If you are thinking of a little business that you can start-up, and you have the passion for children, then you should consider babysitting.
Babysitting is a business that is not only inexpensive to start up, because you get to watch the kids in their homes or in other locations approved of by the parents, but it is also flexible, not constrained to a particular season, is not affected by the downturn of the economy, and brings in the cash as well.
Babysitters depending on their schedules can make as much as they want, and still have the time to manage other of life’s demands without being overwhelmed.
However, it is not enough to have the passion and desire to babysit without having at least a relevant experience that can be documented, so that prospective clients can have a proof of your ability, by using your references as proof of experience.
What It Takes to Start a Babysitting Business Successfully?
Aside relevant experience, a serious babysitter that is looking to make this a profession would need to ensure that they receive certification that relates to basic child care and child safety.
You might also need to find a safety and first aid course that is offered by the American Red Cross or any local non-profit that is specifically for infant and child safety.
You might also need to seek for a certification in child and infant CPR. These different certifications will make you marketable, and will come in handy when you are faced with emergency situations that could be a matter of life and death for the children you babysit.
Luckily, baby sitting businesses are not constrained to seasons or even the economy; this means that you can make money whenever you want without being worried about cash gluts.
Setting the price for your babysitting business that your customers find reasonable and isn’t detrimental to your financial need is very important.
Your experience, level of service you intend to offer, the ages and the number of kids you are babysitting should act as a justification for whatever amount you choose to charge.
Even though the industry has standard rates for babysitters, it really won’t be out of place, if you charge a little more or less, depending on factors that might come into play while babysitting.
Asides just babysitting as the others into the business do, you could also add additional services that will keep your clients coming back to you or you can choose the specific ages of the bay, or children you want to babysit. You should totally pick what works for you, and what age range is easier for you to handle as compared to others.
Babysitting is a common enough money making idea and will always exist because kids will always be around and would need to be taken care of.
The problem most people usually encounter in this business is that they do not treat it as one, and so might not know that one can be successful from babysitting.
Steps to Starting a Babysitting Business in Your Home
1. Understand the Industry
The industry is characterized by a high number of small, mainly non-employing, diversified businesses; the overall concentration level for the business is low. The low level concentration which is traditional will continue for a period of five years, according to research and statistics.
It was also gathered that in 2015 – 2016, almost two-thirds of the industry’s enterprises are expected to be made up of non-employing or sole trading firms, with one-third having between 1 and 19 employees. Only 0.8% of industry firms are expected to have more than 20 employees, and no single company have over 200 employees.
Between 2011 and 2016, there has been a 7% annual growth, which has brought in revenue of $1 billion. The industry so far has employed 21,884 workers, and existing businesses amount to 8,246. In this industry, there are no companies with a dominant market share.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
Over the past few years, average babysitting rate has steadily increased, and by 2014, the national average rate was $13.44 per hour, which was up by 28% from 2009.
The 2015 babysitting survey found out that more than ever, the babysitters market was determined by the babysitters themselves, who controlled their hourly rates, and even made allowances for annual raises and even a tip.
According to the survey this means that, tipping occurred in every one in four babysitters with a 26% rate, while annual raises were gotten by 87% of babysitters. 68% of families relied on babysitters to determine the rates, 40% asked their friends, and 20% used a pay calculator.
Also, 51% of families preferred to pay older sitters more due to their experience. The five most expensive cities in the united states to hire a babysitter were San Francisco, San Jose, Boston, New York and Washington DC; while the five least expensive cities were Grand Rapids, Columbia, Rochester, Salt Lake City and Akron.
48% of mothers handled the hiring of a babysitter, while 1% of fathers handled the hiring of babysitters. Only 13% of parents are involved in the hiring.
Most families usually preferred those that were between the ages of 20 and 25, certified in CPR, First Aid or safety training, and a non-smoker. 62% of parents have hired a babysitter without conducting background checks or checking references, while 41% completely trust their babysitters.
According to a USDA report, the average family made about $50,000 and spends about $500 annually on baby sitters, which amounts to 1% of income spent on babysitters.
The average babysitter charges $10 per hour, which is more than the average wage of retail salespeople or healthcare aides, and invariably spends about 50 hours per year babysitting.
The average night out is 4 hours and usually happens once a month. The more a family makes, the more they spend on sitters, while the lowest income group spent an average of $350 per year, the highest income group spend about $740 per year.
