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How to become a self-employed childminder: the 10-step plan

6-minute read

How to become a childminder
Rosanna Parrish

Rosanna Parrish

24 May 2023

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If you’re looking for a profession where you can help people get the best possible start in life, becoming a childminder might be the right choice for you. Childminders welcome children into their home and offer them a safe space to learn and grow. If you’re interested in a career like this, read our ten-step guide to learn how to become a childminder.

  1. What is a childminder?

How to start a childminding business

Working with children often has a series of legal requirements you need to meet before you can enter the trade. To help make things easier for you, we’ve identified the 10 first steps you need to focus on before you can become a registered childminder.

1. What is a childminder?

Like a teacher or nursery nurse, a childminder is a type of early years’ provider responsible for caring for and educating young children. What makes a childminder different is that they usually work out of their own home.

To be considered a childminder, you generally have to care for children for more than two hours a day within your own home. This time is spent in a variety of ways, but your day-to-day duties may include:

  • creating learning activities to support children’s development
  • planning and setting up play activities
  • changing nappies and bottle feeding babies
  • preparing and serving healthy meals to older children
  • taking children to and from school
  • making sure each child’s physical and emotional needs are met

Childminders are also responsible for administrative tasks such as completing risk assessments and organising and maintaining client records.

2. What are the different types of childminders?

Childminders can usually be split into two main categories – though you can work as both simultaneously. Early Years Childminders care for children from birth up until the 31 August following their 5th birthday – by which point the child is usually attending school.

Later Years Childminders look after children aged five and older. These childminders will often provide care before or after school if a parent is working – but are still responsible for each child’s learning and development.

3. What qualifications do I need to be a childminder?

While there are no specific courses you need to study in order to work as a childminder, there are certain standards of care that you need to meet. This is called the early years foundation stage (EYFS) and your career as a childminder will depend on your knowledge of this.

Studying a childcare course that covers EYFS is a good way to make sure you excel in your role – as well as provide the best possible care for the children in your home.

Depending on the role, you’ll also usually be required to have completed:

  • a first aid course for children
  • child protection training
  • a food safety course

These may be included as part of your childminding course, or you may study them separately.

4. Accreditation: how to become a registered childminder

One of the most important parts of starting a childminding business is registering with Ofsted. By doing this, Ofsted will regularly inspect your business and assess you on safeguarding, welfare, and learning and development.

If you’re registered on the Early Years Register (for children 0-5), your business will be inspected at least every six years. If you’re only on the Childcare Register (for children five and above), you can be inspected at any time.

After the inspection, you'll receive one of the following grades:

  • grade 1: outstanding
  • grade 2: good
  • grade 3: requires improvement
  • grade 4: inadequate

5. How much do childminders earn?

It’s hard to estimate an exact childminding salary as how much you earn as a childminder will depend on a variety of factors. As a self-employed childminder, you’ll be able to decide what you charge for your services. However, this will depend on:

  • your location
  • how many children you have in your care (this will depend on staff:child ratios)
  • how many hours you work
  • if you work alone or employ assistants
  • your daily expenses

6. How much does it cost to set up a childminding business?

Most childminding businesses are based out of a childminder’s home, meaning you won’t have to think about renting a space as part of your expenses. Although if you’re renting, it’s important to check you’re able to run a business out of your residence.

Most expenses when starting up a childminding business will be making sure everything is up to code. This will include making sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit and that your equipment meets any health and safety standards – including food preparation.

Of course, you’ll also have a strong passion for helping children develop. If you want to give the children in your care the best possible experience then you’ll need to make sure you have a range of activities, toys, and learning opportunities available at all times.

When people trust you to care for their children, it’s important that you show them you’re responsible. Not only will your business be regularly inspected by Ofsted to show the care you’re providing is up to standard, but you’ll also need to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Failing to receive a DBS certificate will prevent you from working with children or vulnerable people.

You’ll likely need more than one DBS check when starting a childminding business. If you employ any other members of staff as childminders or assistants, they’ll need to apply for their own DBS check. Additionally, if you run your business out of your home, any adults (or children over the age of 16) who live in your home will also need their own DBS check.

DBS certificates typically take six weeks to complete, so it’s important to plan accordingly before you start caring for children.

8. Becoming a childminder: registering as self-employed

As well as joining the Early Years Register and the Childcare Register, you’ll also need to register as self-employed. If you’re working for yourself out of your own home, you’ll typically need to register as a sole trader. This involves telling HMRC that you’re self-employed and will be paying taxes through Self Assessment and paying Class 2 and 4 National Insurance contributions.

A small number of childminders working for a childminding agency may still be self-employed whilst working through their agency. If this is true for you, you may have to pay tax through both PAYE and Self Assessment.

9. How to market your business and find clients

Most childminders find their clients through word of mouth and will often be chosen based on location. Many childminders are responsible for taking children to and from school, so parents and guardians will look for responsible childminders living close to their child’s school.

Maintaining a good relationship with both local schools and current clients is a great way to make sure people recommend you to others.

Another great way to attract new clients is through digital marketing. By developing a strong social media presence, you can give potential clients a real taste of what goes on in your business. This can include the activities your children enjoy, the food you prepare, the health and safety measures you have in place, as well as testimonials from existing clients. However, it’s important to respect your clients’ wishes for privacy when it comes to sharing photos of children in your care.

Another option is joining a childminding agency. These agencies have their own requirements for assessing and inspecting childminders in their network, so make sure to check with your agency for the specific details. Ofsted will then inspect these agencies as a whole – usually visiting and assessing a small selection of their

10. What childminder insurance do I need?

When you’re working with children, there are a number of risks that should be considered. Getting set up with a good insurance policy before you invite clients into your home is key to protecting you, your staff, and your clients.

Public liability insurance is a great option for childminders. If a member of the public (child or adult) gets injured, this can help protect your business. If you employ any staff in your business, you'll also need employer’s liability insurance to protect your staff. And if you're the only employee, personal accident insurance can help protect yourself.

Simply Business offers tailored insurance for childminders, letting you combine all the covers you need into a single policy.

Have you started your own childminding business? Let us know the most rewarding part in the comments.

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Photo: fizkes/
Rosanna Parrish

Written by

Rosanna Parrish

​​Rosanna Parrish is a Copywriter at Simply Business, specialising in legal and HR content. Trained at London College of Communication, she has been creating content professionally for eight years at publications across the UK and Spain. Starting her career in health insurance, she also worked in education marketing before returning to the insurance world. Rosanna also writes about wellbeing in the workplace. She lives by the sea and does her best writing in coffee shops.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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