Published on 7 Apr 2022 Time 9 min read Last update by 16 May 2024

British Swim School: Swim School Franchise Opportunities (2022)

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British Swim School is the leader in “Learn to Swim” programs. It was revolutionary in developing a survival program that enables the very young to survive an accident in the water. Its gentle fun program makes it the nation’s leader and preferred choice for all parents.

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The business offers kids swim programs with the focus on them having strong learning of how to survive if they accidentally fall into a swimming pool.

Additionally, BSS offers a variety of swimming programs for kids of all ages

The business model, with low investment and even lower overheads make it a highly profitable, quick starting, and fast break-even business. Equally attractive is the fact that the franchise owners have no build-out costs. They contract with pools in Fitness Centers, Schools, Hotels, Sports clubs, etc., bringing revenue to the host for an underutilized loss leader facility. It is a great win/win situation.

tutoring club

Franchise owners purchase a demographic area in which there are 20,000-25,000 children under the age of 9, in a medium to high-income bracket. Within those parameters, they are encouraged to open as many locations as they can find. Their top franchisee has 13 locations within one area. Her company teaches over 1200 children per week year-round and will gross $1.2 million this year.

British Swim School 

British Swim School (“BSS”) was first created by the founder, Rita Goldberg, in 1994. From 1994 to the present day Rita has continued to develop, improve, and fine-tune her methods into a gradual, engaging, and gentle program. In 2011, Rita decided to expand her business on a national scale and began the process of selecting like-minded entrepreneurs to open their own British Swim School franchise businesses in their local markets.

As the British Swim School business model has continued to evolve, Rita realized that the process of building a pool for each franchise owner was overly complicated, stressful, and expensive. After research, it became apparent that there is an abundance of commercial pools that were ‘empty’ for a majority of the day.

Rita has since spent her time focusing on developing partnerships with national fitness clubs and a variety of other venues with pools. Now, British Swim School is capitalizing on a business model that allows for them to own multiple locations with minimal investment and low overhead.

kid pool

British Swim School Franchise Cost (2021 FDD)

Estimated Initial Investment

Type of Expenditure Amount Method
When Due To Whom Payment is to be Paid
Initial Franchise Fee $39,500 Lump Sum When you sign the
Mailer Program Set-up Fee $1,000 Lump Sum 30 days prior to the
Scheduled Opening
Franchisor or BSS
Mailing List Fee $500 to $750 Lump Sum 30 days prior to the
Scheduled Opening
Franchisor or BSS
Postcard Fees $14,000 Lump Sum 30 days prior to the
Scheduled Opening
Franchisor or BSS
SEO Fees $3,600 Lump Sum When your website
going live
Franchisor or BSS
Digital Marketing
$9,000 Lump Sum When your website
going live
Franchisor or BSS
Services or our
Pool Security
$0 to $1,000 As Arranged As Arranged Third Parties
Pool Usage Fee – 3
$1,500 to $7,500 As Arranged As Arranged Third Parties or Franchisor
Opening Inventory
(pool equipment,
training supplies,
learning aids)
$3,050 to $3,350 As Arranged Before Opening Third Parties
Signage $250 to $750 As Arranged Before Opening Third Parties
Training: Travel and
Living Expenses
$1,500 to $3,000 As Arranged As Incurred Third Parties
Accountant and Legal Fees $300 to $1,000 As Arranged As Arranged Third Parties
Insurance Premium $2,400 to $5,000 As Arranged Annually Insurance
Computer System $0 to $2,500 As Arranged As Arranged Third Parties
Office Security
$0 to $1,500 As Arranged As Incurred Third Parties
Office Rent, Office
Furniture, Fixtures
and Equipment – 3
$0 to $4,500 As Arranged As Arranged Third Parties
Technology Fee – 3
$600 to $2,400 As Arranged Monthly Franchisor
First 3 Months of
Aquatics Lead
$7,500 to $10,500 As Arranged As Incurred Employees and
Third Parties
Additional Funds – 3
$9,000 to $15,000 As Arranged As Incurred Employees and
Third Parties
Single Franchise $93,700 to $125,850

According to Item 7 of BSS 2021 FDD

British Swim School Franchise

Patrick Findaro: You have Patrick Findaro here, co-founder at Vetted Biz. I’m very excited to have two executives from British Swim School. This is a brand that’s been around for over 40 years with over a hundred locations throughout the United States, a very attractive asset-light service model, that’s in the children’s services industry.

