How to Start a Daycare in Michigan

Are you an aspiring Daycare Owner looking to open a facility in Michigan?

Here’s the process to get your daycare vision expedited from an idea into a true business.

Start a daycare in Michigan by:

  1. Choosing which kind of daycare you want to run.
  2. Licensing the facility accordingly.
  3. Paying the costs and waiting for licensing approval.
  4. Having the home or building inspected.
  5. Receiving a provisional license then a renewal application.
  6. Finalizing the steps for opening day.

Patience is the key to getting your daycare operational. Investing the time and dedication towards making opening day possible will make it that much more rewarding when opening day happens.

How to Start a Daycare in Michigan

  1. Choose the Type of Daycare

There are 3 types of daycares that you can operate in Michigan.

  1. Family Daycare
    1. The licensee can care for 1-6 children in their home for 24 hours or less daily.
    2. Children can be unattended by their parents. The licensee can watch the children.
    3. This range does not include children that are related to the family biologically, via marriage, or via adoption.
    4. Any children not related to the licensee or the family will count towards the 1-6 range.
  2. Group Daycare
    1. The licensee can care for 7-12 children in their home for 24 hours or less daily.
    2. Children can be unattended by their parents. The licensee can watch the children.
    3. Like the family daycare, the range does not include children related to the family biologically, via marriage, or via adoption.
    4. Any children not related to the licensee or the family will count towards the 7-12 children range.
  3. Daycare Center
    1. The licensee can care for one child or more that fall between toddler and school age.
    2. Teachers and Teacher’s Aides can be hired to maintain the adult to child ratio.

Ask yourself these questions to help you think about which daycare is best for you.

  • How many children are you comfortable with being in your care?
  • Do you want to run the daycare yourself or hire Teachers and Teacher’s Aides for a larger location?
  • What is your mission and vision for your daycare?
  • Will having a large or small facility help you to achieve this mission and vision?
  • How many clients do you currently have lined up for your daycare?
  • Is this number of clients okay for you or are you looking to grow as a larger business?
  1. License Your Facility Accordingly

Once you choose your daycare type, it is time to license your facility accordingly. In the state of Michigan, it is against the law to care for a child regularly that is not related to you without being a licensed facility. Registering with the Child Care Licensing Division is the acceptable step towards providing childcare services lawfully.

License your Michigan based childcare center by following these steps.

  1. Read the licensing laws prior to starting the application.
  2. Determine your eligibility. You must be at least 18 years of age, live in a home setting, and have graduated with a High school diploma or a GED to become a licensed caregiver.
  3. If you want to become a program director, the same guidelines apply except you must be at least 21 years of age. Aspiring Early Childhood Program Directors must have applicable college experience and childcare hours under his or her belt.
  4. Undergo a criminal background check. You must be at least 18 years of age with no felonies or history of child abuse or neglect.
  5. Complete the online licensing application here.
    1. Link to the application:
    2. Click on the Licensing and Regulatory Services link on the provided page to begin the application.
    3. Find more information on what must be included in the application by visiting here.


  1. Pay the Costs & Wait for Licensing Approval

Overall start-up costs for a daycare in Michigan could range from $1,500 to $4,900 which includes:

  • Furnishing the daycare’s classrooms.
  • Licensing fees.
  • Management software starting subscription.
  • Office supplies.
  • Starting commercial business insurance policies.
  • Diapers and wipes (if your daycare will provide these or could be funded by the state)

There are non-refundable licensing application fees to pay depending on the type of daycare you are planning to operate.

  • Family Daycare: $50.00
  • Group Daycare: $100.00
  • Childcare Center: The fee depends on the capacity.
    • 1-20 children: $150.00
    • 21-25 children: $200.00
    • 51-100 children: $250.00
    • 101 children or more: $300.00

It may take 3-6 months of processing time for licensing to be approved for a Family Daycare or Group Daycare. Licensing approval for a Childcare Center can take up to 6 months. This is the part of the process that requires the most patience because it involves waiting for a long time before you can open up your dream daycare.

How to Start a Daycare in Michigan

  1. Get an Inspection on Your Home or Daycare’s Building

Whether you are running a home based daycare or a traditional childcare center, you must have your place of business inspected. Once your facility is registered and/or licensed, you will receive an inspection within 90 days.

