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2024 Franchise 500 Rank
#248 Ranked #352 last year
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Initial investment
$110K - $145K
Units as of 2023
178 Increase 71.2% over 3 years

British Swim School Franchise

If you’re ready to become your own boss and are interested in exploring franchising opportunities, you’ve come to the right place. The franchise business is an excellent avenue for business owners looking for a low-risk venture. Franchising is a diverse industry that has options for everyone. 

The more entrepreneurs become franchise owners, the more growth opportunity there is in this billion-dollar industry. If you’re ready to discover your revenue potential in the franchise world, keep reading to find out if owning a British Swim School franchise is right for you.

Why own a franchise?

Franchising is a way to become your own boss with a safety net underneath you. While there is always some risk involved with starting a new business, the hard work will be coupled with guidance from the established company you’ll partner with. 

Related: 5 Things to Consider Before Owning a Franchise

Franchisors are there to provide their franchisees with a roadmap to success through a proven business model, resources, brand recognition and continued support. 

Instead of starting an independent small business from scratch and growing your brand name in a new community, you will have a name people already trust and a guiding shoulder to lean on throughout the process. 

British Swim School has been a trusted company for over 40 years, so partnering with an established entity has some significant advantages. 

Related: 7 Things You Need to Know Before Becoming a Franchise Owner

About British Swim School

British Swim School is a learn-to-swim provider for children from three months old to adults of all ages. The school uses gentle teaching methods to instill a survival-first approach to emphasize water safety in its strong swimmers. 

Founded in 1981, the company began in the basement of Rita Goldberg’s home in Manchester, England. Throughout its growth, the school created, developed and improved methods for teaching the safest swim skills in a fun way. 

The company has grown with its trademarked teaching methods of water survival skills. Currently headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia, British Swim School has taken those teaching methods and educated at over 250 locations across the United States and Canada. 

Some highlights throughout British Swim School’s history include:

  • Fastest-growing swim schools in the United States.
  • 28,000 swim lessons per week.
  • Just under 1.5 million swim lessons in 2022.
  • Ranked #352 by Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 in 2023.
  • Ranked one of Entrepreneur's Top 100 Franchises under $100,000.

To widen its reach and prevent child drowning incidents around the world, British School Swims maintains corporate partnerships with: 

  • United States Swim School Association.
  • Canadian Swim School Alliance.
  • Hope Floats Foundation.
  • Stop Drowning Now.
  • National Drowning Prevention Alliance.

Why franchise with British Swim School?

British Swim School is an established business dedicated to spreading its teachings. Because of this, the company wants to make the franchise process as smooth as possible for the growing number of British Swim School franchise owners. 

The swim industry is a $5 billion industry that is a way to make a profit while also making a difference. Partnering with British Swim School can be a rewarding endeavor because you can:

  • Help prevent drowning incidents.
  • Interact with the flexible business model as a hands-on owner or semi-absentee owner.
  • Expect considerable growth and low overhead.

See below for some more benefits of partnering with British Swim School

Related: 3 Key Considerations for the Modern Franchisee

No buildout costs

Instead of starting from the ground up, British Swim Schools bypass the construction headache by adopting pools across the country. There are more “empty” pools out there than you might think, so BSS enables a faster start-up time and a shorter road to turning a profit. 

Site selection assistance 

British Swim School is a name known across the company. Because of this, it already has relationships, partnerships and contracts with sites like fitness centers, hotels, schools and other venues with open indoor pools. 

BSS can help you find the best location to rent pool lanes on the best schedule for you to hold lessons. The best part? You don’t have to worry about the ongoing stress and maintenance of owning a swimming facility.

Save lives

What sets BSS aside from many other franchises is the nature of its business. The company is dedicated to teaching essential life skills that can save the lives of so many people. 

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children, and British Swim School is all about using its business teachings to make a difference. 

“Survival of the littlest”

“Survival of the littlest” is the mantra of BSS. It applies to children and new franchise owners who start out small and grow to become multi-unit success stories. 

Related: 5 Encouraging Facts to Know About Multi-Unit Franchising

“A stroke above the rest” 

With revolutionary teaching methods, British Swim School prides itself on remaining at the top of its industry with:

  • Warm pools: A positive learning environment is comfortable, which is why BSS ensures its students learn in heated pools. 
  • Gentle instruction: Instructors are caring, passionate and genuinely care about empowering students through the skills they will learn.
  • Revolutionary techniques: The survival swim program enables students of all ages to survive water accidents. 

Multiple opportunities for revenue 

British Swim School is not limited to one class or age group, making room for multiple revenue streams. The school offers numerous classes for a wide range of people, including: 

  • Tadpole: 3 months - 36 months with a parent.
  • Swimboree: 3 months - 36 months with a parent.
  • Seahorse: 18 - 36 months.
  • Starfish: Three years and older.
  • Minnow: 18 months - 3 years and older.
  • Turtles: Introductory to intermediate swim skills.
  • Sharks: Intermediate to advanced swim skills.
  • Barracudas: Swim team superstars.
  • Dolphin 1 Water Acclimation: Special ability students.
  • Dolphin 2 Water Survival: Special ability students.
  • Young Adult: 12 years and older
  • Adult: Personalized instruction for adults.

