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How Much Does it Cost to Open a Home Daycare? [Free Budget Worksheet]

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Kelsey Montgomery

Kelsey Montgomery

Licensing & Child Care Policy

One of the most common questions we get asked is, “how much does it cost to open a home daycare?” It’s a good but complicated question because there are so many different home daycare startup costs to consider.

Most don’t realize all that goes into setting up a home daycare. Sure, you’ll need toys, books, and a high-chair or two, but remember—you’re launching a licensed business. That means you’ll need to factor in costs like licensing and certification fees. Plus, you’ll need to make sure your home is up to par for any safety and health requirements.

How much will this all cost? We’ve found that the average home daycare startup cost is about $3,000.

But keep in mind that number doesn’t work for everyone. For example, you might end up spending less than $3,000. Or you might spend even more—especially if you have to factor in home repairs or renovations. That’s why it’s best to build out a budget to determine how much you will spend.


Figure Out Your Home Daycare Startup Costs

How much will it cost for you to open a home daycare? Find out using the Home Daycare Startup Budget worksheet.




Home Daycare Startup Costs You Can Expect

Learning how to start a home daycare is an investment, but it’s also a gratifying opportunity. And by creating a budget and knowing exactly what you need, you’ll be set up for success.

In this post, we’re breaking down all you need into these five categories, plus their estimated costs: 

  1. Licensing & Certification
  2. Supplies, Furniture & Toys
  3. Marketing
  4. Home Repairs & Renovations
  5. Hiring 

Here’s what you can expect to spend to open a home daycare:


1. Licensing & Certification

Total estimated cost: $300

First, you’ll need to get a child care license before opening your daycare. And like your driver’s license, child care licenses aren’t free. In Massachusetts, the Department of Early Childhood Education and Care charges a $100 application fee.

You’ll also need to get a background check and certified in Pediatric CPR. These costs will run you about $100 each.



2. Supplies, Furniture & Toys

Total estimated cost: $2600

This category is where you can expect to spend the bulk of your budget. You need to furnish part of your home for kids, make it safe, and get enough toys and books to help them thrive. 

Here’s a basic list of all the supplies, furniture & toys you can expect to buy. To get the full, detailed list, check out our breakdown at How to Start a Daycare in Your Home: The 5-Part Guide


Children’s furniture: $650 

Includes: Kids’ tables, chairs, high-chairs, cubbies, and changing table


Toys: $400

Includes: Gross motor skills, fine motor skills, sensory, arts & crafts, and dress-up play


Safety supplies: $250

Includes: First Aid kid, smoke /co2 detectors, exit signs, and gates


Household supplies – $400

Includes: Trash bags, paper towels, cleaning supplies, PPE, and face masks


Office supplies – $10

Includes: Printer, paper, pens, clipboards, and a bulletin board


Fencing – $300

Includes: Mesh fencing $50/roll and up


Mealtime supplies – $100

Includes: Plates, cups, silverware, bottles, and sippy cups


Naptime supplies – $400

Includes: Bedding, nap mats, and cribs/Pack’ n Plays


3. Marketing

Total estimated cost: $100

Once your business is ready to start enrolling children, you’ll need to get the word out!

We lay out some free ways to do this in our 5-Part Guide to Starting a Home Daycare.  One of the best ways to do this is to create a Facebook page (free) or website (you can build free, basic websites on sites like Wix or Weebly).

After that’s set up, you can pay to advertise it on Facebook. On Facebook, you can target by location to get parents around you. To get a good reach, you should plan to spend at least $100 on online advertising.



4. Home Repairs & Renovations

Total estimated cost: $100-$5000+

Whether you rent or own, if you’re setting up your home for a daycare, it might need some necessary repairs—like a fresh coat of paint, a new railing for your stairs, or a new floor. These small repairs usually aren’t too costly.

In rarer cases, some do a complete renovation of their homes before opening their daycare. We don’t recommend this if it isn’t necessary, especially when you’re just getting started. It can be expensive. We’ve seen Providers anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 to renovate their homes. Some choose to invest in this to improve their daycare space and the overall quality of their home.


5. Hiring

Total estimated cost: $75-$100

Most Providers don’t need an assistant when they’re just getting started. But if you already have someone in mind—like a sibling, parent, or spouse—they’ll need to get a license too. In Massachusetts, it costs $75 for Certified Family Child Care Assistant License.

If you need to look elsewhere for an assistant, you could try free methods. You can post on a local Child Care Providers Facebook Group or using a free Indeed posting. But if you want to get the most qualified applicants, it might be worth paying to boost or sponsor your job listing. You can do this on a reputable job board like Indeed or Zip Recruiter. Expect to spend at least $75 to get your job listing out there.

Keep in mind that these costs do not include your assistant’s regular salary. Typically, you can expect to pay an assistant around $14 per hour.

Cost to Open a Home Daycare?
There's no one-size-fits-all startup budget for every home daycare. That's why it's important to map out a budget that works for you.

Determining the Cost of Opening a Home Daycare

Before deciding to open a home daycare, make an assessment of how much money you currently have, how much you can make, and how much you’re willing to spend. Make a reasonable budget, and get started on purchasing what you need. Keep in mind that you might end up paying more or less than you had planned. 

Good news: there’s a perk to these purchases. They all count as a business expense that you can have deducted from your taxes.

We cover how to manage business expenses and more in our 5-Part Guide to Opening a Home Daycare. The guide covers everything on how to get licensed, set up your home, register your business, find families, and run your home daycare smoothly.


Calculate Your Home Daycare Startup Costs

How much will it cost for you to open a home daycare? Find out using the Home Daycare Startup Budget Worksheet.



About NeighborSchools

NeighborSchools helps caregivers open and run high-quality licensed Family Child Care. Since 2010, one out of every five Family Child Care Programs in the US have closed permanently, leaving families with fewer options for child care when they need it most. Child care centers charge parents too much, and pay educators not enough. Family Child Care is the solution.

We started NeighborSchools in 2018 to turn the tides and help the best educators and caregivers successfully launch their very own programs.

We are a mission-driven company, based in Boston. Want to learn more? Send us an email.


Kelsey Montgomery

Kelsey Montgomery

Licensing & Child Care Policy

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