It is a sad fact that in the UK 1/3rd of Children leave Primary school unable to swim 25m. Swimming is the only sport that can save your life and is part of the National Curriculum – teaching children to swim is both a highly rewarding and a vital service to our communities.
Swimtime is an award winning, Learn To Swim Franchise. Founded in 1998, Swimtime is one of the largest Learn To Swim providers in the UK teaching 20,000 children to swim every week. Children progress through our own Learn to Swim Programme, the first to be endorsed by the ISSA (International Swim School Association).
Proud to be a full member of the bfa (British Franchise Association), an organisation responsible for setting high standards for UK franchising, Swimtime are looking to expand our family of Franchisees to reach even more people.
Swimtime franchisees benefit from using award winning technology that is key to them running efficient, profitable businesses that deliver a valued service to their community. With cutting edge online booking for customers and powerful profitability analysis, our digital platform takes care of most of the administration, allowing Swimtime franchisees to create a better work life balance, running their business around their family at times that suit them best.
The Swimtime Franchise journey starts with our extensive, individually tailored training, that covers everything you need to know. Whether you are an experienced swim teacher or come from a corporate background our Franchisees leave the initial training with a 90-day plan that ensures their business is good to grow from day one. The tailored training ensures Franchisees are equipped with the skills they need, to develop their business, manage key relationships between swimming pools, many of which are provided under exclusive network wide agreements, and independent swimming teachers and clients. A Swimtime franchisee will focus their efforts on planning growth using our digital tools to make the best use of their resources.
It is not essential to have prior knowledge of swimming or teaching, in fact some of our most successful Franchisees came from commercial, non-aquatic backgrounds. Although being a qualified swimming teacher is not a requirement, should you wish to qualify, this can be completed in a few weeks enabling you to experience first-hand the joy that passing on this vital life skill brings to families throughout the UK.
Swimtime have been teaching children, adults and babies to swim since for 22 years and has been franchising for 18 years. Our network of exclusive territories cover the UK and Northern Ireland with a number of territories available for sale.
Swimtime are extremely proud to have won the International Customer Experience Award 2019 for Digital Transformation as well as 2 awards at the 2019 Digital Experience Awards.
Swimtime offer an initial intensive and extensive, week of training delivered by the Senior Team at the Shrewsbury Office. The franchisee leaves with a plan which ensures they start their business focused, and in the best possible position to grow. There is a 3 month and 6 month follow up, and an ongoing annual business review. Support from the Central Support Team is provided throughout the lifetime of a franchise, as and when required.
As a Swimtime Franchisee you won’t get bored! Each day there are a variety of activities to focus your efforts on to ensure your business meets your needs, ranging from marketing, customer service and finance. Franchisees also work with swim teachers, customers, pool owners and pool operators.
I have been working with Swimtime for 14 years. For five years I was teaching swimming every day of the week and then took on an administration role for my franchise area office. In 2011 I had an opportunity to buy a Swimtime franchise and continue to grow the business in my area. I knew that ongoing support from Central Office would be offered and with that in mind felt this was a fantastic exciting challenge to take.
Each day is different and generally involves answering emails and phone calls for new and existing clients, planning and organising new courses, looking for sites and recruiting teachers. Most importantly I like to have contact with swimming teachers and club managers to ensure the swim programmes are running to the highest possible standards.
My biggest challenge was in the first three months of taking on the franchise, I lost three venues which meant finding new pools to transfer swimming programmes to. Now I have a busy swim programme and have built up Swimtime’s reputation in the Midlands region.
If you are thinking of buying a franchise, you must be passionate about the business, be self-motivated and willing to work seven days a week to see results.
My future plans are to continue to grow my franchise area to enable me to have a bright and comfortable future.
I chose Swimtime because it was an opportunity to run my own business. Owning a Franchise meant I would receive full support from the Franchisor and Central Office team. This is the benefit of Franchising with a company whose reputation continues to grow through a high-quality national brand.
I was at a crossroads in my career in Customer Service at the time. My background was in retail and although I was new to the swimming industry my business and customer experience was very relevant and beneficial. I am passionate about offering the best quality swimming lessons and highest possible levels of service to every one of our customers.
Every day is different and subject to change, so flexibility is vital! I communicate with customers, instructors and club managers daily either face to face or by phone and keep on top of everything that is happening. I have great support in the office too which is so important. This enables me to also focus on all other aspects of my business - future growth opportunities, marketing, recruitment, accounts.
The main challenges are juggling all my responsibilities and seeking opportunities for growth in a difficult economic environment. I look after a large geographical area so prioritising and understanding different demographics and local economies is also a challenge.
I would advise anyone thinking about buying into a franchise to research the market fully. Look at the company, product and opportunity before investing. I am definitely a supporter and am so glad that I took the chance to do something for myself and my family. I am fully focussed because it is my business. The development of my Swimtime Franchise, its reputation and success is all down to me!
“I chose the Swimtime franchise because the model was already a proven national success within the leisure industry. Having experienced isolation and lack of support in the past, the initial and on-going support was very appealing. Combining this with a strong brand who are determined to innovate our industry, investing heavily in technology, child incentives and training, made Swimtime an easy yet exciting choice.
Ten years on, things have never looked brighter, or more exciting! We have pushed through the milestone of 1,200 customers, and we are now holding lessons in 16 pools across Scotland.”
I chose the Swimtime franchise opportunity because this particular business model was already a proven national success within the leisure industry. Having experienced isolation and lack of support in the past, the initial and ongoing support on offer was very appealing and this combined with a strong brand, I knew we could make it a success. I did my homework and identified that in our particular area there is a high demand for the product we were investing in and having experienced the product first hand, over a period of time, our confidence grew, and we knew that the model would work for us in Scotland. We also identified that we could provide a better product and service when compared to our competitors. So, having done the research we started our franchise in July 2009.
Today the challenges we face on a day-to-day basis haven’t changed since Day One – it is just that the scale is different. With this franchise business you can’t lose sight of the fact that as the number of customers grows, and more and more lessons are available in a wider range of locations, every individual has their own needs and is there to learn a valuable, enjoyable life skill. That is your responsibility to deliver that to them, but if you get that right, the sense of satisfaction in a job well done, and of ‘giving something back’ to communities is great!
Although at the start of our journey we spent several days training at Swimtime UK central office, learning about the systems and processes, coupled with two days on the road with the Franchisor establishing contacts within new and existing clubs, it was clear that nothing could be given to you on a plate. From the outset we have been very happy with the level of the support from the Franchisor and the central office, and the advice and understanding they can provide having been in the industry for over 20 years – but it is your responsibility as a franchisee to make the best use of the resource and build a viable business. For example, we were unknown in Scotland so have had to make use of social media tools and be quite savvy about how we built up a customer base that would trust us and continue to use Swimtime.
Swimtime UK Ltd is continuing to expand as a business with more franchises becoming available. For anyone considering buying any type of franchise I'd say it is paramount that you talk to existing franchisees about their business and the challenges they face. Then look at the product itself, the branding, the selling points and the viable longevity. Be honest and realistic in your expectations and be passionate about your product.
But the most important piece of advice that I could give is be prepared to work hard. By applying 100% effort right from the beginning and by making the most of the support provided by our central office the franchise has been a great investment of time and money for us. The future goals are quite simple; to continue to grow the business by consistently delivering outstanding customer service, increase the number of swimmers, and attract more great Independent Swimming Teachers!”