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Meet a franchisee who’s big in the swim school business

Meet a franchisee who’s big in the swim school business

Kim Pinnington has nurtured the Puddle Ducks franchise model to gain the best returns

Franchise company Puddle Ducks is the leading expert in baby and child-led swimming for 0-10 years old. Across the UK, it teaches over 21,000 babies and children to swim, to be safe and develop water confidence every week via a network of 34 dedicated franchisees.

Even with the unexpected arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect it has had, 2020 was proving to be a successful year for the franchise. It’s highlighted the strength of the Puddle Ducks network and how it’s pulled together during this difficult time.

Key to success

Puddle Ducks’ key to success is ensuring the success of its franchisees. The expertise, pastoral care and investment provided from head office is focused on two things: sustainably building a nationally loved and trusted brand and helping each franchisee achieve what they want and need from their business.

The company’s approach has led to national awards for its franchise support, innovation in its field and national marketing.

Safe career path

Franchise owner Kim Pinnington has seen her franchise go from strength to strength and is well positioned to continue this trend. Kim had been a Puddle Ducks customer for several years before she decided to leave behind her career in banking and dive into the swim school business.

Now, three years on, her financial background and personal experiences have stood her in good stead. She has expanded from one large franchise region into two and her business is growing all the time, while still affording her the opportunity to be around for her young family.

“From the beginning, Puddle Ducks felt like a safe career path, even though I didn’t have a background in swimming,” Kim says. “I’d taken my children to Puddle Ducks swimming lessons and found them so valuable as a place for the kids to learn important skills and for me to meet other parents.

“I, of course, did my research and just knew that Puddle Ducks was the right franchise for me. I wanted a business that challenged me, but that was meaningful and had longevity. Puddle Ducks provides all of this with its strong brand and ethos, a loyal customer base and a constant influx of new customers.”

Return on investment

With increased customer numbers and profitability, a streamlined operation and success in all key performance indicators, Kim has shown how the franchise model can be nurtured to gain the best returns - returns that rival any professional career, with 30 per cent of the network achieving net profit of over six figures in 2019-20.

Kim adds: “We have a knowledgeable and dedicated head office team and my fellow franchisees are always willing to share their knowledge and experience, which is precisely the reason I ventured into franchising rather than venturing out on my own.

“When I discovered the earning potential of a Puddle Ducks franchise and how I could manage both my work and family life, I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do. I’m very proud to put my name to this business that I get so much from, both as a customer and now as a member of the Puddle Ducks family.”

At a glance Puddle Ducks


2002. Franchised 2007

Number of franchised outlets:


Location of units:

across the UK

Investment range:

£24,000 (plus VAT) plus working capital

Minimum required capital:

approximately £5,000 (plus VAT) personal investment


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