Starting an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Day Care Centre in South Africa presents a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs passionate about child development and education. As the nation continues to grow and evolve, the demand for quality early childhood education has never been higher. This business venture not only offers a chance to contribute positively to the community but also presents a sustainable and highly profitable business model. As the average income increases steadily, accompanied by an increase in the birth-rate, more Early Childhood Development (ECD) day care centres are required. The increase in the demand for ECD centres in recent years is not only due to high birth rates. Immigration has been playing a huge role because a lot of families migrate to South Africa with their young children. There is more than 6 million children living in South Africa currently, and half of them cannot access educational facilities. This problem has created an opportunity for more ECD day care centres businesses.

Preschool Day care centres are necessary because toddlers need to  spend a reasonable amount of time in an environment that stimulates their learning abilities, which is not the case if they have no access to ECD day care centres. Most of these children, especially in low income groups stay with working single parents or with their grandparents in some cases. There is a huge gap in childcare services. Childhood development is critical for the social and economic development of a country. This article will outline how to start an ECD day care centre in South Africa, and the ECD Day Care business plan – PDF, Word and Excel.

Market Research

Market research is a crucial first step when considering starting an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Day Care Centre business in South Africa. This process involves gathering essential data and insights about the local childcare industry, the target market, and the competitive landscape. Conducting thorough market research enables prospective entrepreneurs to make informed decisions and develop a business strategy that aligns with the unique needs and preferences of the South African community. In South Africa, the demand for quality ECD services has been steadily increasing, driven by the growing number of working parents seeking reliable childcare solutions. Market research can help potential daycare center owners identify the specific needs of parents in their chosen location, whether it’s urban or rural, and determine the appropriate pricing, hours of operation, and curriculum offerings. Additionally, understanding the regulatory requirements and licensing processes within South Africa’s childcare sector is essential for ensuring compliance and building a trustworthy reputation in the community. Furthermore, market research can shed light on the competitive landscape, revealing the strengths and weaknesses of existing ECD daycares in the area. This information can guide the development of a unique value proposition and marketing strategy that sets the new daycare center apart from the competition.

Location & Premises

The location and premises of your ECD day care centre are important before you decide on any other thing. It is important that you locate your ECD day care centre close to your target market. Consider the amount of road traffic, parent or guardian easy access, or a place where parents can easily pick and drop off their children. There are several possible locations, including close to the CBD where most workplaces are or residential areas close to the homes of your target market. Your premises should be safe and suitable for children. It should have sufficient parking space for staff and children. A playground is also required at your preschool for the children outdoor activities.  When selecting the premises of an ECD Day Care Centre, consider the effect of playground noise on the neighbourhood. Also take into consideration the effect of increased vehicle traffic especially with respect to drop off and pickup of children. Your business plan for ECD centre should cater for costs of renting or leasing the premises. 

Furniture and Equipment For An ECD Day Care Centre

In order to run your day care centre successfully you need various furniture and equipment. The choice of furniture and equipment plays a pivotal role in creating an ideal learning environment for children. The first step is to invest in child-sized furniture, including chairs, tables, and shelving units, designed with young learners in mind. These ergonomic furnishings not only ensure their comfort but also encourage age-appropriate activities, fostering independence and a sense of ownership in the learning space. Equally crucial are the educational materials that stimulate young minds. Stock up on an array of educational tools such as books, puzzles, building blocks, and art supplies. These materials promote creativity, cognitive development, and hands-on learning experiences. Dedicated play areas with age-appropriate toys and equipment, including climbing structures and play kitchens, provide opportunities for physical activity and imaginative play. Safety is paramount, and measures like safety gates, secure locks, and childproofing safeguards should be in place. Additionally, naptime essentials like cribs or cots with comfortable bedding must be provided. Ample storage solutions, outdoor equipment for play, art and creative spaces, hygiene stations, and even age-appropriate technology like computers are all integral components of a well-equipped ECD center. Regular maintenance and upkeep of all furniture and equipment are vital to ensure a safe, inviting, and nurturing learning environment for both children and staff. Your day care business plan should cater for such costs including the equipment and other essentials you will need to run the business successfully.

