How to start a childminding business

What does being a childminder entail?

Childminding entails caring for a child or number of children for 2 or more hours a day. It can easily be a one-man operation, taking care of a smaller number of children before and after school or during the holidays often in your own home.

Whereas setting up a nursery means hiring a staff of trained professionals and offering full-time care, childminding is a much more flexible and simple process. Here we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started.

 

Who is suited to becoming a childminder?

Becoming a childminder can be a really good option for people who aren’t interested in more heavily regulated alternatives, like setting up a nursery. You can set up a childminding business in your own home and charge by the hour, giving both you and your customers flexibility. Because of this, childminding is ideal for anyone wanting to substitute their income, or who is in need of flexible hours.

As with any childcare business, liking children is pretty essential, you’ll only have a successful childminding business if enjoy the company of children and want a chance to support their learning, growth and development.

Because childminding is often a solo venture, you’ll benefit from having very low start-up costs compared to similar alternatives. Becoming a childminder usually costs less than £10,000, with the most expensive part being the initial certification and registration process.

You’ll need to be aged over 18 to become a childminder, being a patient and effective communicator will also be essential. A background in childcare is ideal but not essential, and you’ll need a premises or a home to host children, ideally in a good locale.

Its also important to note that childminding and babysitting are very different things. To be a successful childminder you’ll need to be organised and motivated, undergoing a rigorous registration process and keeping ongoing assessment records for children under five, detailing their development.

 

Legal requirements

Training

*Before you can apply for Ofsted* you need to get a paediatric first aid certificate. These are widespread in the UK, you can either seek the advice of your local authority on which course to take or go for one of the most popular options – probably St John Ambulance or British Red Cross.

You will also need to complete a local authority-approved childminder training course, also known as CYPOP5. Your local authority will normally be able to offer advice on suitable courses.

Ofsted registers

To be a childminder you must be registered on either The Early Years Register or The Childcare Register, or both.

The Early Years Register is compulsory if you will be caring for children before reception-school age. The Childcare Register is compulsory if you are caring for children aged five to seven years. (This is true of England, if you live elsewhere in the UK ensure you look up local advice).

Applying for Ofsted can be one of the most challenging and long winded task when becoming a childminder, you should expect it to take a few months. You’ll need to pay an application fee, apply for a DBS check (a criminal record check) for everyone over 16 living with you and get a medical check from a doctor to show you are fit to work as a childminder.

After the checks have been completed Ofsted will call you and arrange a home inspection, in which an officer will come and check your home is suitable for childcare and ask you questions about your plan for the learning and development for those in your care. Ofsted has a helpful and in-depth guidance document to help you prepare for the visit.

Insurance

You will need to purchase childminder insurance. The UK’s leading childcare insurance provider is Morton Michel, who have a number of options depending on your needs. A number of other options are also available.

Number of children in your care 

The legal limit for the number of children a registered childminder can look after is six children under the age of eight. Although normally a childminder will only care for a few children. Bear in mind that these numbers include your own children or any children you already care for.

Marketing yourself

In a business like childminding, word of mouth is your most powerful marketing tool. Once a few parents are using your service (and are impressed by you) word will spread very quickly.

Until then, create a strong web presence is a great way to let people find you, create a website or a Facebook page with all the information your customers might be interested in from pricing to your qualifications.

Because childminding is very linked to your location, putting up flyer in a local café or school (if the school gives you permission), will be a great way to market yourself.

What does a childminder do?

After writing your business plan, you’ll be ready to start hosting children. You’re job will be to entertain the children in your care, with toys, activities and trips as well as taking them to and from school. it will be essential that you have a good relationship with each child, as you will be their carer, children need to feel as though they can come to you with problems and worries, in lieu of a parent.

In line with Ofsted requirements, you will need to develop a plan for each child, helping them to attain the statutory requirements for EYFS – which you can find here: statutory requirements of the EYFS. The curriculum sets out to equip the children with basic skills, such as the ability to count to 20, basic reading, and social and emotional development.

As a childminder it will be your job to assess each child’s development and keep records of their progress.

How much does a childminder earn?

The government’s Childcare and Early Years Provider 2016 survey found that, on average, childminders make £16,800 a year. Although 51% of the childminders it surveyed received less than £15,000 in income over the year. Like many childcare businesses, childminding is not a profession to peruse if you’re looking to have a large income, but if your looking for a job with flexible hours and the chance to have an impact on children, childminding is a great option.