Steps to setting up a service
Here are some things it’s best to get sorted before you open your service. If you have already started, you can still catch up on the things you’ve left out!
- Decide how you want to run your service. Full-time or part-time, days of the week; fees- daily, weekly, hourly rates; the number of children you can take on. To think about all the options, look at the Guide to Becoming a Childminder.
- Prepare advertising. Make a small ad to put in local shops, toddler groups and supermarkets; try advertising on www.schooldays.ie; notify your local WCCC for public listing. But remember, word of mouth usually works best!
- Prepare your home for the service. Child proof the house as needed; get fire safety equipment; make sure you have enough equipment and toys for different age groups.
- Make sure you have adequate insurance. If you own your home, your house insurance may cover you to mind children, but you need to check. If you are in rented accommodation, then you will need professional insurance. Look up Insurance.
- Notify the Health Service Executive if necessary. Under the Childcare regulations (2006), you must notify if you mind 4 unrelated children under 6 years old at any one time, and you can mind no more than 5 preschoolers.
- Register yourself as self-employed. Fill in form TR1 to register for tax; you need to do this to claim the Childminders Tax Relief also. To get the form, ask at your local tax office; LoCall 1890 306 706, or download at www.revenue.ie/en/tax/vat/forms/formtr1.pdf
- Get Garda Vetting as a Childminder. Contact Barnardos in Cork on 021 4310591, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, to get a Childminders Vetting Information pack.
- Develop a working agreement to use with parents. A written working agreement helps to make your arrangement work more smoothly. Look at a template Childminding Working Agreement.
- Hold interviews with any prospective parents. Discuss your working agreement with them and the level of care required –food, nappies, pickups etc; Also talk about how you manage behaviour difficulties, sickness, holidays, maternity leave.
- It’s good practice to have the new child come for a few settling in visits before you sign a working agreement and get going properly.