Products And Services

The kind of products and services you will provide are determined by your target niche. First and foremost, your center should offer reliable childcare services, creating a secure and nurturing environment for infants and toddlers, where their basic needs, including feeding, diaper changing, and napping, are met by a trained and compassionate staff. This fundamental care lays the groundwork for a loving and safe atmosphere that parents can trust. Equally important is the provision of early education programs designed to stimulate young minds. Craft a curriculum that focuses on age-appropriate skills such as pre-reading, pre-math, art, and music while emphasizing play-based learning to make education enjoyable. A commitment to providing balanced and nutritious meals and snacks is paramount for the children’s growth and well-being, adhering to South African nutritional guidelines and requirements. Outdoor play and physical activities should be a staple, promoting gross and fine motor skills, coordination, and physical fitness through a safe and equipped outdoor play area.

Moreover, maintaining health and safety measures is non-negotiable, with stringent hygiene and sanitation practices, clean facilities, and adherence to safety regulations. Establish strong parental engagement through open communication and regular updates on their child’s progress, encouraging parental involvement in center events. Don’t forget to provide support for children with special needs, ensuring inclusivity and a trained staff capable of accommodating diverse abilities. Consider offering extended hours or flexible schedules to cater to working parents and transportation services to ease commuting. Finally, expand your services with holiday and after-school programs to cater to a broader range of clients. These services collectively shape a reputable and successful ECD Day Care Centre in South Africa, underpinned by a commitment to the children’s well-being and development.

Staff & Management for an ECD Day Care Center

For your ECD centre to be a successful it’s important that you hire employees that are friendly, efficient and who are qualified caregivers. Your employees should be passionate about taking care of children. If you want to hit the ground running it’s better to hire a team of people who have experience in this type of business. Your caregivers and teachers should be able to work with children, their parents and guardians.  Inexperienced staff members need to get extensive training before they can be given child minding tasks. Looking after children is a sensitive matter thus, working with qualified teachers for your preschool is important. There are plenty of risks associated with childcare that only experienced caregivers can manage. Depending on the size of your facility the actual number of your staff will vary however, you will need teachers, childminders, cooks, cleaners, security, as well as management. Your ECD business plan should cater for the salaries and day to day expenses of running the facility.

Budgeting and Financial Planning

Budgeting and financial planning are foundational aspects when establishing an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Day Care Centre in South Africa. These financial strategies are pivotal not only for ensuring the longevity of your center but also for delivering top-notch services to the young minds under your care. To begin, a thorough analysis of startup costs is paramount. This involves a meticulous examination of initial expenditures, including facility rental or purchase, permits, insurance, and educational materials. A clear understanding of these financial requirements sets the stage for a well-prepared launch.

Creating an ongoing operational budget is equally crucial. It encompasses daily expenses such as staffing, utilities, maintenance, supplies, and potentially, meal provisions. Precise estimates of these outlays are essential to avoid unexpected financial strains. Revenue projections, based on enrollment and pricing structures, are indispensable for gauging income potential. It’s vital to maintain realistic expectations, especially when considering various enrollment scenarios, such as full-time and part-time.

Additionally, a competitive and sustainable fee structure should be determined. Striking the right balance between covering operational costs and remaining affordable for parents is key. Consider offering flexible payment options to attract a wider clientele. Establishing an emergency fund within your budget is a prudent move, serving as a financial buffer for unforeseen challenges without compromising the quality of care. Leveraging financial tracking software streamlines the budgeting process and ensures accurate record-keeping. Explore opportunities for fundraising and grant applications to supplement revenue, and continually seek ways to optimize costs without compromising quality. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your financial plans keeps your ECD center on the path to financial stability and success.