Continued support

Once you own a British Swim School franchise, you will not be in open water on your own. BSS is dedicated to helping its franchisees throughout the entire partnership. The company supports its franchise owners with the following:

  • Training and Continued Education: You will receive comprehensive business and aquatics training at the onset and ongoing training and education to promote continued business success.
  • Annual Meetings: Once a year, the company gets together for learning, fun and collaboration among other franchise owners. 
  • Field Support and Business Coaching: You will be paired with a business coach to assist with the operational process. Your coach will guide you through frequently scheduled site visits through budgets, hiring and training programs. 
  • Marketing Expertise: BSS has an in-house marketing department to support you with digital marketing, mail, PR and social media. 

Related: Why Franchise Brands Need to Start Utilizing Video Marketing

How much does a British Swim School franchise cost?

One of the most important parts of researching a franchise system is understanding the financial commitment you’re about to make. See below for the key facts and figures about the initial investment when partnering with British Swim School. 

  • Initial franchise fee: $45,000
  • Marketing: $28,800
  • Pool fees and aquatics labor: $9,000
  • Other business fees: $17,160
  • Initial total investment: $99,960+
  • Net worth requirement: $150,000

Related: Basics of Buying a Franchise Business for Entrepreneurs

Steps to becoming a British Swim School franchise owner

If you like what you’ve read so far and think British Swim School will be a good fit for you, then continue your research and look at how the step-by-step process will work

  1. Get in touch: Complete your initial interest form.
  2. Overview call: You will have an initial call with someone from the franchise development team to learn more about the opportunity. The conversation will focus on your personal background, professional background and the market you’re interested in purchasing.
  3. Explore the business: You will research the business by interacting with webinars and other materials on aquatics and marketing to build a foundation before joining the BSS business model. 
  4. Review the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD): A BSS team member will guide you through the details and answer any questions. 
  5. Meet the team: You’ll venture to Virginia beach to tour headquarters, meet key team members and get an even better understanding of the journey ahead. 
  6. Franchise awarded: It’s time. With mutual approval, territory selections and fees submitted, you will become an official British Swim School franchise owner.

Related: Ready to Commit? - Franchise License Agreement 

Next steps with British Swim School

If owning a British Swim School franchise sounds like the right business opportunity for you, then it's time to start the process toward becoming the owner of a business that can yield serious profits and an immensely rewarding feeling. 

Are you looking for more franchising content? Explore the Entrepreneur Franchise Center here.
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Company Overview

About British Swim School

Industry Children's Businesses
Related Categories Swimming Lessons, Children's Fitness Programs, Miscellaneous Children's Businesses, Children's Education/Enrichment, Sports
Founded 1981
Parent Company Buzz Franchise Brands
Leadership Ashley Gundlach, President
Corporate Address 2829 Guardian Ln.
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Social Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube

Business Overview

Franchising Since 2011 (13 years)
# of employees at HQ 18
Where seeking

This company is offering new franchises in the following US states: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming

This company is offering new franchises in the following international regions: Canada

# of Units 178 (as of 2023)

Information for Franchisees

Here's what you need to know if you're interested in opening a British Swim School franchise.

Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees

Here's what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.

Initial Franchise Fee Information Circle
Initial Investment Information Circle
$109,960 - $145,010
Net Worth Requirement Information Circle
Cash Requirement Information Circle
$75,000 - $100,000
Veteran Incentives Information Circle
$8,000 off franchise fee
Royalty Fee Information Circle
Ad Royalty Fee Information Circle
Term of Agreement Information Circle
10 years
Is franchise term renewable? Yes
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Financing Options

Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.

Third Party Financing British Swim School has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll

Training & Support Offered

Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.

On-The-Job Training 20 hours
Classroom Training 36 hours
Ongoing Support
Purchasing Co-ops
Meetings & Conventions
Toll-Free Line
Grand Opening
Security & Safety Procedures
Lease Negotiation
Field Operations
Site Selection
Proprietary Software
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
Co-op Advertising
Ad Templates
National Media
Regional Advertising
Social Media
Website Development
Email Marketing
Loyalty Program/App


Additional details about running this franchise.

Is absentee ownership allowed? No
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit? Information Circle
Can this franchise be run part time? Information Circle
# of employees required to run 3
Are exclusive territories available? Information Circle
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Franchise 500 Ranking History

Compare where British Swim School landed on this year's Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.

Additional Rankings

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The information on this page is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation of any particular franchise or business opportunity by Entrepreneur Media. Our listings and rankings are solely research tools you can use to compare opportunities. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing in a franchise or business opportunity. That should include reviewing the company's legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to former and current franchisees/licensees/dealers.
Updated: December 12th, 2022