Ok, I am going to come at this from 2 angles as I have used fdc and centre based and I have worked in both also. Firstly, my personal experiences:
Smaller, home based environment
More individual attention
Only pay for the hours you use
Better following of babies routines
Finding the right carer for your child
No care if carer is sick or on holidays
Does not prepare older children for the larger classroom environment
There may be huge variances in ages of children attending
If there is a personality clash between kids, the space becomes very small
As far as working is concerned, there is a lot that is similar as far as rules and regulations are concerned. In a centre there are a lot more children but sometimes it means your child gets more attention if they need it because there is someone else there to look after the other child who is upset instead of one carer trying to do both. I currently do fdc and all the children I look after are under 3. We have a wonderful time, I always send the kids home happy and every child I currently have here has come to me through the referral from the parent of another child I have looked after in the past or still look after. That doesn't mean everyone is happy with it and it certainly doesn't mean it will work for every child. Please remember too that the policies on things vary from scheme to scheme and from centre to centre so you really need to check with each of them. For instance, in my scheme, if we have children with allergies we have to do special training and have management plans etc in place and all the children bring their own food anyway. As far as how well your children are taken care of, my scheme does random checks on carers at least fortnightly and more regularly when you first start, also, how your child reacts and if they are happy when they are picked up is a fairly good indication. With sick days and holidays we can/should contact the scheme co-ordinator about finding somewhere else for children to attend but we are not obliged to and most parents find their own alternative as the change in routine is too significant (also there are no vacancies anywhere so it would only be one day here and one day there). In regards to hours, I charge for a minimum of 6 hours a day but have kids here from 8-5 and will work any time during those hours. Anyway, that is just me and my scheme but all schemes and all carers are slightly different so it is worth starting the process early and interviewing a few carers before committing if you do decide to go with family day care.
Edited to add: It is 2014 that the new regulations and new ratios come in, so we can have 5 children under school age until then.