until they are canceled or renewed?
- The contract has signatures of both provider and parents. I do a set for each parent if they are not together and just one if they are together.
- Everything else goes in policies.
- The contract review will let you know if parents are going to be respectful of your facility. You can go over each item on the contract with them to make sure they know what you expect. If they act like they don’t like what you have, that may be a red flag that you won’t work well together. It weeds out a lot of things you don’t want to deal with in your business.
Sample contract for home daycare
This is the contract I use for my business. It’s very similar to the one I created over 20 years ago. It serves me well. It’s short so parents will read it. And it covers what I care about. You can download the pdf, edit it to work for you, and use it for your own.
There are other items I could add such as late fees, and if you are going to enforce those, you should add them. But I already know I’m not. So, I don’t put them in the contract.
I hope if you don’t currently use a contract for your home daycare business, you will consider adding one today. It is a professional way to run your business and it protects you and the clients you serve.
And if you come up with problems you can’t fix, you may have to terminate care. This is a last resort, but if you need to do it, here are some ideas on how to terminate daycare for a child.
For more home daycare help check out:
- a daycare business plan to fill out and see if this business is right for you
- daycare meal planning sheets
- how to plan a daycare menu
- daycare activities
- lesson plans
For more expert contract advice, visit Tom Copeland.