Monday, April 30, 2007

Day Care Service
  • Start-up cost: RM3,000
  • Potential earnings: RM25,000-RM40,000
  • Typical fees: RM40 per child per week or RM50 per adult per week
  • Advertising: Referral service, bulletin boards, classified ads
  • Qualifications: Some states require a license and insurance
  • Equipment needed: For children: cribs, toys, movies, and games; for adults: furniture, medical supplies
  • Staff required: No (but many states impose a limit on the adult-to-child ratio;
  • Handicapped opportunity: No
  • Hidden costs: Insurance
  • Lowdown: The day care business has been growing in direct relation to the rising number of women choosing careers in addition to families—and never has it been more flexible. There is a need to care for both seniors and children—and a few innovative entrepreneurs have integrated both at their care centers, so that the two groups can enjoy and learn to appreciate one another. You can easily start a day care center in your home if you meet the necessary zoning requirements of your community. It works best if you have a large yard and extra room (perhaps a finished basement) so that there is plenty of room to play. You’ll need to be clear in your rates/policies (especially about regular hours, vacations, and payment due dates), and be careful not to let the parents treat you like a baby-sitter who is at their beck and call. Be assertive about protecting your personal time with your own family.
  • Start-Up: Your main start-up cost will be getting the word out about your service. Classified advertising, bulletin boards, and mothers’ groups are a good way to build word of mouth. Your larger expenses will likely come from updating your home to meet zoning regulations; your home may have to pass inspection before licensing. If you decide not to license or not to carry insurance, be sure to let the parents/families know, because you will be held liable in the event of a disaster if you don’t. Along those lines, be sure to familiarize yourself with safety procedures in case of an emergency.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: If you love to be around little people or seniors, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to do so daily. Also, if you have children of your own, you can be paid for watching them play with others—not a bad position to be in. On the downside, although you are responsible for the children you watch, you are not their parent—a fact the parents themselves may constantly remind you of. Be sure to meet with the parents of children or the families of seniors on a regular basis to keep communications straight.

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