Child care start-up checklist
Are you interested in starting a business to care for and supervise children? Whether you plan to operate a home-based or centre-based business, our Child care start-up checklist is designed to help you find information related to this highly-regulated industry. For general information on business start-up, consult our Business start-up checklist.
- Business start-up checklist
When you're setting up your business, you need to ensure that all of your bases are covered. Consider the following steps as you navigate through the business start-up phase.
Learning about child care needs in your area
Before you start your business, you may want to conduct a needs assessment for child care in your area. Be aware of your competition, and find out if there are other child care centres nearby. Take a look at demographics and family trends. Is the need for child care in your area likely to change in the next 5 to 10 years?
Would you prefer to take care of infants, school-age children or children with special needs? How many children are you prepared to look after? How many hours would you be willing to work each day? Could you be flexible if you had to occasionally change or extend those hours? The answers to these questions will determine how much space you need, and how many employees you might need to hire to help you run your operation.
Use these resources to help develop your knowledge and expertise.
- Children and youth
Browse statistical resources related to infants, children, teens, adolescents, students and young adults.
Get data that sheds light on population characteristics such as location, age, income, education level, and more.
- Canadian Industry Statistics — Child Day-Care Services (NAICS 62441)
Access industry data and analysis on a number of economic indicators, industry trends and financial information.
Setting up your business
Before starting, you will need to decide where to locate your business. Will you run a home-based business or a child care centre in a different location? If it's the latter, you can either establish the centre yourself, or you may want to consider buying an existing business.
- Choosing and setting up a location
Trying to decide where to locate your business and how to arrange it once you get there? Consider your options.
Learn more about buying a franchise as an option for starting a business.
- Buying a business
Find out what you need to know before buying a business: where to look, how to evaluate potential acquisitions, and what a fair price would be.
You may want to develop a centre or program philosophy, and an operations plan for activities, meals, outings, etc. For example, you may decide to take a well-rounded approach to child care that combines play, learning, and social development. This is the kind of information potential customers will want to know before deciding to leave their children in your care.
The way you operate will affect everything from the physical layout of your space to your hiring process. It will also play a part in determining what kinds of licences and permits you will need to run your centre.
Complying with child care regulations
Once you know where you want to locate, and how you want to approach your business, you need to then look at the regulations that will affect your operations.
The requirements for operating a child care centre differ across Canada. You may need to obtain a licence or permit from your province or territory, or perhaps even from your municipal government. Certain regulations will determine how many children are allowed in your care. Other regulations apply to transporting children, and health and safety inspections. You and your employees may also be required to receive certain immunizations or first aid training.
- Permits and licences
Find the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal permits and licences that you may need to start or manage your business.
- Human resources regulations
It is important to understand your responsibilities as an employer with regards to hiring, labour standards, wages, employment equity, and more.
- Regulations for child care, schools and educational institutions
Find out how educational services are regulated in Canada, from day care centres to universities and career training.
Managing your finances
The location of your business and the services you provide will play a big part in determining how much you charge, and what you will need to purchase when setting up. You may want to identify comparable competitors in your area, and find out what kinds of fees they charge.
Know the factors that will help you determine the payment you will receive in exchange for your goods or services.
If you run a home-based child care centre, you may be able to deduct certain expenses from the income you report on your tax return.
- Daycare in your home — deducting business expenses
Find information on how to deduct business expenses for your day care business.
Hiring and training your employees
Proper employee screening is important, particularly in the child care industry. You'll want to protect your business from potential risks, and ensure that you have the best qualified people working for you.
You may want to consider offering training, or hiring employees who are trained in first aid, health and nutrition, or child development, for example. Depending on the type of child care services you offer, and the legislation in your area, you and your employees may need to be certified as early childhood educators.
- Job Bank — Employer resources
Resources to find, hire , manage and train employees as well as handle their departure. Access regulatory, wage and labour market information.
- Canadian Red Cross (first aid and CPR)
Acquire training on illnesses, injuries, first aid and CPR.
- Saint John Ambulance courses and training
Access information on first aid and life-saving skills for your business.
- Infant Care
Learn how to keep infants in your care safe. Find information on strollers, baby bottles, pacifiers, and infant nutrition.
Find resources for health and safety, food, and consumer products.
Protecting your business
Security and safety are important when you operate a child care business. In addition to following the regulations set by your province or territory, there are additional measures you can take to avoid or minimize potential risks.
- Criminal record checks and security screening
Find out how to obtain a criminal record check to protect your business and others, and to increase client confidence.
- Protecting your business
Your company is your greatest investment. Discover safeguard options that will help keep your business secure.
Whether you are just starting out or are an experienced entrepreneur who's been in business for years, you can never be too informed when it comes to your business.
- Contact the Canada Business Network
The Canada Business Network has centres across the country that offer guidance, information and resources to help make your journey in business a success.
- Starting a business
Want to be your own boss? Find out how to start a business.
- Business support organizations
Seeking the advice of peers, professional business counsellors and coaches can help you transition from new business owner to experienced entrepreneur.
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