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You love taking care of kids. You find it fun,fulfilling, and it brings in some handy extra cash. But can you turn it into a full-time job?
You might not immediately think of babysitting as a business opportunity, but when you consider that childcare is simply babysitting at scale and that being a nanny is certainly considered a profession, you realise that it’s perhaps more about the wording than anything else. Far from being something that teenagers do after school, babysitting can present a fantastic opportunity to build your own business!
For those eager to become full-time babysitters, you’ll need to understand how to start a babysitting business, which aligns closely with how to start a childcare business.
Ready to find out how? Read on.
What are the responsibilities behind babysitting?
Before you dive too far into the world of babysitting, it’s a good idea to understand your responsibilities which could include:
- Providing general care for young children, taking legal responsibility for their health and safety
- Preparing healthy food
- Monitoring hygiene
- Supervising children as they play
- Organising educational activities and mediating social interactions
A babysitter should make themselves familiar with Early Childhood Australia’s code of ethics, which offers guidance on ensuring the health and safety of the kids under your care and outlines your responsibilities in more detail.
Requirements to start a babysitting business
If you decide that you’d like to start a babysitting business, what skills will you need? And what rules, regulations and requirements apply?
Skills and knowledge
The first and most important box to tick is that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to take care of a small human. While there’s no need for any specific degree in the field of childcare, you might find value in tertiary education, like a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care with TAFE.
One piece of training that every babysitter is required to undertake (and refresh every three years) is first aid.
To become a babysitter in Australia you will need a Working with Children Check (or equivalent.) The rules vary state-by-state, but for the most part, this system is structured to check that you don’t have a criminal history or a record of workplace misconduct.
Click the appropriate link below to find out more about the rules for your state:
- NSW: Commission for Children and Young People
- VIC: Victorian Government
- QLD: Blue Card Services
- SA: SA Police
- WA: Western Australian Government
- TAS: Working with Vulnerable People Registration
- NT: Northern Territory Government
- ACT: Working with Vulnerable People Registration
If you fully commit to babysitting as a profession, you’ll need to start a business and register for tax. The process of applying for an ABN is surprisingly simple. While most traditional babysitters will work as ‘sole traders’, if you have visions of building a childcare empire, you might choose to create a company, in which case you’ll need an ACN. You’ll also need to follow more rules and regulations as a fully-fledged childcare provider..
If you earn more than $75k/year from babysitting you’ll also need to register for GST.
Insurance for a babysitting business
Taking care of children is a big responsibility that brings significant liability. If an accident occurs, you could face huge personal and financial repercussions, making proper insurance critical.
As a babysitter, you should consider investing in the following types of insurance, or a babysitting/childcare package that bundles them together within a single policy:
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Public liability insurance
- Property insurance (if you babysit at your own home/premises)
- Income protection insurance
Essential equipment needed to start a babysitting business
The equipment you need as a professional babysitter will depend on how you operate. If you babysit a child in their home the majority of the equipment you need will probably be supplied. If you take care of children in your own home or on your own premises, you might need any or all of the following:
- Health and safety: First aid kit, emergency contact list, car seats, hand sanitiser, tissues, wipes, nappies.
- Fun and education: Toys, games, art supplies, learning materials.
- Other: Food, phone, cash.
Market your business
When you’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s above, you’re ready to get to work. But, you can’t expect parents to start calling you out of the blue – you need to actively market yourself in order to build your business.
In truth, marketing is the sort of subject that really deserves its own guide, but a few of the most effective strategies include:
- A website: No matter the size or shape of your business, you need a website. Why? Because it makes you Googleable! Don’t fret – with Square Online creating a website has never been easier.
- Social media: Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be hugely powerful marketing tools, although as a babysitter you need to be aware that many parents won’t want you posting pictures of their children. Always seek permission before doing so, but if the parents say yes, have fun with it!
- Word of mouth: The most powerful tool in a babysitter’s marketing arsenal is word of mouth. Parents trust the recommendations of other parents, and when they talk, you want it to be your name that’s mentioned. Begin by spreading the good word of your venture via family, friends and former colleagues, and when you start to get business, be proactive in asking for reviews from your clients.
How much can you charge customers?
The average hourly rate that an Australian babysitter charges in 2022 are $21.74, with minor variations between different cities and states. Things are slightly different in childcare, where looking after multiple children brings the per-child rate down, but the total earning potential up. Click here for a detailed rundown of average childcare rates.
How Square can help babysitting businesses
At Square we aim to make starting your own venture as easy as possible, by offering a complete suite of affordable and easy-to-use business tools.
- Square hardware: Whether you want a simple, portable solution like Square Reader, a more feature-rich solution like Square Terminal, or a top of the line system like Square POS, payments made to your babysitting or childcare business will be handled instantly, securely and cost-effectively with your choice of Square hardware.
- Square software: You don’t necessarily need a physical payment system at all, as Square Virtual Terminal turns your computer or laptop into a payment processing station.
If you establish yourself in the world of babysitting or childcare you may need to produce professional quotes and tax invoices; tasks made super simple with Square Invoices.
Online booking system
As you work around the needs of parents, managing your schedule can be a complex and time-consuming task for a babysitter. Square Appointments allows your clientele to book your time and make payments upfront, which can seriously simplify and speed up your process.
You now understand how to start a daycare business or babysitting operation. Putting this knowledge into practice is up to you, though you can trust Square to be right here, ready to deliver the tools and support you need!