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Getting Started with a Swim School Franchise

Erin Carpenter
Jan 31, 2019 12:07:39 PM

 

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Have you ever dreamt of owning a family business? Working together with your partner, teaching your children business skills and responsibility, and building a secure financial future for your family? That’s a dream Emily Healy and her husband shared, and they’ve realized it through franchise ownership. If you share that goal, you’ve got to hear their episode on the Franchise Rising Podcast!

Meet Emily Healy, British Swim School Franchisee

Emily HealyEmily Healy lives right here in North County San Diego, where our podcast is based, so we were so excited to connect with someone local with such a compelling story.

Emily used to work as a massage therapist, then decided to stay home when her two children were born. Motherhood was her primary job, taking care of her children and homeschooling them. Keeping a sense of stability was key since her family has moved a dozen times for her husband’s job.

She and her husband always dreamt of business ownership. They enjoy being leaders in their community, and wanted to have a hand in shaping a positive culture for others.

But, they never envisioned this happening through franchise ownership.

How Did Emily Become a British Swim School Franchisee?

“The way that we found from franchising was a bit of an accident,” Emily says, “We weren't necessarily looking to start a franchise. We were just interested in business ownership.”

She and her husband connected with Roxanne Rapske from FranNet at a community meeting, who gave them the idea to buy a franchise. Like many people exploring franchise ownership, they liked that a franchise came with built-in systems and processes. “We really liked the idea of starting a business that had a really good template for us and a lot of the kinks worked out, the best practices figured out,” Emily said.

Emily and her husband worked with Roxanne to explore different franchise opportunities. The main thing they wanted was a business that would involve their whole family (kids included), so that narrowed the pool pretty quickly.

British Swim School quickly stood out as a great option. Emily explains:

46501981_270791956972048_5558599420976562176_n“British Swim School was a standout as far as how organized they were, how developed their program is over 37 years. What really sets British swim school apart is both their program and then their focus on customer service. Coming from a customer service background, myself, I really had an idea in my head about what good customer service looks like. Seeing how British swim school really puts an emphasis on serving their customers while also staying true to their program - if you stick to the program there will be success - was something that really was a standout for them.”

She also liked the business’s mission - it’s a water survival and learn-to-swim program, initially focusing on safety and being able to survive in an emergency situation. This incredibly important mission (and great responsibility) resonated with Emily and her family, and aligned with their goal of making a positive impact on their community.

Emily’s Franchise Buying Process

All in all, her buying process took about a year. This was mostly because she had other responsibilities on her plate.

“My life was still carrying on, you know? And there were a lot of other things that we wanted to get solid and put in place before we took on this responsibility because we don't take it lightly,” Emily says, “We wanted to make sure we would be in a place where I could put in more time and more of myself into this business without being distracted with everything else.”

Once they were ready to go for it, they spoke to about 10 different franchisees during validation to get their perspective on their experiences.

She had lots of questions:

  • During the startup phase, how many hours were you putting in?
  • Was it flexible as far as what time of day you could do the work?
  • How long did it take you to get to cash flow positive?
  • How long did it take you to get to break even?
  • Now that you're a Franchisee, do you feel like you get a lot of support from corporate?
  • Do you feel like you get a lot of support from the other franchisees?
  • Is there a clear company culture? What is it?

45688691_264495007601743_1516775998459215872_nAfter that, they decided to attend Discovery Day at the British Swim School headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

They met Rita Goldberg, the founder, and much of her staff. Emily and her husband really enjoyed the time spent with them and felt like they learned a lot more about the business.

But even after Discovery Day, they weren’t quite ready to dive in. Both Emily and her husband are very introspective, so took some more time to think. Four months later, they decided to sign the franchise agreement.

British Swim School Carlsbad: A True Family Business

Has franchise ownership been everything Emily and her husband hoped it would be? Absolutely.

“It’s been great for my kids,” she says, “It’s been fun and exciting to listen to what they’re picking up… I’m so relieved and happy that it’s turning out to be what I hoped it would be - that it really is a family business.”

Some of the reasons they always wanted to be business owners was to have the freedom to spend more time together as a family and to be the ones calling the shots. So, Emily’s future business goals are centered around this vision and bringing it to their employees, as well.

“We want it to be a place where people can bring their kids so they don't have to take them to an outside daycare. We'd love for it to be a place where our kids come and hang out and their kids can come and hang out, and we really just have that culture. We want to help our employees lives the life they want to live and spend time with their families, enjoying their lives while we're saving lives and helping other people enjoy swimming.”

Freedom, helping others, and making an impact. It’s a theme we’ve heard many times before on the show, and one Emily and her family is now living each day.

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