Marketing Plan

Crafting an effective marketing plan is a cornerstone of success for your Early Childhood Development (ECD) Day Care Centre business in South Africa. In a competitive market, a comprehensive plan is essential to not only promote your daycare but also resonate with parents and caregivers in your target audience. Firstly, establishing a robust online presence is vital. This entails creating a professional website showcasing your daycare’s facilities and curriculum, as well as engaging with parents on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Leveraging search engine optimization techniques can help boost your online visibility. In addition to these digital approaches, consider traditional marketing methods like flyer distribution in the target market area. Distributing flyers can help you reach a local audience effectively, especially in neighborhoods where parents might be looking for quality childcare services. Community engagement is another key strategy; hosting open houses and partnering with local schools, pediatricians, and parenting groups can foster trust within the community. Furthermore, implementing referral programs can harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing, while providing quality service is perhaps the most potent tool in your marketing arsenal. Happy children and satisfied parents become your brand advocates. Online advertising, such as pay-per-click and social media ads, can help you reach a wider audience, and content marketing—through blogs, videos, and infographics—can establish your daycare as a trusted source of information. Also encourage feedback and reviews from parents, and respond professionally to both positive and negative feedback to showcase your commitment to customer satisfaction.


There are a lot of children living in urban areas. The number of children living in urban areas has been increasing over the years, especially in Gauteng. A large number of the children living in urban areas are taken care of by working parents or guardians who will benefit greatly from ECD day care centres. Overall, there is more than 6 million children living in South Africa under the age of 6 years and the country is currently sitting on 2.31 births per woman. This is a huge market base for day care centres. The continuous increase in population which is influenced by a high fertility rate is more than likely going to translate into a continual increase in the demand for childcare services especially among younger working-class couples. Research has shown that the market for day care services is likely to increase overtime as more women enter the workforce.  There is a need for quality ECD daycare centres in the country, especially for children that come from low to middle income groups. More and more women are entering the workforce plus the increase in disposable income has also increased the demand for quality childcare centres. Your preschool business plan should include a proper marketing strategy for your business.

Is An ECD Day Care A Good Investment?

There is no denying that there is a reasonable number of ECD day care centres in a lot of South African neighbourhoods that already take up a reasonable market share. Nonetheless, you can open you own successful and profitable ECD day care centre. There is still a large number of children who cannot access educational facilities including quality preschools. Investing in a day care centre is profitable, but this will depend on many factors such as your target market, costs, and management. Apart from the obvious advantages of becoming financially independent and becoming your own boss, running an ECD centre can be a rewarding way of uplifting your community.

Given that the South African market is one of the leading emerging economies on the African continent with a relatively high fertility rate there is potential for good returns. The early childhood and development industry (ECD) can be competitive and complex. The sector has a lot of challenges given how it has developed overtime, but these challenges can be opportunities for your day-care facility. For example, there is still a large number of poor African children with no access to quality childcare services.

On the other hand, there are improvements in the sector due to increased government spending and ECD subsidies.  Whether you are a young entrepreneur, a professional seeking to start your own business or someone who needs a retirement plan, investing in a day care facility is something worth considering. One thing that can set you apart before investing in any venture is developing a business plan. A well thought out day care business plan will help you in both the short term and long term. There are various risks associated with running a day care centre so your ECD business plan should clearly outline these risks as well as the plans you have to minimise them.

Keys To Profitability

Unlocking profitability for your Early Childhood Development (ECD) Day Care Centre business in South Africa hinges on several strategic keys. Firstly, effective enrollment management is paramount. Craft a compelling marketing strategy, offer competitive pricing, and consider referral programs to expand your client base. Secondly, optimizing staffing levels ensures both safety and cost management, striking a balance to provide quality care and education without overstaffing. Thirdly, prudent cost control and budgeting practices are essential, involving meticulous monitoring of staffing costs, supplies, and operational expenses to allocate resources wisely.

