Houghton Mifflin English


Running a Successful Baby-Sitting Business

By Kelly C.

Almost anyone who loves children can run a baby-sitting business. To run it successfully, though, you need a business plan and a record-keeping system. Follow these brief instructions to get started in the right way.

Begin by making a business plan that sets your goals. Your first goal will be to decide how many children you will care for at one time. Think about how much baby-sitting experience you have and how many kids you have looked after at one time. Don't overwhelm yourself, but don't underestimate your own powers either.

The next goal is setting a rate. The rate you choose should be per hour. To set this rate, you may want to check with your friends who baby-sit, or find out how much your mother and father have paid baby-sitters. Keep in mind that if you set your rates too high, you won't have any customers. On the other hand, if you set them too low, people may take advantage of you or not take you seriously

Finding customers is the third goal. I chose to advertise my business by creating flyers on my computer. The flyer listed all the skills I had come up with while setting my first goal. You also need to know exactly how much money you will spend on supplies and where you will advertise. I limited distribution to a few blocks in my neighborhood. In time, your reputation for doing a good job will be all you need. Chances are, the parents you work for will tell some of their friends, and you'll get free advertising simply for doing good work.

After a few baby-sitting jobs, you'll need to start keeping records. Your record-keeping will include personal profiles of all the different children you baby-sit. The profiles should list names, addresses, phone numbers, favorite toys, and any medical information, such as allergies or medications. By doing this, you will show parents that you really mean business. In addition, this information will help you if you need to contact the parents in an emergency. If a child is being particularly difficult, you can bring out their favorite toy.

Keeping track of your money is easy with a ledger, a book that lists your income and expenses. Use one page to record how much you made from each baby-sitting job (with a brief description of how many hours you worked and the family who hired you). Use another page to record expenses, such as what you spent on advertising supplies.

An organized baby-sitter needs an appointment book. Record the name of the family, the date and the time of each baby-sitting job. Don't forget to leave some time for yourself, too. You'll want to leave time to study or to play with your friends and family.

You should keep up with your business plan and record-keeping when any information changes. If you stick to all the guidelines here, you should be able to run a very successful and prosperous business that will not only help you earn money but assist parents when they need a helping hand.

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