Starting a childcare business

If you would like to start your own childcare business, you should first of all speak to the Early Years Quality Support team.  They can tell you what you need to do next, the procedures you must follow and how and when to contact Ofsted.

Most childcare providers caring for children aged under eight must register with Ofsted. There are two types of register - the early years register and the childcare register. Some types of childcare will need to be on both registers.


If you want to be just the proprietor of a childcare setting, you do not need any childcare qualifications. 

If you want to manage the childcare provision, you must have at least an appropriate level 3 qualification plus at least two years experience of working in a childcare setting.

Staff Wages

The amount you pay your staff may vary greatly, depending on the type of childcare you are offering.  However, you must meet the requirements set out in the Equal Pay Act 1970 and the national minimum wage.

For more information on setting up a childcare business click on the pages below or contact the Early Years Strategy team via the Families Information Service on  01925 443322.

Early Years register

All childcarers providing for children from birth to five - such as childminders, day nurseries, pre-schools and private nursery schools must register on the early years register and deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage framework.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the statutory framework for the early education and care of children from birth to the August following their fifth birthday. The EYFS includes requirements for the provision of young children’s welfare, learning and development that all childcare providers must meet, as well as good practice guidance. 

For more information visit the Foundation Years website - early years foundation stage documents.

The Childcare register

The childcare register has two parts - a compulsory part and a voluntary part.

Compulsory part - Childcare providers must register on the compulsory part of the childcare register if they care for children aged between five and eight - such as out of school clubs.

Voluntary part - Some childcare providers can choose to register if they want to provide care that does not need compulsory registration. This includes:

  • Home-based care in the home of the child (nannies)
  • Activity-based settings such as sports coaching or tuition
  • Short-term care such as crèches
  • Care that is only for children aged over eight

For more information on the registration requirements contact Ofsted on 0300 123 1231 or visit the Ofsted website.

Finding a good location

You will need to do some market research to see if there is a demand for childcare in the area in which you want to open the business. 

You will also need to find out how many other childcare providers there are and how many children are actually living in the area. 

The building

The building that you wish to turn into a childcare setting must be well maintained and in a suitable state of cleanliness, repair and decoration.  It must also meet planning and building control requirements.

You should contact the planning department on 01925 442819 and building control on 01925 442553. 

The building must also be an appropriate size for the amount of children you will have in it:

  • At least 3.5m² per child under the age of two 
  • At least 2.5m² per child aged two 
  • At least 2.3m² per child aged three to seven