5 new JUMP! Swim Schools set to rebuild image

By Nick Hall | 18 Apr 2019 View comments

Embattled franchise JUMP! Swim Schools is making inroads on repairing its damaged image with a string of new site openings. Over the last five weeks, five new JUMP! Swim Schools have been added to the network.

The new JUMP! Swim Schools are located across New South Wales and Victoria, as well as one additional site in New Zealand.

The latest expansion couldn’t come at more poignant time for JUMP!. In January the franchise faced a barrage of media scrutiny, following reports in the Sydney Morning Herald of underpaid tradespeople and franchisees left in debt.

Response to reports

At the time, JUMP! Swim Schools managing director Ian Campbell slammed the allegations of unscrupulous behaviour as “inaccurate”. Now the franchisor is responding with a new plan to forefront franchisee satisfaction and profitability.

“We are really focused on bringing to a head all of the issues raised, as personally I believe reputation is built over the long term and we have a long way to go,” Campbell told Inside Franchise Business.

“We have invested in an engagement team which is tasked with increasing the transparency on those who are wanting to continue with the opening of their swim school franchise with clear KPIs measured against satisfaction.”

“Additionally, we have taken on a small number of new owners as a trial for what we hope to be a new process where we secure sites and approvals first before offering to a franchisee. We have worked with many parties to review our processes to try and protect future franchisees from the development timeframes.”

Allegation outcomes

Campbell also acknowledged that JUMP! was continuing to feel the effects of the harsh media attention. The franchisor revealed that despite the strong recent performance, some franchisees were still looking to exit, and certain disputes were ongoing.

“We have a number of franchisees looking to open their franchise and also a number that are seeking an exit ,which was well publicised at the time,” he said.

“We have been working through the best way to exit franchisees who are unhappy but there is no perfect outcome as by the stage of application rejection, the project cost is very high. Also, we are working with a range of bodies and advisors and are actively working to bring it all to a head so all parties can move on.”

Speaking of previous media reports, the JUMP! Swim Schools leader said it was sadly typical of the attention the franchising sector receives, particularly in the wake of the parliamentary inquiry.

“The media reports focused squarely on some challenges we are having in getting approvals for a small section of our network. We don’t see this as being a fair representation of our historical performance in delivering franchises,” he said.

The ACCC has sinced launched an investigation into the franchise brand, following a call to action from the Franchise Council of Australia.

New JUMP! Swim Schools

One of the major success stories coming out of the new JUMP! Swim Schools expansion is latest site at Rozelle. Campbell revealed over 300 children were already pre-booked for the opening.

“Parents have been really supportive,” he said. “We have an amazing franchisee owner who is a local resident and driving the interest at a local level.”

Located in the old Zumbo’s patisserie café, the Rozelle swim school was also JUMP!’s most challenging build to date.

In a move symbolic of JUMP! itself, the franchise was able to breathe new life into the former retail space, which had sat defunct since the Zumbo chain fell into administration.

“We had a number of challenges to work through with the regulators particularly around disabled accessibility, airflow requirements, traffic management plans and additional council concerns,” Campbell said.

“We were able to overcome these eventually, however it took multiple certifiers and consultants to get this one across the line. Definitely one of our toughest developments in the past nine years but based on the performance and the motivation of our franchise owner, very much worth it.”

JUMP! Swim Schools future

Focusing on franchisee satisfaction and development, the managing director outlined a goal for the next 12 months.

“We have grown significantly in students count and increased the number of sites open which will continue to happen over the next 12 months,” he said.

“We want will continue to expand our footprint over the next 12 months and set towards our next milestone of 250,000 children per month.”

A public hearing into JUMP! Swim Schools is set to commence on Tuesday at the Sydney District Court.