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How to Start a Child Care Business in Northeast Ohio
by Anita Fitch Khayat PhD, MBA
June 13, 2024
child care ohio

Starting a child care business can lead to a rewarding career helping parents and young children.


Availability of and equitable access to quality child care and early learning services is essential to the wellbeing and economic stability of families and communities.

A childcare business requires hard work, long hours, significant expense, and ample frustration, so you need to be able to find your reward in the good you’re doing for others.  You might want to do a childcare readiness self-assessment from

There are several types of childcare services in Ohio, each with its own regulatory requirements as administered by the State of Ohio Department of Job and Family Services [ODJFS].

In Northeast Ohio, there are several non-profit resource centers missioned to help childcare startups and providers. They provide essential training to obtain the necessary State of Ohio licensing credentials and certifications to operate a child care service.

So, you have taken the self-assessment, the ODFJS tutorial, and have contacted your regional resource center for assistance, what are your next steps?

Step A: Market Assessment

Do #1 and #2 in the following methodology to assess needs and competition: You probably wouldn’t open a pizza shop in a town that already has a half-dozen of them, unless perhaps you had some unique “angle” by which to differentiate yours from the rest. The same principle holds true for child care services — you need to be aware of what the market needs.

Step B: Prepare a business plan. 

Whether you’re starting a child care center, a grocery store, or a gardening service, it is always a good idea to draw up a detailed business plan that outlines the goals, needs, opportunities, and obstacles for your new enterprise. A well-constructed business plan will serve as your business guidebook as it gets off the ground — or may even convince you to change your plans. Also request free SCORE mentoring at

Step C: Navigate the Ohio “red tape”

Research regulation & licensing requirements for your type of child care service, and build a relationship with the relevant State of Ohio and local agencies. If you want your child care business to succeed, you need the supervisory local and state (and perhaps federal) agencies to be “on your side.”

Step D: Establish Your Service and Prepare to Launch.

Notes - Other Resources

SBA Child Care Startup Guide

Ohio Early Learning Resources

Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association (OCCRRA)

State of Ohio ODJFS Childcare Resources

Childcare Franchises

For-profit or Non-profit Childcare?


About the author
Anita Fitch Khayat PhD, MBA

I'm happy to assist you in achieving your business goals, whether they be non-profit or for profit...

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Mark A Krosse

I specialize in turning innovative ideas into sustainable business models, emphasizing strategy...

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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