Investing in staff training and development is another essential step toward profitability. Educators who are well-trained and motivated can significantly enhance the quality of care and education, attracting more enrollees and increasing customer satisfaction. Maximize your facility’s utilization by considering after-school or holiday programs, renting space for events, or collaborating with other organizations to optimize non-operational hours. Ensuring compliance with regulations and licensing requirements is non-negotiable, as compliance issues can lead to financial penalties or even business closure.

Efficiency in administrative systems, including digital solutions and streamlined record-keeping, can reduce administrative overhead and enhance operational efficiency. Strong parent engagement and retention, facilitated through open communication and prompt issue resolution, foster satisfied parents who are more likely to refer others and remain loyal customers. Incorporate financial planning and forecasting into your business strategy to make informed decisions and identify areas for improvement based on regular financial performance reviews. Lastly, consider diversifying your revenue streams by offering supplementary services such as tutoring, educational workshops for parents, or the sale of educational materials. By implementing these key strategies, your ECD Day Care Centre can flourish financially, ensuring long-term success and sustainability.


For an in-depth analysis of the ECD Day Care Centre business in South Africa, purchase our day care business plan. We decided to introduce the business plans after noting that many South Africans were venturing into the preschool business without a full understanding of the industry, market, how to run the business, the risks involved, profitability of the business and the costs involved, leading to a high failure rate of their businesses.

Our business plan will make it easier for you to launch and run a day care business successfully, fully knowing what you are going into, and what’s needed to succeed in the business. It will be easier to plan and budget as the ECD business plan will lay out all the costs involved in setting up and running the ECD Day Care Centre business. The business plan is designed specifically for the South African market.


The daycare business plan can be used for many purposes including:

  • Raising capital from investors/friends/relatives
  • Applying for a bank loan
  • Start-up guide to launch your preschool business
  • As a ECD Day Care business project proposal
  • Assessing profitability of the ECD Centre business
  • Finding a business partner
  • Assessing the initial start-up costs so that you know how much to save
  • Manual for current business owners to help in business and strategy formulation


The business plan includes, but not limited to:

  • Market Analysis
  • Industry Analysis
  • 5 Year Automated Financial Statements [ Income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, monthly cash flow projections (3 years monthly cash flow projections, the remaining two years annually),break even analysis, payback period analysis, start-up costs, financial graphs, revenue and expenses, Bank Loan Amortisation]
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Risk Analysis
  • SWOT & PEST Analysis
  • Operational Requirements
  • Operational Strategy
  • Why some South Africans in the ECD Day Care Centre business fail, so that you can avoid their mistakes
  • Ways to raise capital to start your ECD business in South Africa

The ECD Day Care Business Plan package consist of 4 files

  1. ECD Day Care Business Plan – PDF file (Comprehensive – 87 pages)
  2. ECD Day Care Centre Business Plan – Editable Word File (Comprehensive – 87 pages)
  3. ECD Day Care Business Plan Funding Version – Editable Word File (Short version for applying for a loan – 48 pages)
  4. ECD Day Care Centre Business Plan Automated Financial Statements – (Editable Excel file)

The financial statements are automated. This implies that you can change eg the number of students, fees etc, and all the other financial statements will automatically adjust to reflect the change. 


We decided to make the business plan affordable to anyone who would want to start the business, and the price for the pre-written business plan is only 500 Rand.

We have several payment methods which you can use.

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The business plan package is a zipped compressed file containing the PDF, Word and Excel documents. To open the package after downloading it, just right click, and select Extract All. If you have any problems in downloading and opening the files, email us on and we will assist you.

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Click Buy Now below to purchase. After you have purchased, you will instantly see the download link for the business plan package on the screen. We will also email you the download link. Get instant access to the business plan now!

If you want to purchase multiple business plans at once using Instant EFT then  click here: Business Plans Store

The business plan package is a zipped compressed file containing the PDF, Word and Excel documents. To open the package after downloading it, just right click, and select Extract All. If you have any problems in downloading and opening the files, email us on and we will assist you.

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