Small Business
The Ps & Qs of child care
February 28, 2000: 1:38 p.m. ET

Opening a child care business is a serious venture, and not child's play
By Jane Applegate
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Dear Jane: I'm interested in opening up a child care business in the suburbs. What do I need to know to get started?
    Regulations governing day care centers vary from state to state and city to city, so the first step is to determine exactly what kind of licenses and qualifications are required. I'd start by looking for a child care providers association in the Yellow Pages or call one of the larger centers and ask the director to point you in the right direction.
    Before you open your doors, you'll have to deal with several important issues, including zoning requirements, educational requirements for your employees, rules about food preparation and other local regulations. You will also have to conduct detailed background checks on prospective employees and obtain adequate insurance coverage.
    Although it seems like a simple business, operating a successful day care center takes a significant amount of startup capital and management experience.
    You may want to start out by caring for a few children in your home to see if you really like running a day care center. If the local zoning rules permit you to care for children, obtaining a license from the county or state is not too difficult.
    You might also want to work at a day care center to learn everything you can about the business before you invest in opening one yourself.
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