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Thinking Of Starting Home Childcare Business In The UK? Are You Ready For The Plunge?

When starting home childcare business...

starting home childcare

...You need to think about how you are going to market and manage your business, what sort of contract to draw up including fees you are going to charge, your expenses incurred and how you are going to insure your business.

You become a self-employed childcare and education provider. You draw up regulations to determine your own standard, set your own fees and working conditions.

If starting home childcare business is to be successful, you need to manage it well with good record keeping.

You must be sure that parents are happy with your service of taking care of their children and are happy with their contracts.

Poorly managed home-based childcare brings about stress. If you are properly organised, it is easier to build cordial relationships with the children and their parents right from the outset of starting home childcare.

What Level Of Support Do I Need When Starting Home Childcare?

Since starting home childcare of our own, we’ve joined the NCMA (National Childminding Association... For England and Wales) and we’ve been offered quality support.

You also need to join a recognised association that can also offer you quality support in terms of fees, expenses, contracts, insurance, tax and national insurance, milk refunds and training.

Click here for more information about joining the NCMA (opens in new window).

How Do I Market My Home Childcare Business?

Starting home childcare business means you are willing to go the extra mile to let people in your neighbourhood know about your business and there are several ways you can do to spread the word...

Word of mouth

This is by far the best and effective way to get the word out about your childcare business. Get started by talking to friends and neighbours and people who come into regular contact with parents such as teachers, nurses, midwives, health visitors etc.

Business cards and leaflets

Having your name and qualifications in childcare printed on a business card is another option you might consider.

We have business cards with our full names and qualifications printed on them and hand them out to people we meet on a day-to-day basis.

You might also have a leaflet printed with more information about your business. You could include your working hours, fees and experience.

Websites

A simple designed website can be an effective way to advertise your business. You have the opportunity to add photos of equipment, and the area in your home where you will care for children. Click here to learn more about how we built this website to advertise our business and you can too.

Posters

A properly designed poster placed on notice boards in public places like health centres, schools, your GP’s surgery and community centres can attract attention to your business.

Newspaper Ads

It’s worth spending a little to advertise your business in your local newspaper. You can negotiate the rate for cheaper rates and the plus side of this is the wide coverage of prospective parents you can reach in your area.

What Kind of Contract Should I Draw Up?

The contract outlines what is expected of you and from parents as you are providing childcare services under agreed terms and conditions for a negotiated fee.

We used the NCMA (National Childminding Association) contract when we started and have put us on a professional level with parents and also served as evidence in events of disagreements. Contact the NCMA here for a Contract Form.

Provide an opportunity to sit with parents and complete the contract together. This also provides an opportunity for you to discuss your childcare business practice and to know if parents have any preferences in the way you care for their children.

The contract should then be signed and dated once all details have been agreed by both parties. This then becomes a legally binding document.

You have to have a separate contract for each child in a family and always make sure you note the date when the contract is due for review with parents.

What Can I Insure?

You will need to review all your insurance policies when you start your home-based childcare business. These are the ‘Public Liability Insurance’ and ‘Car and Home Insurance’.

Public Liability Insurance

This insures you against:

  • Accidental injury or death to anyone or children you look after
  • Damaged property caused by children in your care.

Car and Home Insurance

Your car insurance needs to be updated if your business involves using your car to transport children in your care.

You have to be covered by your car insurance policy otherwise it may become invalid if there’s an accident with the children involved. This is also true for your home insurance since you are running your business from home. Click here for an NCMA insurance option (opens in new window).

What About Tax And National Insurance Contributions?

You have to keep accurate records of your income and expenses when starting home childcare. Tell your local tax office that you are now a home-based registered childminder.

NCMA members handbook outlines how you may claim expenses.

Visit HM Revenue and Customs website for more information (opens in new window).

How Do I Claim Milk Refunds?

You are allowed to claim for the cost of milk... third of a pint of milk... for children under five years old. In order to claim, you should keep receipts as proof of purchase and provide accurate records of children you are claiming against.

Click here for guidance notes on how to claim milk refunds (opens in new window).

Is Record Keeping Important?

It’s vitally important to know as much as possible about children in your care and to keep accurate records about them.

All information you collect about the children during your first meeting with parents will need to be kept in a confidential file that cannot be accessed by others.

The records should include...

  • Child’s full name
  • Date of birth
  • Full address
  • Telephone number
  • Names of parents and where they can be contacted
  • Emergency contact’s name and where he/she can be contacted
  • Information about the child’s health
  • Information about child’s allergies
  • Information about child’s immunisations
  • GP’s name, address and telephone number
  • Name and address about anyone allowed to collect the child and information about anyone who may not
  • Written permission from parents to seek medical advice in an emergency.

Useful Links For Starting Home Childcare Business

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