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Swimming isn't just an enjoyable sport, it's also a life skill, especially here in Australia where we're lucky to have beautiful weather for much of the year. If you're passionate about being in the water, launching your own swimming school business could be a profitable venture.
In this guide, we have compiled all of the financial, legal and other considerations you'll need to start a successful swim school.
A swim school business operates by offering swimming lessons. These lessons can span from teaching children how to stay afloat to training professionals seeking to participate in competitions.
Plan your swim school business before jumping in the deep end. This will ensure you're clear on the business objectives and whether you need to secure any qualifications before getting started.
The first step to starting a business is to create a business plan. A business plan for a swim school business might contain the following:
In Australia, there are two nationally recognised organisations you can train with to become a swimming instructor. These include:
Both of these institutions provide nationally-recognised training courses including entry-level courses suitable for those with no prior qualifications. They also offer extension courses for already-accredited swimming instructors to progress their skills.
If you'll be teaching kids, you must attain a Working With Children Check (WA, VIC, NT), Working With Vulnerable People Check (ACT), Working With Children Registration (TAS) or Blue Card (QLD) depending on which state you're in.
The next step is to choose the right structure for your business. This will determine who has responsibility for making big decisions, who is liable for the company's debts and your tax obligations.
There are three common business structures in Australia. Here's a quick explanation of each:
Once you've decided on a business structure, you'll need to choose a business name and register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). Check your business name is available using ASIC's business names register search tool. If you choose a company structure, you'll also be provided with an Australian Company Number (ACN).
If your annual business turnover is $75,000 or more, you're legally required to pay GST on all sales. PAYG instalments must also be made on behalf of any staff you employ.
Before attracting your first customers, you'll need to have certain legal documents in place first. These documents are important to keep your business and customers protected.
Here are some of the main legal documents you'll want to think about:
To help protect yourself, your business and your clients from risk, it's important to have insurance policies in place. These may include professional indemnity insurance, public liability insurance and income protection insurance.
The most significant piece of equipment you'll need to run a swim school is a pool. As these are expensive to construct, you'll likely want to hire one. Make enquiries with commercially-run swimming pools, school pools, hotel pools or even a suitable private domestic pool to find a venue for your new business.
You'll also need equipment including:
Ask your students to bring their own swimming costume, towel and goggles.
By the time you've set up your business structure and invested in equipment, you'll be ready to start marketing your business. There are various methods to attract your first customers, including:
Rates for swimming lesson instructors vary depending on factors including location, year of experience and education. Typically, swimming lesson instructors charge an hourly rate between $15 and $30.
A good indicator of how much to charge customers is to find out what competing swimming schools are charging via their websites. When determining your pricing, you'll want to factor in all running costs including pool hire, staff wages and equipment purchases.
How do I advertise my swimming lessons business?
To attract potential students, some tools you'll want to use to spread the word about your new services include a business website, social media platforms, community noticeboards, and school newsletters.
How often should I recommend my students take lessons?
For beginner swimmers to progress at a solid rate they will need lessons two or more times per week. However, remember that it may not be possible for everyone to budget or find the time for multiple lessons each week. When you're starting out, it's a good idea to be flexible with your lesson plan offering so you can bring in more students.
What's a good age to start swimming?
There's no decisive answer but generally, the sooner, the better. According to the Australian Swimming Coaches & Teachers Association, being introduced to the water at an early age is beneficial for muscle and coordination development for babies. The earliest children typically start swimming lessons is when they are around 3 to 4 years old.Back to top
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