Internet services have helped to create a greater transparency for this industry, as babysitters can see what others charge and raise or lower their rates accordingly. More and more people are becoming babysitters due to a weak job market where even college students and graduates are willing to become babysitters.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of babysitters or intending sitters is quite important as people need to know what they can afford and if the rate of a babysitter is reasonable compared to others.
Also babysitters can search for lifestyle preference of those they intend to offer services to, such as pet lovers or urban dwellers. This is because the people who mostly seek the services of a babysitter are families, or single parents.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
The niches within the babysitting industry, for babysitters are basically additional child care related services that would distinguish a babysitter from other competitors. The niches are not necessarily limited to child care services, if a babysitter really wants to set his business apart from others.
Also any niche idea should be one that the babysitter is absolutely comfortable with. Basically, the niche idea areas that can be done in the babysitting business include;
- Helping a child with homework
- playing games with the child
- engaging the kids in educational play
- Help the children with languages the babysitters are fluent in.
Also, a babysitter can also go on vacations with families. Most of these services can be offered by medium to large babysitting business owners who are usually more conscious of the positive effect their brands give to customers.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Starting a babysitting business isn’t difficult neither is the start-up cost one that is expensive because this is essentially a service oriented company. Babysitting isn’t a kind of business that is technically oriented, or that requires any technical equipment or for that matter any equipment at all.
If you are serious as a business person, you can start up the business and start making profit in less than a month. The level of competition in this industry isn’t as stiff as some other kinds of businesses. Not only parents get to decide on the kind of baby sitters their child should have, but most children get a say as well.
A babysitter’s appearance are of a huge concern to parents, and so medium to large scale companies fare better than small business, because a large scale babysitting business can easily replace a rejected sitter with one that fits the family’s preferences, unlike a small business owner that will lose a job, when the family rejects them.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
The babysitting business is like any business where top brands overtime become more preferred by customers, this is probably due to the fact that they have had a better success rate than others in the same industry.
Any serious babysitter should do well to understudy well known brands, as this could help in avoiding unnecessary pitfalls. In the United States, some of the best well known brands are:
- Absolute Best Care
- Artist Babysitting Agency LLC
- Babysitting Barter
- Sensible Sitters
- Basically Babysitting
- Christine’s Babysitting Services
- Empty Nest Babysitting Service
- First Choice Sitters
- Guardian Angels Sitting Service
- In Good Hands Babysitting
- Jack N’ Jill Babysitting Service
- KiddyKare Babysitting Service
- On Call Sitters
- Out of Hours Babysitting
- Overnight Babysitting
- Parents Night Out
Before venturing into this business, one would have to ensure that they carry out a thorough research that will help in deciding if the business is something they want to do professionally or not. The baby sitting business is a service oriented industry, and there are many important factors that you would have to consider when starting up the business, chief among which is location.
Most parents would prefer babysitters that are within or close to their location – that could turn up in a minute’s notice – and not one that lives so far away.
Due to the fact that more families now have two income earners – father and mother, leaving less time for the parents to be with their kids as they would want to, it also means that they have more disposable income that can be used to pay the babysitters that care for their children, while they are away at work, at an event or are taking a well deserved vacation from work.
This is why as an entrepreneur you must note that, while your location positions your business for growth, the caliber of clients or customers help sustain that growth. Locating your business in an area where you have your target market is so that your company’s bottom line might be healthy and also increase for possible expansion according to the vision you have for your company.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Yes, you can start this business from scratch, as this isn’t a business where any particular company dominates the market share. The entrepreneur that is interested in this business needs to be one who has a passion for children, and wouldn’t mind caring for them while their parents are away.
Buying a franchise might be helpful to entrepreneurs who do not want the hassles of going out to get customers, or carrying out an intensive advertising campaign to get new clients.
Most franchises already have certain mechanics in place, and so getting a franchise might just be what you need without having to worry too much about paperwork. Whatever one decides to go into, should be one that would favor the entrepreneur in the long run.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Every business person faces threats and challenges, either within the business or outside. The challenges faced by babysitters are as follows; when you replace a favorite babysitter that the kids liked, you might have challenges with getting them to do as you say; getting the kids to do homework; having to deal with the parents as regards what they require from you; having really difficult parents who would make you stay past your stipulated time.
