Starting a babysitting service may be a wise and lucrative business if you live in a populated area where such services are in high demand. Many parents use babysitting services in lieu of traditional day care or when they go to an event where the presence of children is not desirable. If you plan on making your babysitting service a main or significant source of income, you will need to perform several preliminary planning tasks.
Decide upon a general form or structure for your babysitting service. For example, will you operate the service independently or will you operate the business end and hire others to perform the actual babysitting services? Decide how much you will charge per hour and whether your rate will vary depending upon the number of kids, time of day, weekends or holidays. The average hourly rate for babysitters typically ranges from $8 to $18 dollars per hour. Ask other babysitters and parents in your community what they charge or pay for such services and use that information to competitively price your services. Additionally, you should decide whether you plan to perform services in your home or if you are willing to travel to your client's home.
Check with your city and state licensing bureaus to find out if your babysitting business will require any specific licenses, inspections, certifications, or permits. If you will be providing childcare services in your own home, you may technically qualify as a day care. If this is the case, your state or city will likely have regulations regarding the number of children that you may care for at a given time and the condition of your home (i.e. clean and childproof).
Acquire first aid and CPR certifications. These certifications are not always necessary; however, some states may require you to have them if you qualify as a day care facility. Additionally, such certifications appeal to potential clients and will come in handy if a child is injured while under your care.
Purchase small business liability insurance. This will protect you from personal liability in the event that a child is injured while under your care or in your home. Insurance also protects you if you accidentally cause property damage in your client's home. If you will be using independent babysitters, make sure that your insurance policy covers them as well. Buy this type of insurance from most major or national insurance providers. You may be able to get a discount if you buy from the same company that provides your car, homeowner's, or renter's insurance.
Market and advertise your services and credentials. Have business cards printed and pass them out to friends, relatives and neighbours. Even if they don't personally need your services, they may be willing to refer you to others. Create flyers or brochures that list your services, prices, and credentials. Distribute them in mailboxes and community notice boards throughout your community. Setting up a website, spreading the word about your services through social media, and placing ads in your local paper are also popular ways to advertise your services.