We’re going to go through the industry, this opportunity to open a British School franchise, how the market has changed over the last few years, especially in light of COVID, and what to expect for the coming years. I’m very excited to have on the brand president, Ashley Gundlach, as well as Dave Warn, who’s the director of franchise development at British Swim School. Ashley and Dave, thanks so much for joining.

Children’s Services Industry

Patrick Findaro: Maybe you two could just comment on what this industry’s all about, and kind of what is the appeal for someone that might open up a franchise, or start an independent business in this segment?

Ashley Gundlach: So the learn-to-swim industry has really evolved, I’d say over the last 10, 15 years. So, I think most of us grew up with the kind of Red Cross or YMCA style of swimming where your parents would sign you up for a six-week session, you got as far as you got, it was probably really different depending on what school you went to. So, it’s really just been in the last decade or so that this kind of subscription-based model has evolved.

Focusing first on, a kid or an adult having the skills that they need to survive a water emergency, which is really a lot different than just being able to do a pretty crawl stroke or something like that. So I think parents’ emphasis of that as a critical survival skill and not just something that’s like a nice activity to do, has really opened up I think the opportunity for franchise owners in this space.


Patrick Findaro: Yeah, and I can talk from personal experience. Living in South Florida, in much of the social gatherings, there’s a pool there. And to the extent that I have an eight-month daughter, and just having that survival skill is so clutch. So, it’s no surprise that your South Florida territory is pretty much sold out, as this is a playground for people who like aquatic activities and just also just leisure, and having the pool nearby, it’s key.

British Swim School Evolution

Patrick Findaro: And how has British Swim School evolved over the last 40 years?

Ashley Gundlach: Yeah, what’s interesting is our business was founded in England, hence British Swim School. In 1981, our founder came over here in the ’90s, started franchising about 10 years ago. But what’s interesting about our program is that really the core of what was created in the ’80s has remained true. There’s been some fine-tuning and some slight differentiation of the levels, but really, our founder was quite ahead of the time in terms of the survival-based approach, which has given us nice credibility. What is, I think, probably the best evolution is the addition of our special abilities program and our adult learn-to-swim program.

Part of our mission is incurring that, is making sure that everybody, regardless of age or ability, has an opportunity to be a safe and happy swimmer.

And so those two programs right there have really allowed us to do that. You know, most people don’t realize that people, especially those with autism, they have got a special draw to the water, which makes it especially risky for them around the water if they don’t have the skills that they need to survive.

Patrick Findaro: Interesting. And what’s the landscape like? Who is a British Swim School franchisee competing with? Is it rec centers? Is it just independent operators like a one-man-show that’s teaching some classes?

swimming pool

Market Competition

Dave Warn: Yeah, there’s going to be, in every market because it’s definitely a needs-based service, there’s going to be a handful of different companies that offer it. Whether it be local independents, whether it be the franchise models out there, Big Blue, Goldfish. You know, one thing that we have seen on this side of the pandemic is a lot of the independents have kind of stopped doing it.

In every market that we were in, one thing that we thrive in is being able to be in front of a captive audience, whether it be through Google AdWords, pay-per-click, geotargeted Facebook, and we capture market share.

I think another big value that British Swim School brings is, I know it says British Swim School, but as Ashley mentioned, we focus on that water acclimation, water survival. It’s a big key differentiator for us because, the territories regenerate, people continue to have kids, and kids need to be educated in water safety.

Necessary Skills for Children

Patrick Findaro: And that makes it a need-to-have. It’s not a nice-to-have like some after-school sports program. This is a necessary skill that kids need to live.

Ashley Gundlach: And most parents don’t realize that the statistics around drowning are so tragic. You know, it’s the number one cause of accidental death for kids under the age of five which is just crazy. I mean, it’s worse than, car accidents really. But then kind of the flip side of that coin is that kids who have been enrolled in formal swim lessons have an 88% reduction in drowning, were they to, slip into a pool when they’re reaching for a toy, or fall off a dock on vacation or something like that.

So, we really talk about buying parents those couple of seconds or that one minute for their kid to flip over onto their back and call for help, or for the older kids to be able to kind of flip back and forth until they reach safety, so.

Watch the complete interview here!

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