As a business person, there is hardly anything you can do about these challenges or threats, you can only deal with it as they come, and hope they make you better as an individual and as a business person.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Every business entity requires some legal issues that would require consideration and adherence. Having a legal entity for your baby sitting business is so as to ensure that your business is legal on all fronts. Legality involves choosing the proper business entity, obtaining licenses and permits, getting adequate insurance, dealing with health and safety issues, as well as dealing with employees if it ever gets to that point.
As a professional babysitter, you could decide to operate your business as a sole proprietor or enter into partnership with someone, but it is best if you consider using a legal form that protects you from personal liability, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a corporation.
While a babysitting business might seem harmless and fun, remember that you will be taking care of children that aren’t yours.
You will be responsible for their health and safety for certain hours every day. There is the possibility that a child could be injured while under your care, and in which case you would want the liability to fall on your business and not on you personally.
The decision on choosing a legal entity depends entirely on what the long term goal and vision for your company is, because in getting a legal entity, not only must you think of what’ best for your business, but what will not be a hindrance to your business in future, should you choose to expand.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
- Babyboo Sitting Services
- Crawlers and Talkers Sitting Agencies
- Short and Tall Sitters
- Day and Night Sitting Services
- Babysitting and More
- Amanda Babysitting Agency
- Little feet Babysitting Services
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
There are risks that are associated with taking care of infants and small children, particularly in taking care of their health and safety. Apart from the health and safety of the child or children you also have to worry about generic business issues like fire, personal injury, theft, and property damage.
As a serious professional, you would need to meet with an insurance agent, so that you could be advised on the best policy that is suitable for your business. Here are some of the basic insurance you should consider purchasing, if you are serious about starting your business in the United States.
- Liability Insurance
- Umbrella Insurance Coverage
- Abuse and Molestation Coverage
- Worker’s Compensation
- Health Insurance
- Hazard Insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are venturing into this business, you probably would not need to be concerned with the hassles of intellectual property protection, as well as filing of patents, except you intend to intellectually protect the logo of your business or a distinctive business statement.
The truth is that most who have been in the baby sitting business do not consider getting an intellectual property protection as a necessity.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
In unregulated countries where there are no stringent rules, there might not be strict regulations regarding the certification for one who is going into or running a babysitting business. However, in a country like the United States, this is not so.
In the United States, you would require a certification on first aid and also in Cardiopumonary Resuscitation (CPR) by taking courses at the local Red Cross or the YMCA. Licenses can be gotten at the National Resource Centre for Health and Safety or at the National Association for Family Child Care; the licenses are gotten after passing the course.
However those intending to run a medium or large scale babysitting business, then one would need to obtain the necessary certifications and licenses from the relevant authorities such as Child Protection Agency, the police, and other relevant authorities.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
There are several documents that would be required of anyone who is looking to make a come-in into to babysitting business. Some of the basic documents required to run a babysitting business in the United States are:
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Company bylaws for corporations
- Operating agreement for limited liability company (LLCs)
- Non-disclosure agreement
- Employment agreement
- Business plan
- Memorandum of Understanding
- Insurance Policy
- Employee handbook
writing a business plan isn’t an easy affair, especially as the strategies that will help you to successfully run the babysitting business has to be crafted and drafted.
The strategies could range from generating capital or source funds for the babysitting business to competing against competitors, from expanding the services of the business to attracting and retaining customers. Every business plan needs some key components.
The key components that a business plan is supposed to have are:
The Executive summary which states in clear terms what your babysitting business is about, the strategies you intend to use in getting clients as well as marketing to prospective clients, your business goals, your target segment, services you intend offering, and how your services will be better than that of your competitors.
The segment also covers the vision statement for your company, the goals and objectives you intend to achieve, as well as your mission statement.
Other components that are vital in a business plan are the publicity, promotion and advertising strategy, operations cost and financial projections, the strength and weaknesses of your business, as well as the opportunities you present to customers, and how you intend to source for capital and pay back if need be.
This might seem too much for a babysitting business, but it is necessary especially when your intention is to be professional, and perhaps become a known brand.
For those who do not want to be bugged down by the task of writing a business plan, they could employ the services of those skilled in the art, while supplying them with information that can be used to create the precise picture for investors; you could also decide to download a template online that would guide you on how to write the business plan.
14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis
According to research, the business of babysitting can be started with no funds. Also, those that go into the business have varying operating costs depending on the state or country they are operating from. However, it still isn’t a business that would require you breaking the bank to start up as long as some essentials – like the legal consideration – are in place to protect your business.
