Day care center

Get help starting a day care center in the City.

Create a plan

Learn the steps needed to begin your business.

Research the process

Planning, launching and running a business is a lot of work. Review the necessary steps required to start a business.

View these 10 steps to start your business

Know the state's basic rules for licensed care centers

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has regulations for child and adult care.

Get licensing help for child care providers

Get licensing help for adult day providers

Connect with a small business consultant

Building a relationship with a small business consultant can be a crucial step in your journey as an entrepreneur. The Minneapolis Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP) is able to connect you to business training, support and advice for opening your business. 

Access the Small Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP)

Write a business plan

Starting a business can be expensive. You will need to have enough money to run your business for at least the first several months without relying on a profit. Using calculations from your business plan, determine how much capital you will need to start to ensure your business will start and run successfully.

Learn to build a better business plan

Secure financing for your business

Connect with a lender from a community bank, credit union or community development financial institution.

Determine if you qualify for any of the City’s financing

Learn more about resources offered through Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED). 

See business support programs from the City

Prepare your space

Review types of day cares and location requirements for your business.

Day care licensing

The Minnesota Department of Human Services determines the licensing requirements for day care centers.

  • Family child care: Provided in the caregivers home with no more than 14 children at any one time. You may be required to make changes to your home after fire or licensing inspections.
  • Care center: Located outside the caregiver’s home and can serve larger numbers of children or adults. 

Read the state licensing requirements

Day care center

Visit the Minneapolis Development Review (MDR) at the City of Minneapolis Customer Service Center. You will meet a Development Coordinator (DC) who will provide ongoing guidance on all City building and health regulatory requirements.

See how MDR can help with City licensing

Location requirements

Make sure your location meets all zoning and facility requirements. Your Development Coordinator will walk you through the process of pulling construction permits if needed. 

Read about the state's required child care safety guidelines and training

Request Sewer Availability Charge (SAC)

If your care center is located in a commercially zoned building, you may be required to pay a fee for the waste water your business will generate:

  • This fee can be high, so get an estimate early to plan for the cost.
  • It can take 10-15 days to receive your SAC determination letter once you request it.
  • Find out if you qualify for the City's SAC deferral program for small businesses.

Read the SAC basics for business and property owners

Review American with Disability Act (ADA) guidelines

Make sure the location you’ve chosen is accessible and meets all ADA requirements. 

Get ADA information and assistance

Sign your lease

Before you sign, make sure your location is zoned for a day care center and review your lease with an attorney.

See City zoning maps

Register your business

All businesses in Minnesota must be registered with the Secretary of State. Make sure you follow every step so your business is registered properly.

Verify your business name

You can use the Secretary of State online business services to check name availability. 

Check business name availability

Choose a business structure

Decide what type of business structure is right for your business. 

Organize your business

Register your business with the MN Secretary of State

LLCs, Corporations, Nonprofits, and Limited Partnerships must register with the State of Minnesota. 

Register your business

File a Certificate of Assumed Name

If you will be using a name other than your given name, the names of your partners, or the officially registered name of your LLC or corporation, you will need to file a Certificate of Assumed Name. 

See the types of Minnesota businesses

Apply for a MN Tax ID and a Federal Employer ID Number

Before you begin withholding state taxes, you must register for a Minnesota tax ID number. If you fail to register prior to withholding Minnesota taxes, you may be subject to a $100 penalty. A Minnesota Tax ID and a Federal Employer ID Number are used to identify your business. If you are a sole proprietor, you may be able to use your Social Security Number instead. 

Register for a Minnesota tax ID and a Federal employer ID number

Research the insurance you will need

Insurance such as workers’ compensation, liability, and disability insurance can be required of new businesses. 

Research the insurance you will need

If you will be serving food, make a plan to have a certified food manager on site

Minnesota state law requires that a certified food manager be present on site at all times when food preparation is happening. Certification requires a day-long class in food safety. 

Take a City of Minneapolis food safety training course

Get your license

Review the steps to receive and maintain a license.

Provide family day care from your own or someone else’s home

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) sets the license requirements. To complete the license application, you must submit all required documentation to the county or the state for approval.

View MDH information for home care providers

Complete the MDH family systems licensing application

Operate a day care center from a location other than a home

The State of Minnesota will provide your license. To complete the license application, you must submit all required documentation to the county or the state for approval. 

Complete the state's license universal application (DHS-7118)

Complete required training

Prior to obtaining your license, any caregiver must complete specific training approved by the Minnesota Department of Professional Development.

Complete a background check

The MDH requires a background check for all of these people in your business:

  • Owners
  • Managers
  • Staff 

See if a study of your background is required

Complete a Food Plan Review application

If you plan to serve food, you will need to have a food plan approved by the City.  

Complete the Food Plan Review application

Gather required documents and fees for your license

Your license will require documents, such as:

  • Tax ID information
  • Workers compensation insurance policy information
  • Three references for family day care

Additional documents for a day care center are listed in the checklist at the end of the license application.

Additional information

Review and consider all requirements when starting your business.

Hire employees

Often the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) employees you hire must pass a background check. 
Read the background requirements

Be sure to follow all wage and employment guidelines. 

In case of emergency

Make sure you have an emergency plan in place for your day care to keep kids safe.

Read the MDH emergency planning guide

Provide transportation

You must comply with all transportation policies.

Know the Minnesota administrative rules

Make sure your space stays safe

Stay informed about common safety issues. 

Read about child care safety issues

Serve food

The Child and Adult Care Food Program is a federal program that offers education on nutrition and pays providers monthly for some of the cost of the food they serve to children. Most licensed family child care providers are eligible for this program. 

See if you are eligible for the Child and Adult Care Food Program

After opening

Review the steps you need to complete once your business is open and running.

Join a professional association

Connect with other child care providers and grow your network by joining a professional association.

Visit the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association

Post all required posters and permits

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry dictates you must display your DOT number, business license, and required state labor law posters in your business. 

Download free posters

Mark your calendar

Schedule equipment maintenance and set reminders to renew your permits and licenses as needed.

Be prepared for health inspections

If you will be serving food, your first routine inspection will be scheduled within 60 days of opening. Inspectors will arrive unannounced. Be sure you are always following food safety practices by regularly completing a self-inspection. 

Lookup a health inspection report

Prepare and pay your local, state, and federal taxes

Businesses must meet federal, state, and local tax obligations to stay in good legal standing. Your business structure and location will influence taxes your business has to pay.

Learn more about business taxes

Renew your license

Stay up-to-date on all required training.

Contact us

Small Business Team

Community Planning & Economic Development




Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415