What is it and who is it suited to?
A nursery is a pre-school childcare facility and is staffed by trained carers. They are typically open all year round and all day to cater for working or busy parents.
But, if you aren't sure about committing to a full-time business, there are other ways that you could be involved in childcare – from running a crèche to a playgroup. You could even set up as a self-employed childminder at home. Not all require you to be fully trained or to work full-time. But anyone caring for children under the age of eight will need to be registered with the local authority.
Running a nursery is certainly not a 'get-rich-quick' plan. In fact, you could probably make more money driving a taxi than running your own nursery. But, if you want a job – and a business – that offers hourly challenges and a lot of rewards then this could be just right for you.
It is a business that tends to attract working parents – either because they think they could do a better job than the nurseries already on offer, or because they discover that there is nothing available in the area at all.
After her children were born, Kate Willink decided to leave her job as a management accountant but kept on some work by doing the books for the local nursery. When one of the nursery nurses left, she decided to set up her own nursery called The Wooden Horse in Easingwold, North Yorkshire.
"I couldn't go back to my job," she explained, as the hours that she worked meant that she would never see her children. "This is the next best thing. It isn't as much money but I get other things from it. It is mine and my partner's business and I get to see the children develop."
But don't fall into the trap of thinking that looking after your own children will give you the experience necessary to run a nursery. You need to have the patience of a saint. One child screaming or crying can be tiring, but imagine 20 or more kids all competing for your attention. You will need endless enthusiasm and energy. Don't expect to win prizes for your fashion sense either. Nappy changing and baby feeding could soon spoil your best clothes. But if you can cope with the tears and tantrums, this is a business that offers much more than financial gain.