Most new entrepreneurs might be wary of going into this industry due to the fact that this might not be a money making industry, but in this business you can start off with any amount as you are comfortable with, and still make as much as you should.
You can start off the business by babysitting for friends and family members, save what you make and then register your business, after you are sure that you are making the right decision. Below is the basic checklist that you would need to launch your own babysitting business in the United States of America and most likely in other parts of the world;
- The total fee for incorporation – name check and filing – would cost $200
- Liability insurance and business license would cost $500
- Business cards and other miscellaneous expenses would cost $200
- For those who would get an office probably due to location, an office facility – for at least 6 months – would cost $900
- Launching of website would cost $100
- Equipping the office with computer, phone, file cabinet would cost $300
- Other operating expenses would cost $100
The report from the above checklist shows that on a small scale, one would need at least $2,300 to be able to start. If one intends starting a medium scale babysitting business in the United States, one would need at least $5,000
And if one intends to start on a large scale in the United States, one would need at least $10,000. This goes to show that it is an easy business venture to start up.
15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
A service business isn’t like a business where tangible goods are sold for money, so obtaining financing might not be so easy.
Although a babysitting business requires moderate start-up funds, compared to other type of businesses, nevertheless approaching a lender or an institution for a loan will require a business plan, where your financial projections or statement are in order.
Without a business plan, no serious investor would take you seriously, and might feel you are wasting their time. A business plan not only shows how serious you are in having carrying out a feasibility report, it also tells the investor how far the business might likely go.
Applying for a loan is a stressful business, and any serious entrepreneur that knows that his or her business is worth it, will have to go the extra mile in looking for places to source for funds without committing too much in terms of interests and paybacks. Every entrepreneur has to realize that finance cannot be avoided, and so must be prepared for the task at hand.
When it comes to raising finance, every business person is faced with different available options, the decision on which to use for the benefit of the business will come after weighing the pros and cons attached to each option, and also depending on the business scale you want to start from, small, medium or large. Below are finance options for pet-sitting start ups:
- Money can be raised from personal savings, as well as sales of valuable property or even stock.
- Money can be raised from friends and families
- Apply for a bank loan
- The business ideas can be pitched to investors
16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Before one decides on the location for a babysitting business, different factors have to be put into consideration. If you plan on opening an office for your babysitting business, it has to be in a residential location where there are several families with babies and children.
Another factor is also to locate your business in a residential area that can afford your rates. If you locate your business in an area, where people live in trailers, you would not only get people that may not patronize your business but also those that might pay lower than you charge, as they may not have the disposable income that would be needed to acquire your services.
This means that not only must your business be located in a residential area where families are, but in an area where the residents are pre-disposed to having spare money for your kind of service, so that you can make good returns for your business.
If your home is far from where business will likely be favorable for you, it is advisable you get an office facility, even if it is a small one, so as to be close to your clients, but if you live in an area where there are enough families with kids, then it would be easier if you run the business from home, so as to keep your operating costs at a minimum.
Another reason why you might have to operate an office is if you are running a medium or large scale babysitting business, and are likely to employ people that would work with you.
17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
There is little technicality required for the babysitting business. Even though the babysitter requires no equipment to work, he or she needs a degree of technicality in case of what might occur during babysitting, like the ability to handle computers etc.
For those intending to operate from an office facility on whatever scale, here are some of the equipment that would be needed:
- Emergency first aid kit
- Contract documents
Due to the nature of this business, only one baby sitter is allowed per family, and a baby sitter who works alone can take in as much as he or she can handle and therefore do not need extra manpower except the business is one that is on a medium or large scale requiring more employees to babysit for clients.
Most babysitters work in the homes of their clients, or in locations approved of by the parents and so anyone starting out would not need an office facility and can work from home.
A full medium or large scale office could employ a receptionist/cashier, babysitters, supervisor, and manager. This could be between 4 to 6 people and above. The office would need minimal and functional equipment such as computers, phones.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
There is no production process involved in a babysitting business as this is a service delivery business. The process can range from learning and knowing about different subjects, languages, or being versed in other skills, and any other requirements that will be needed while carrying babysitting.
The other processes range from babysitting to feeding the kids, helping the kids with schoolwork, and so on.
18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
Money is generated for a business through the marketing of its products or services to customers, both intending and existing.
