Creating a part-time income stream

How to Start a Babysitting Service

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Starting a Babysitting Service

How do I start a babysitting service? I'm a stay-at-home mom and could use a little extra income. I don't want something every day, so a daycare is out of the question. I'd like two or three babysitting clients each week. I could either do it in my home or go to them if my DH is home. Has anyone started a babysitting service? How did you do it?

Be a Back-Up Provider

Maybe you could offer to be a back-up to other home day care providers in your area. If they are vacationing, need to take a day off for doctor appointments or emergencies, etc., you could fill in for them. You could even provide the services at their location if they trust you to be in their home while they are away. That would be less disruptive for the kids. I would suggest starting with a nice flier with references and distributing them to as many people as you can.

Know State's Regulations before Starting a Babysitting Service

First and foremost, check your state's regulations on watching children in your home. In CO, if you watch one family's children without a daycare license, you are okay. If you watch more than one family's children in your home, then you must have a daycare license. I had a daycare in my home for ten years.

Use Social Media to Spread the Word

In many states, even a part-time babysitting service in one's home is classified as a home day care center, which requires a license. Start by checking the laws in your state. It is far wiser to follow the state law.

You will also need to buy liability insurance that covers your business. The licensing division in your state should be able to guide you on how much insurance you need per child.

You should not need a license to babysit in the homes of other people, but I would suggest having adequate liability insurance on your homeowners or renters insurance policy.

Whether you take in children or babysit in other people's homes, tell all your friends that you are available and ask them to tell their friends, too. You could post this periodically on your social media page or even put a tagline on your email. You may be able to post flyers with tear-off phone numbers at local grocery stores, the library, and other community centers.

Find Free Advertising

I put an ad in the local free advertiser. I recall it went something like "Child care in my home with TLC and no junk food!" I got one call and babysat two days a week for two years. It was good.

Do Your Homework First

Starting a babysitting service may be your answer, but you must do your own homework before you begin. Decide whether you will offer services both daily and nightly. Many workers have a problem getting replacement overnight daycare. Think of medical professionals who have shifts overnight.

Once your decision is made, you must check into the laws in your community or state regarding daycare. Not being licensed can limit your client base. However, if you decide on non-licensed, please be aware of the regulations and follow them. The laws may seem to be strict but are put in place with child safety in mind. Your home needs to be child proofed and furnished to accommodate your business.

Advertising is your next step. Weekly papers, grocery store bulletin boards, community centers, and busy workplaces are good places to start. Be prepared with references, full descriptions of your services and list of fees. Expect visits from prospective clients. Before deciding on fees, investigate daycares and similar services. Your fees must be competitive.

Consider Providing After-School Care

Check with the elementary school secretaries (or your friends who have children in the school) to see if there is anyone wanting after-school care. In my area, this pays really well and it's usually only a two- to three-hour commitment each day. I charge a little less than most because I am not licensed.

Join a "Besties" Group

If you're on FB, find a "Besties" group for your area. Once you're in the group, you can let people know the service you offer. Be aware of what the rules and guidelines are for your group. (A "Besties" group is a group of moms in your area that swap or sell items and ask questions about local services.)
Fran (via Facebook)

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