Interview with CEO of British Swim School

If you’re a British Swim School franchisee chances are you don’t own your own pool.


“We don’t build pools,” says Chris Simnick, founder of Synergy Franchise Group, LLC.  While that might sound counterintuitive, it’s actually just one of the many important details Chris and British Swim School CEO Rita Goldberg have nailed down in the process of making British Swim School a successful franchise. As it turns out, owning your own pool increases your overhead costs due to maintenance, repairs and general upkeep.



The Beginning of The British Swim School


Rita Goldberg has always been a swimmer. Born in Manchester, England, the British Swim School’s chief executive officer was a national swimmer in Britain and later worked in England’s education system as a swimming instructor. She began giving swimming lessons independently and soon a light bulb went off—this was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.


Rita opened her first swimming instructional facility in 1981, after installing a swimming pool in the basement of a Victorian house, which according to Rita was “no small feat.” Within two months she had over 450 students and was operating at capacity. It was here that Rita took painstaking measures to develop standardized procedures to make swimming lessons both effective and fun for her students.


Growing, Growing, Growing


Ten years later, Goldberg moved to the United States. In 1993, she opened her first indoor swimming school in Coral Springs, Fla. and began implementing programs at other pool facilities in Marriot hotels and health clubs.


As the success of her swimming instruction classes grew, Rita turned to franchising to expand her business. “I knew I couldn’t do it all myself,” she said. Goldberg recognized in order to expand her business in a way that upheld the standards she had created she would need others that had a passion for swimming, children and teaching.


Rita enlisted the help of Chris Simnick, whom she’s aptly nicknamed “Guru,” to help her with the process. Simnick has over 30 years working with franchises; he’s been a franchisee, a franchisor, and an independent business owner.


Being a Franchisee


“We should prepare our franchisees to hear, “My child learned more today than a full summer of lessons!” from parents because we hear it so often,” says Goldberg.


Goldberg has done more than create a service that parents love; she’s developed a method of teaching children that appeals to them. “Children learn so much better when they’re having fun,” says Goldberg. It appears the British Swim School has found a way to integrate what both parents and children want. Today, there are 3,000 students taught at a British Swim School location in the U.S. in one week.


Though the franchise is fairly new, that hasn’t stopped British Swim School franchisees from experiencing tremendous success. One franchisee, located in Maryland, doubled in size in one summer; increasing the number of students she teaches from 250 to 500.


But it’s not all fun and games—there’s a tremendous amount of hard work that comes with the territory. The training process for a new British Swim School franchisee is rigorous. Hours are spent in the pool and also learning about the business model itself. “If the franchisee isn’t ready things don’t move forward,” says Rita.


That’s not to say the British Swim School’s management team isn’t supportive. “Unless we are good franchisors we won’t have good franchisees,” says Rita. That applies to more than just the training process. Whenever a franchisee is experiencing difficulty of one type or another or simply needs advice Rita herself and her team are more than happy to help.


The Business Model


“Rita’s successful track record validates her business model,” says Chris Simnick.


The possibility for a British Swim School franchisee to do well and “make a great wage,” as Rita says, is very high. First and foremost, franchisees don’t need to own a pool to become involved. Pool construction, as Rita knows, can be an expensive undertaking. Pool maintenance, upkeep and adherence to health codes are added concerns a franchisee doesn’t need to worry about with British Swim School.


All franchisees rent pool time from hotels, health clubs and similar organizations with the help of the British Swim School’s management team. Pools are selected with particular demographics in mind.


The beauty of the British Swim School’s model, aside from minimum costs to the franchisee, is the capability to move and follow clientele as neighborhoods change, students move, and pools undergo maintenance. Also, because of this fluidity, franchisees are able to generate income from multiple locations.


For Rita, it’s rewarding, “getting others to do equally well and watching others experience the same joy,” that she experiences from the success of the British Swim School.


It’s clear, however, that for Rita Goldberg, the success of her students remains the most rewarding aspect. “When you have a little one come in terrified one day and swimming laps the next, it’s a particular type of joy.”


If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a British Swim School franchisee we can help!