Necessary Licensing To Open a Daycare Business

Before you move ahead in your quest to open your own daycare business, you should find out about the licensing requirements in your state, and in your city or county. There are many regulatory agencies who will have more to say and do with your future business than you would possibly wish, therefore you must be up to speed on the requirements to avoid future problems or issues. While the majority of the licensing requirements may come from your state, your city or county may also have additional requirements such as health regulations, safety codes, fire inspections and zoning laws.

State Requirements

While state licensing requirements will vary from state to state, most will include the following:

1. Physical Space-This requirement details the number of square feet needed per child, both indoors and outdoors, and varies depending on the children's ages. The physical space requirements will also address lighting, heating, air-conditioning, ventilation and plumbing requirements. 

If you are planning to use your own home, it may be more difficult to meet the physical space requirements than if you are renting a commercial building.

2. Health Requirements-You will need to find out about possible annual medical examinations and shots required for both staff and children, and although immunization records are not required in all states, it would be a very good thing to keep on file as a potential safeguard.

3. Staff-child ratios-Most all states have requirements regarding the minimum number of adults required for a given number of children, depending on their ages. Generally speaking, babies and younger toddlers have a lower ratio as they typically require much more care in terms of changing diapers and feeding every two to three hours. Some states will also regulate the maximum size of groups of children, and specify the minimum qualifications for your staff.

4. Food preparation and nutrition-there will likely be very strict regulations regarding the food you feed the children in your daycare. Don't let yourself be overwhelmed-although it can look as if the rules are endless, once you read through them you will see that the majority of the rules are common-sense, and are things you already practice as far as safe food handling.

5. There will also likely be licensing requirements regarding emergency procedures, educational program requirements, record keeping, discipline, building safety, sanitation, and fire regulations. You will probably have to detail your building's type of construction, the number of exits, fire doors, fire extinguishers and fire alarms, as well as proving your building has plumbing that is up to code and adequate ventilation in all rooms in the building.

Zoning Regulations

If you are planning to operate your daycare out of your home, check with your local government and your property owner's or homeowner's association to find out if the type of child care services you are planning is permitted, or if there are any restrictions in place. If you are renting, leasing or buying a commercial building, you will still need to check on possible zoning restrictions.

While not all states require strict licensing of daycare centers, most do. Some states will actually come out and inspect your future daycare site, while others are more interested in your check-once you mail it in, you are licensed! Every state has a website for daycare licensing-just type in "daycare licensing in (your state)" and the licensing requirements for your state, as well as links to other helpful sites, will be there for you to take a look at. Once you have your financing in place, and have met all the licensing requirements, you are well on your way to realizing your dream of a daycare business.