Marketing plays a central role in all aspects of life, whether on business or in life generally. If you want to be successful as a babysitter, your ability to successfully market your brand is what will decide if your business will stay alive for a long period, or if it will die before it has even begun.
Every business person that is serious knows the power of marketing. An entrepreneur with a good business sense will get started on the path of marketing success. However, it takes more than having a good business sense to achieve market visibility for your babysitting business; it will require a certain mix of marketing ideas and strategies.
Companies that have grown and existed over the years are ones that have constantly employed a mix of strategies, and chosen that which favors their company more. Below are certain tips and strategies that you can adopt to market your babysitting business:
- Word of mouth referral, by letting friends and family help spread the news about your babysitting services.
- Distributing flyers and posters in areas where your target market is located.
- Buying a classified ad in babysitting or services section of your local newspaper.
- Ask those whom you have babysat for to recommend you to other families, or people who might be in need of your services.
- Start a blog or website that is centered on baby care, using it as a medium to enlighten parents, which in the long run is likely to bring you more clients because people would trust you.
- Use the social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote your babysitting business, and also connect with clients.
- Advertise on the mass media, like the radio, television, relevant magazines, and/or newspaper.
- Attend children events and shows, and try to connect with parents there.
19. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services and Products
To get the right factors that will enable you set the right service pricing for your babysitting business while not burning a hole in the pockets of your client and eating into your profits, you would have to ensure that you operate at far less than you would earn.
You can find clients around your neighborhood especially if there are enough residential homes there, this will ensure that you are able to work from home, thereby reducing cost.
20. Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
There is no field, business or industry without competition, as competition ensures that businesses are proactive in attending to customers’ needs and wants, while also ensuring that the customer gets the best deal offered. To stay above the competition, a babysitter would have to give out certain services that the competition does not necessarily offer, such as helping a kid discover their talent.
Also, while your competition might offer services targeted at different type of clients or market segment, you could model your services to suit your client’s income, style and preferences therefore offering different packages that would suit your client’s pockets while making them happy at the same time.
This means that your lowers income clients shouldn’t be charged as your higher income clients. Another competitive strategy could be in offering extra services, such as sending a reminder to clients as regards important dates for their kids, like attending a child’s school play.
21. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
Customers stick to the brand, company or business they feel treat them better than others, and so any serious minded entrepreneur knows that the way to increase customer retention for a business is to ensure that you treat them better than your competition, by making sure that you either meet or surpass their expectations. You could also give out incentives for the kids or give out the first day as a free day for new customers.
22. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Strategies are of immense importance when trying to boost your brand or create a corporate identity for your babysitting business. The strategies that will be used are similar to that of any business. If as an entrepreneur, you decide to own a babysitting business that will employ others, it is important that you choose the right strategies for your business.
There are platforms that can be used to boost the brand awareness of your babysitting business, as well as create a corporate identity for it as well, they include:
- Join a babysitting/child care association so as to network.
- Encourage your clients to help with referrals
- Distribute handbills and fliers to targeted areas informing people of your services.
- Advertise your business in a lifestyle, parents or children magazine, local newspaper, radio, and television.
- Use the social media effectively by connecting with other babysitters, as well as prospective clients.
23. Find a Suppliers/Distribution Network
If you are engaging in other services apart from babysitting, especially if you might like to engage the children in educational games, you might need someone who would be supplying you with interactive and educational games.
If you are in a good business relationship with your supplier especially as regards what you need for your business, it will help you engage the kids productively. Vendors or distributors are particularly useful because of other intrinsic values that will be gotten from them such as trivia knowledge and other such related knowledge.
24. Tips for Running a Babysitting Business Successfully
Babysitters offer a critical service that involves the care of a child that isn’t theirs mostly in the homes of their clients, and getting paid for it. A babysitting business can be very lucrative and fulfilling for the right person who truly loves children. Experience is not required for one to be a babysitter, but certifications give babysitters an edge over others.
In order to be successful as a babysitter, one must first have the right personality by being friendly, responsible, and with lots of patience. They also should be approachable, and open to clients and the kids. A babysitter should also be calm, especially in the face of emergencies.
Apart from a good personality, a keen sense of business is required plus a certain amount of assertiveness. Even though most consider it a fun job, but as a business person, you will also need to file the correct income tax forms every year, deal with problematic clients who might be slow in paying their bills, as well as track your income and expenses.