If you're thinking of doing home daycare, look at this checklist of startup expenses for home daycare to help you make the best choice for your family.

Startup Expenses for Home Daycare

This page may contain affiliate links. Learn More.

If you’re thinking of doing home daycare, look at this checklist of startup expenses for home daycare to help you make the best choice for your family. Running a home daycare can be very rewarding and it can also be very difficult. If you're thinking of doing home daycare, look at this checklist of startup expenses for home daycare to help you make the best choice for your family.

And find out here what qualities it takes to be a GOOD provider. And check out the home daycare regulations that everyone needs to start with here.

How much does it cost to start a home daycare?

Check your local state guidelines for licensing and regulations. In Oklahoma, we are required to be licensed, but the license itself doesn’t cost. In some states, it does and so do other permits and inspections. Some states require you have liability insurance, some don’t, but that’s an expense to consider. Click here to see licensing requirements for Oklahoma

paperwork and receipts for start up expenses for home daycare

I strongly suggest you get some of Tom Copeland’s books on how to keep track of these expenses as well. It’s going to save you a lot of trouble later. The record keeping guide and a tax workbook for each year are a must.

Cost to start a home daycare

I would say a conservative ballpark figure for startup expenses for home daycare would be $3,000-$5,000 depending on what you already have and what your state requires. Also, supplies cost differently in different areas. If you don’t have children of your own and don’t have a house full of toys already, it may be a lot more.

Many people think there aren’t many startup expenses for home daycare, but there are safety concerns, supplies needed, and lots and lots of food!

For a printable daycare business plan worksheet pdf, click here. 

Click here to see how to reduce day to day expenses for running your childcare business

fire extinguisher required for home daycare

Daycare startup expense checklist

  • Approved fire extinguisher
  • Smoke detector in every room the children will be in except the kitchen and bathroom
  • Any of your door locks must be able to be opened from the inside
  • Storage place for children’s things, coat rack, bins, drawers or totes
  • Changing table with a plastic-covered pad that can be sanitized
  • Step stool
  • Gates
  • Child safety locks, plug covers, and other safety equipment.

Daycare start up cost

  • Bottles and bottle rack
  • Bibs
  • Dishes, cups, and eating utensils
  • A refrigerator that keeps food at 41 degrees or less
  • Thermometer for refrigerator
  • Railings are required for all stairs.
  • You must have a soap dispenser and paper towel dispenser and supplies for toileting and handwashing in place.
  • Your home must be in good repair, so any areas that aren’t will need to be repaired.
  • You must be trained in CPR and first aid which can be very costly but varies by location as well as issuing agency. In addition, you must have health and safety training prior to starting as well. Additional training will be required ongoing, but these must be obtained before you begin providing care.
  • Proper records of immunizations for all family members and pets are required.
  • You may be required to have a tuberculosis test or other health assessments.
  • A bulletin board to post your required items such as your license, menu, schedule, safety drills and emergency contact numbers.
  • Cleaning equipment including a really good vacuum and carpet cleaner.

Check out what home daycare essentials you really need here.  

Cost to open a daycare

You will be required to pay for a background check for everyone living in your home, including your children as they turn 18 years of age. At this time, we are required in Oklahoma to have FBI fingerprinting done through proper DHS approved procedures, at the price of $53 for the check itself for each person living in your home, in addition to all of the paperwork and travel involved.

I would recommend getting three or four, three-ring binders in which to keep your records, a filing cabinet and a stapler, hole punch, and writing paper to take notes on. Click here to see how to organize your daycare paperwork.

Plenty of envelopes, stamps, and pens because there is paperwork constantly.

You will have to supply a lot of paperwork in order to get licensed and remain licensed, so you should have a properly working computer and printer/copier available. You’ll need paper, ink, and an internet connection. A fax is not a must but would be helpful.

Medications and hazardous products such as cleaners must have a storage place out of reach of children.

Safety concerns for home daycare startup

Your clear glass doors must be marked with a sticker at child’s eye level. I had a vinyl sticker with my daycare name made so it looks professional and kind of nice.

If you have weapons of any kind you will need locking storage containers for them as well as separate locking containers for your ammunition which must be stored in a separate area.

Lighting and ventilation must be adequate.

Your yard must be fenced with a sturdy 4-foot-high fence that reaches all the way to the ground with no holes.

If you have a pool or trampoline, those must be fenced with even stricter requirements to prevent daycare children from using them. Six-foot-high secure fencing with locks.

If you are not on city water supply, you must pay for water testing.

You must have a home phone line.

If you plan to transport, you will have to have approved car seats.

Daycare start up costs

Other equipment that is required includes:

  • Sealable bags for sending home soiled clothing
  • Art supplies
  • Books
  • Large muscle equipment
  • Musical equipment
  • Blocks and accessories
  • Dramatic play materials
  • Manipulative toys
  • Science materials
  • Outdoor play equipment, climbers, swings, slides, etc.
  • Tables and chairs that ensure children’s health and safety
  • High chairs and booster seats
  • Bedding and blankets for each child including mats or cots, and playpens for children under one
  • Closed container for diapering (diaper pail)
  • Food for meals and snacks
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • An approved first aid kit
  • Working flashlight 
  • Advertising, business cards, ads, signs, etc. 

I suggest checking out VistaPrint for those products, they have a lot of good deals that will save you money on these expenses. Click here to go to their website.

start up expenses for family childcare home, picture of smoke detector on ceiling

In home child care start up costs

There may be other things required for start-up, but these are the items required for my area or suggested by other providers in other areas, so the list of expenses is pretty comprehensive. The start up expenses for home daycare aren’t cheap, but if it’s the job for you, it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love! For those who are born to do it, it’s amazing, for those who aren’t, it’s miserable.

Make sure you love working with kids and don’t mind sharing your home, privacy, and a whole lot of your time with them and their families. If it’s your calling, you will never be able to imagine doing anything else with your time! The startup expenses for home daycare won’t matter if it won’t work for your family and you. 

I could not love any job more than I love family childcare. It’s so satisfying to know I am changing the future and affecting lives. 

Saving money on daycare equipment

Check out Discount School Supply for many of these required materials. They have great prices and a great selection. After 28 years of family childcare, they are my go-to place to look for equipment, art supplies, and many other of my daycare expenses. (And don’t forget to keep meticulous records of your home daycare tax deductions for tax time)

Providers have to stick together and help each other by sharing information on childcare trends, problems, resources and other things that will make our daycare jobs easier. Share your knowledge and get information on the business of family childcare. 

If you need help getting started in your business, how to start and run and a successful daycare business could be just what you need. How to start a home daycare. Check out these daycare tips for providers too. 

If you're thinking of doing home daycare, look at this checklist of startup expenses for home daycare to help you make the best choice for your family.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Its been so long you forget about some stuff and it is ON GOING !!! We have to replace almost all of it along the way as well it not a one time thing. .. But Well worth it to have babies !!

  2. If I were to buy a separate home, would it still be considered an in-home daycare/family daycare facility even though I’m not living there? Or would that be treated as a childcare center? I’ve worked at an in-home daycare for years and have dreamt of opening my own but having lived in a trailer has closed so many opportunities for me. Any information on this would help. Thanks, Rachael

    1. I think you’d have to check with your local agency. Are you in Oklahoma? That would be your licensing specialist. If you are outside, i’m not sure. I know other providers here in oklahoma that do that, but I’m not sure how the rules work on that.