How to Start a Daycare in Indiana

 Indiana has 474,250 people who are married with children, and 239,921 single parents. According to Indiana’s Public Data Utility, this accounts for approximately 28% of Indiana’s population. With an unemployment rate of 4.7%, many working parents will have to turn to daycare centers to care for their children. You can also be one of these childcare providers. The question is, where do you start?


In Indiana, you do not need to have a business license to open a daycare. To become a licensed childcare provider in Indiana, all members of your teaching staff must be at least 18 and have a high school diploma. Your teacher-to-child ratio must be a 1:4 ratio for infants, and up to a 1:20 ratio for children ages 6 and up. These ratios are listed in Your daycare must also be in a non-residential building, where at least one child receives care for regular compensation. Your students must also receive care “for more than 4 hours but less than 24 hours in each of 10 consecutive days per year, excluding intervening Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.”


In this article, we will take a look at all of the different regulations Indiana residents must adhere to if they want to have a licensed daycare center. We will also examine the start-up costs associated with opening a daycare center, as well as the equipment that will be needed in your facility. I will provide links to all of the websites from which I gathered my regulatory information regarding childcare in the state of Indiana.


What Type of Licenses Do I Need For My Daycare?


In the state of Indiana, you do not need to have a permit or business license to start a daycare, according to the website Child Care Answers. This is a direct contradiction of the laws regarding childcare centers in most of the country, including in-home daycares. However, I would strongly recommend getting a business license for your daycare center, as this makes your center look much more professional. Although most insurance companies will insure your daycare without a business license, liability insurance is required if you want to become a licensed daycare, according to Ozark Agency.


How Old Must My Staff Be for a Daycare?

how to start a daycare in Indiana

While the minimum age of employment in the state of Indiana is 16, you must be at least 18 years old to work in a daycare center. Employees of a childcare facility must also possess at least a high school diploma, although a college degree with an emphasis on childcare is usually preferred. Hiring your staff should not prove to be difficult, because almost 89% of Indiana’s population has at least a high school diploma, according to the United States Census. In addition, over 26% of the residents of Indiana have at least a Bachelor’s Degree.



Learn how to find good daycare employees here.


What Does My Teacher-To-Child Ratio Have To Be in my Daycare?

how to start a daycare in Indiana
To get your daycare center license in Indiana, you must adhere to specific teacher-to-child ratios. For infants, this ratio must be 1:4, because infants need significantly more attention than older children. For toddlers and children two years old, the ratio slightly increases to 1:5, with the ratio doubling to 1:10 once the students reach the age of three. From ages four to five, the ratio increases to 1:12, and 1:15 once the child reaches the age of five. The teacher-to-child ratio increases one last time, going to 1:20 for children ages six and up.



When and How Long Can I Provide Child Care?

 To become a licensed childcare provider in Indiana, there are very specific rules that must be followed regarding when and how long you can provide care for your student. For example, children must be “in your care for more than four hours a day, but less than 24 hours in each of 10 consecutive days per year. Of course, this does not include Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays. You must also receive regular monetary compensation for the care you provide to become a licensed daycare center in Indiana. These regulations should place a strong emphasis on the importance of good bookkeeping skills in your daycare center.”


How Much Money Does It Take To Start a Daycare Center?

 how to start a daycare in IndianaDaycare centers are considered a wise investment because they have relatively low start-up costs. According to Fresh Books, you can expect the average startup costs of a small daycare center to be between $10,000 and $50,000. Variables that may factor into your startup costs are the condition of the building, your location, and the daycare’s equipment. Of course, these costs are associated with buying an existing daycare center, rather than building a facility from the ground up. If you are planning on opening construction on a brand-new childcare facility, you can expect to spend almost two million dollars.


What Equipment Will My Daycare Center Need?


If you want to start a daycare there are certain equipment purchases that you are going to have to make. According to Brightwheel Blog, your daycare center will need the following equipment:How to Start a Daycare in Indiana

  • Appropriately sized furniture for both play and feeding.
  • Tables, chairs, boosters, and high chairs for the smaller children.
  • Mats and cribs for nap time.
  • Age-appropriate and safe toys for play and learning.
  • A computer with daycare-centered software, and a POS system.
  • Optional computers with learning software for students.
  • Outside play equipment and toys for playing outdoors.




If you want to open a daycare center in the state of Indiana, you can either choose to open an in-home daycare or a stand-alone daycare center. Neither require a business license to operate, nor do they require a license to be insured. If you want to establish your childcare facility as a licensed daycare, there are a few rules which must be followed. Your teacher-to-child ratio starts at 1 t:4, and we’ll go all the way up to 1:20 once the children reach the age of six.


There are also specific guidelines that govern when you can care for children, and how long you are allowed to provide childcare services. You must also receive regular monetary compensation for services provided. Your startup cost for a daycare center will be between $10,000 and $50,000, with variables determining exactly what you will pay. Opening construction on a new daycare center will cost you almost two million dollars. There are also a few pieces of equipment you will have to purchase, with some of them being mandatory and some of them being optional.


Related Questions


What is the difference between an in-home daycare and a daycare center? The most significant difference between center-based daycares and in-home daycares is the location in which the care is provided. Daycare centers are usually located in a non-residential, commercial building. In-home daycares are usually run in residential homes. Although there may be some fluctuation due to the laws in your state, there may also be differences in the number of children for which you are allowed to provide care. These regulations or usually based on how many square feet you are required to have for each child.


How do I buy into an existing daycare franchise? One of the most intriguing aspects of buying into an existing daycare franchise is that they make all of the decisions for you. However, buying into a daycare franchise can be quite costly, with franchise fees feeding one million in some cases. You will be subjected to a background check, as will all of your employees. Other than that, there are no inspections that you will have to pass, as the franchise will provide the building, the equipment, and the name. To buy into an existing daycare franchise, you must contact the franchise of your choice.


Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.

To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.