If you are running a Family Daycare or Group Daycare out of your home, the inspector will check for environmental and space safety. He or she will determine if you have a well or septic system in your home, making sure that is safely operable for you to run a home based daycare. The inspector will also check to be sure that you have enough space per square footage to be sure that children have enough space to learn and play while they are in your care.

Childcare centers need more factors inspected before they can open.

  • Fire safety and zoning.
  • Environmental safety.
  • Lead exposure tests.
  • Playground safety evaluation.

Once your inspection is approved, you can move on the next step.

  1. Receive a Provisional License

You will receive a provisional license that is valid for 6 months for you to start operating your facility. Before this provisional license expires, you will get a renewal application to complete. Upon submission, your facility will be re-inspected to be sure that you are operating within the mandated health and safety standards for the state of Michigan. Upon approval of this re-inspection, you will receive your daycare license valid for 2 years. 

  1. Finalize the Steps for Opening Day

Once you receive your provisional license, get ready for opening day. There’s so much to do, and you must take it one step at a time to have your daycare completely ready before the children come in the first day.

Furnishing Your Daycare’s Classrooms

  1. Figure out how many of each furniture you need.
    1.  Tables
    2. Chairs
    3. Cribs with wheels
    4. Nap mats
    5. Cubbies (for children’s belongings)
    6. Organization cubbies (for teachers to organize classroom supplies)
  2. Consider your desired furniture supplier.
  3. Try a wholesaler depending on the amount of tables and chairs you need for your classrooms.
  4. To save money, you can purchase the furniture from a second hand store or consignment shop. If you go this route, make sure that all the furniture is properly disinfected before children use it.

Purchase Classroom Supplies

  1. Choose a wholesale supplier to get classroom supplies in bulk.
  2. Be sure to stock up on the following items.
    1. Construction paper
    2. Glue sticks
    3. Children’s scissors
    4. Pom poms
    5. Pipe cleaners
    6. Glitter
    7. Poster board
    8. Crayons
    9. Markers
    10. Color pencils
    11. Whatever other craft supplies that are necessary or wanted
  3. Consider furnishing your classroom with a large marker board, paint easels, and a large table designated for craft time in the classroom.

Stock Up on Office Supplies

  1. Stock up on the following items.
    1. Printer paper
    2. Printer ink
    3. Pens
    4. Pencils
    5. Highlighters
    6. Paper bins to organize paperwork that needs attention.
    7. Binders with dividers and paper sleeves.
    8. Paper clips
    9. Binder clips
    10. Whatever else you deem necessary.
  2. Pick a quality printer to print necessary paperwork.
  3. Select a wireless telephone to answer calls while you are on-the-go throughout the facility.

Get Daycare Management Software

  1. Get a management software that simplifies your daily daycare operations.
  2. Get a software that works for you, your staff, and the parents.
  3. Daycare management provides perks such as:
    1. Giving parents the ability to pay daycare tuition online.
    2. Create digital copies of children’s information and parental contacts.
    3. Contact parents electronically via email or text.
    4. Send daycare newsletters or notices electronically to parents to reduce paper and printer ink costs that would incur from sending home paper notices.

Market Your Daycare for High Enrollment Rates

  1. Create social media pages for your daycare.
    1. Facebook
    2. Twitter
    3. Instagram
    4. Pinterest
  2. Post flyers in nearby businesses that allow it.
  3. Hand out your business cards to everyone you know. Give out more than one to each person, so he or she can give them to people that may need childcare services. 

How to Start a Daycare in Michigan

Ready, Set, Child Care!

It’s time for aspiring Michigan Daycare Owners to take the leap of faith and open their child care facility today. Follow these steps and be patient during the process. Your dream will surely come true!

Related Questions

  • What are the needed licensing forms in the state of Michigan?

Find all the licensing forms that you need by visiting the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs here.

  • How do I get my Child Development and Care (CDC) Provider approval?

Visit here to get your CDC Provider approval.

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.

Michigan is ready for your new Daycare! Start now with our startup course and documents here.

How to Start a Daycare in Michigan