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British Swim School

British Swim School economics include saving swimmers

By Tom Kaiser

Rita Goldberg was a former national swimmer before founding British Swim School in a derelict Victorian house in her home country of England back in 1981. Goldberg said her drive to start the school was a result of her experience as a swimming instructor and her dislike for the way young people were taught to swim.

“I developed a method that wasn’t heard of, to actually teach very young children to survive in water, not just swim,” she said. After that introduction, she shared her traumatic experience opening her first non-franchised locations in Florida, where one worker died on the job. “I didn’t want to build anymore, but I also wanted to grow the business, so I looked at what could be done and began to look at empty pools, pools that were never used”—which resulted in franchising, and finding under-utilized pools rather than building new, expensive pools from the ground up.

Whether it’s a fitness club or apartment complex, Goldberg said there are countless such pools across the country, in almost every market large and small, and that incorporating them into the British Swim School’s business plan was the key to making the numbers work and building a highly profitable enterprise from a category that, at first blush, may not seem like a splashy moneymaker.

Franchised since 2011, the school now has 175 pools open and 84 franchisees in 21 U.S. states, as well as territories in Canada and Turkey. With years of experience and an international footprint, British Swim School is looking to attract engaged owner operators who are energized by the opportunity to share their passion with young people, and work to reduce the number of people who drown in America—an average of 10 per day.

“We want the business person who wants to not only do an incredible job and save lives” she said. “We also want someone who wants to earn a lot of money.”


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