Economy & Jobs

Looking for Affordable Child Care? Consider Starting Your Own Business

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It is a timeless problem: Stay at home and raise your child, or earn an income. The benefits and struggles for each choice are evident. With the search for affordable child care becoming increasingly difficult, it is no wonder why some families are turning to the child care industry as a potential lucrative career.

Across the country, countless families spend more on child care than they do on housing, college tuition, food, or transportation. Instead of shelling out a huge chunk of change, why not make money from child care instead?

Average Costs of Child Care

Statistics from Child Care Aware of America reveal differing child care costs depending on where you live. For example, the average annual cost of full-time child care for an infant in Mississippi was $4,863 in 2012, while in Massachusetts, that average was $16,430. Overall, states with the highest child care costs are in the northeast, while those with the lowest costs are in the south, although there are exceptions. However, family-run child care homes are more affordable than center-based programs.

Child Care Aware rates the least affordable child care states as those with the highest percentage of income spent on child care, not necessarily the most expensive child care overall. Among the least affordable child care states by that definition are Oregon (the least affordable of all for center-based infant care), New York, California, and Hawaii, all states that also have the highest state income tax.

Percentage of Family Income

A good rule of thumb for affordable child care expenses is to spend no more than 10 percent of your family income on it, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But many families find that they need to spend from 7 percent to 19 percent of their family’s income, depending on the state in which they live. If you’re spending too much, you may be living in the wrong state.

Starting Your Own Child Care Business

Instead of forking over a large percentage of your family’s income to a child care provider, you can keep that income and be your own boss by starting a child care business. And you can be in business right away; few up-front costs are required to start, and demand for quality child care is huge, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. You can also build up your child care business over time. And the biggest benefit of all is that you get to spend time with your child, with the peace of mind that comes from knowing they are receiving quality care.

Growing Your Business

Be sure to find out what your state and licensing regulations are for starting a business. After that, concentrate on making your business venture successful. Consider other areas besides the child care work involved, such as managing employees, marketing your business, and making sure your customers stay happy. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a guide that covers all the steps you need to take to start a child care business, including planning your business, protecting yourself with the best insurance, marketing your services, and adhering to tax laws.

The satisfaction you’ll receive from watching your own child grow and from shaping the growth of the children in your care can be the makings of a rewarding and lucrative career.