For many of us the opportunity to build a career from our own home sounds too good to be true; but for those interested in starting up their own childminding business, this could become a reality. A career in childcare is extremely challenging and those considering entering into this sector should ensure they have done their research first! However, that being said, it can also be one of the most rewarding careers out there and can offer some really promising career progression.
If you have found yourself here with a view to taking your first steps to owning your own childminding business, then you have come to the right place. We have put together an all you need to know guide into the ins and outs of starting up a childminding business, and exactly what you will need to prepare for your career in childcare.
What Can You Expect?
If you have never looked after children, or worked in a similar sector before then you may not quite know what to expect, which could result in a lot of time and money wasted if you decide later on that this isn’t the career for you after all. In order to be as well equipped as possible it is first important to ensure you know what you’re entering into!
It’s Not Going To Be Easy:
Working with children is going to be extremely tough at times! There is no point in sugar coating this aspect, you may be in charge of anywhere up to 6 children under the age of 8, so it is bound to come with its challenges. Understanding the hurdles you may come up against from the get go will ensure you are confident that this is the job you want to do.
It Will Take Commitment:
The next thing to consider is that there is quite a lot of preparation involved in owning your own childminding business. You will need to meet a certain set of criteria in order to run this kind of business, and the process will cost you both time and money. Ensuring you are 100% positive about a career in childminding before you take the plunge will make all the difference when it comes to the preparation process!
Are You Equipped For The Job?
Whilst it is not a written rule that childminders must work from their own home, it is often the case that they do. If you are looking to run your childminding business from home, you will need to make sure your environment is well equipped for such a job. Consider what your space will be like if you’re at full capacity; is there enough room, and is it appropriate for children?
Complete Job Satisfaction
Despite the tricky aspects of becoming a childminder, the benefits completely outweigh any negatives. By starting your own childminding business you are offering a nurturing and educational environment for young children. This is not only extremely beneficial for the children, but it also has a positive impact on their parents and you as well!
You can expect that along with the tough days, you will have numerous great days where children progress under your guidance, learn and develop, and you form strong bonds with parents and improve on your own skills at the same time!
Knowing that you are providing a vital service to people in your community and being part of the journey for young children often totally outweighs any struggles that you may face along the way. Like with any job, if you have the passion and drive, you will never want to do another job again!
What You Need To Know
Before we go into what you will need to do in order to get the ball rolling, its first important to ensure you know the legalities around childminding at home. Much like in a nursery setting there must be a specific ratio of adult childminders to children, which must be followed by law.
If you are looking to begin a childminding business at home please note that you can only ever have up to 6 children under the age of 8 at any one time. Of these 6 children, only 3 can be under the age of 5. If you are running the business alone, you can only have 1 child under the age of 1 year old.
Be aware that if you have your own children under the age of 8 years old, then they are also included in this ratio. If you are taking care over 8 year olds, they are able to be cared for at the same time in most circumstances.
It is always wise to check your specific situation out on the government website if you feel you may not fall under the usual specifications.
There are a whole host of important skills involved when it comes to becoming a successful childminder, along with a genuine passion to work with children of course! Other important skills include:
- Excellent communication skills
- Ability to communicate well with young children
- Basic maths skills
Where Do You Start?
If you are still with us then you have made the decision that a business in childminding is definitely for you; that’s great! So, where do you start? Working with children means that there are a few hoops to jump through before you can start practicing as a childminder, this is where things can get confusing.
Perhaps the most important step to getting your childminding status is going through Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills), whilst this is a vital step it can be the most time consuming so its good to make yourself familiar with the criteria straight away.
Anyone looking to childmind for children under the age of 8 years for more than 2 hours at a time must by law register with Ofsted. In order to do this you must first have completed a specific checklist including the following:
- You must have completed introductory EYFS training (Such as the childcare qualification such as the Level 3 Award Preparing to Work in Home-based Childcareor equivalent)
- You must go through a DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service) to ensure you are suitable to work with children. This applies to any adult over the age of 16 that lives in your home (if you are running the childminding business from home)
- You must have up to date basic first aid training
- You must have a child-safe environment to work in
- Safeguarding Children Training
- You may also be required to have basic food hygiene training.
- You must apply to a relevant register
- Have appropriate insurance
Once you register with Ofsted they will do an inspection at your home, or wherever you choose to run your business from. This may sound scary but its just their way of ensuring you and the children under your care are under the best conditions possible. You will receive a score and some feedback and advice on where you can improve for the next time.
Obtaining a DBS check is fairly straight-forward and can be done reasonably quickly although you may have to wait a few weeks for them to process the paperwork and return your completed forms. This can be done through the Government website and will cost £25 to complete.
Remember, a DBS check must be completed on every over 16 years old living in the premises where you will be childminding.
Applying To A Register
Applying to a register is pretty straight forward, but its something that many people don’t know about when entering into this field of work. In order to legally take care of children under the age of 8 for more than 2 hours for money, you must apply to a register. Depending on the specific age groups you will be looking after will determine which register you apply for:
- The Early Years Register applies to you if you only look after children aged 5 and under.
- The Childcare Register applies to you if you only look after children aged 5-7
- Both these registers apply to you if you look after children of any age under 8 years old.
This is a simple step but can be detrimental if you miss it, so ensure this is at the top of your to do list to avoid fines or even prison sentences.
Up To Date Paediatric First Aid Certificate
This is necessary in order to be Ofsted registered and will usually set you back around £100. A quick google search in your local area should bring up places where you can undertake this training.
You may also need other training such as fire safety training and food hygiene training.
Like with any business, you need insurance. You will need public liability insurance; you will need further insurance if you hire another childminder or an assistant, which will include employer’s liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance.
Finally you will be required to have the relevant qualifications in order to efficiently deliver early years foundation studies and ensure all the children under your care are properly educated whilst with you.
We offer a variety of childcare courses, in particular the CACHE Level 3 Award in Preparing to Work in Home-based Childcare. This course is done online and is completely flexible meaning you can make your way through the assignments at a pace that suits you and your commitments. Over 12 months you will have 24/7 access to all course content and have a personal tutor there to offer you specialist guidance where needed.
Our Level 3 award had modules spanning across every area you will need to ensure you are confident and prepared to start your childminding business. From current legislation through to creating the ideal learning environment, we have got it all covered!
Setting Up Your Business
Once you’ve got all the necessary qualifications and certificates ready, the only thing left to do is to set yourself up as a business! Whilst it is totally personal choice most self-employed childminders opt to be sole traders, meaning it is you working for yourself. If you are part of a limited company it means a board of directors is managing you, which is often not the case in this particular industry.
To register you must make HMRC aware of your business details so that you can be responsible for the finances involves such as tax.
Getting Yourself Out There
That’s it! You have your qualifications, the perfect learning environment and all the skills required to run a successful and safe childminding business, all that’s left to do is advertise yourself!
You can choose to advertise yourself however you like, whether that is through a business website, or social media page, the local newspaper or a job website. You can also find childminding specific job sites for some areas, which may be of help.
With businesses like these often word of mouth will be your biggest advertiser, so ensuring you offer a great service will keep people coming, and most importantly keep them telling their friends!
We hope this guide has helped provide you with enough information to get started, however if you need any further guidance on getting going with our Level 3 award, or any of our other courses – just send us a message and one of our team will get back to you right away!