Setting up a childcare business

Setting up a childcare business or day care for children is the same as setting up any business. You will need to work out how viable it is. 

You will need to see whether you have access to suitable premises and suitable people with childcare qualifications. You may also wish to carry out market research to check if the service you are planning is the service required by the public.

To identify day care already established in areas across Bedford Borough you can contact the Family Information Service on 0800 023 2057.

Day care types

Day care is care provided at any time for children under the age of eight on non-domestic premises, where the period (or total periods) in any day during which the children are looked after on the premises exceeds two hours.  There are many different types of day care:

Full day care is for children under eight for a continuous period of four hours or more a day.  Babies and pre-school children can be cared for.

Sessional care for children under eight for sessions that are less than a continuous period of four hours in any day. Examples are playgroups than open mornings only or those that run both mornings and afternoons but with a break between the sessions when children do not attend. Used by children from 2½-5 years.

Out of school care is for children under eight which operates for more than two hours per day and more than 14 days a year. Examples include: summer camps, holiday play schemes, breakfast clubs and after school clubs.

Crèches provide occasional care for children under eight for more than 14 days a year. They need to be registered where they run for a total of more than two hours a day, even when individual children attend for shorter periods. Examples include crèches at supermarkets, colleges and leisure clubs.

Next steps

Contact the Childcare Development team based at Bedford Borough Council on 0800 023 2057. They will be able to assist in all aspects of setting up a new day care business. 

Visit Ofsted for the regulation of childminding and daycare in England.

Wenta can help you start and grow your small business, with a range of online and offline support and services. There's a range of business workshops in the Bedfordshire area that cover:

  • how to write a business plan
  • small business legal requirements
  • how to source finance
  • taxation and VAT
  • managing cash flow
  • marketing the business