Identifying demand

Before committing to a huge financial and personal commitment, it’s important you understand whether or not there is a market for your idea. It’s vital that you understand what you want to offer families and children, how much it will cost to set up and run, what the legal requirements are and how much people would be prepared to pay for your service.

Finding the right premises

Finding suitable premises can be difficult when starting your own childcare business. For further information regarding commercial buildings contact one of the commercial property agents in the city.

Planning permission

You should review local planning requirements before making any commitment to premises. You can find out more on the page about pre-application planning advice.

Things to consider before applying for registration

  • Is there a demand for childcare in the area for the times you want to offer childcare?
  • What opening hours are you considering opening?
  • Do you have the correct qualifications or are you considering employing a manager?
  • Have you already secured premises?
  • Do you require planning permission?
  • Have you got sole use of the premises?
  • Do you have a unique selling point e.g. forest school/any specialist knowledge that will appeal to families e.g. experience of working with children with special educational needs and disabilities or being able to speak languages other than English
  • Start-up costs – registration, staff, DBS checks, insurance, marketing, equipment, training etc.
  • Timescales – it can take up to 25 weeks to register with Ofsted as a childcare setting.

Registering as a pre-school or nursery

To set up a new nursery or pre-school you will need to register with Ofsted before you can look after children from birth to eight years of age for more than two hours a day.

The registration requirements and the processes will differ depending on the type of childcare provided and the ages of the children looked after. The cost of registering your childcare business with Ofsted will also depend on which register you join. Further information about the different types of registers and costs can be found on Ofsted’s website.

All childcare providers who are registered on the Early Years Register must deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). For further information please contact

Applying to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

All applicants and any other individuals connected with the application must complete a Disclosure and Barring Service check online to ensure that they are suitable to work with children. They are also required to join the DBS update service. Ofsted’s DBS checks are processed by Capita – Ofsted’s website provides guidance on how to apply for a check and assists with any related questions.

Support available through the registration process

The quality and sufficiency team offer up to five hours of fully funded new provider support per provider.

This can be used in a variety of ways including:

  • Advice and support via telephone/email:
  • Visit to you to discuss planning your business, early years funding processes, size and suitability of premises, resources and routines, policies and procedures, safeguarding and safer recruitment.

You will also need to do your own reading and learning to prepare for registration and launching your business. The following list provides a range of materials we recommend that you read thoroughly and understand as part of your role: