10 Questions Potential Big Blue Swim School Partners Should Ask On Dive-in Day

by SwimSwam Partner Content Off

December 14th, 2020 Learn to Swim

Courtesy: Big Blue Swim School

With plans to grow the brand through franchising to 150 units by 2021, Big Blue Swim School is quickly emerging as a leader in the fragmented swim school space. Big Blue Swim School’s distance-based curriculum, coupled with the available real estate in high-traffic areas, make it a standout franchise opportunity in the $3 billion swimming lessons segment.

For candidates seriously considering the franchise opportunity with Big Blue, Dive-in Day represents one of the final steps toward ownership. Dive-in Day is not meant to educate attendees or convince them to become a Big Blue franchise partner — it’s to reiterate what they have already learned through the discovery process. Franchise candidates leave these events  knowing this concept is second-to-none, confirming they will fill a critical need in their market, and truly understanding the exceptional opportunity the franchise offers.

To ensure candidates are positioned for turning Dive-in Day into Decision Day, they should arrive with important questions for the team. Here are a few thought starters.

“Who will I be working with at corporate?”

Dive-in Day is meant to introduce candidates to the Big Blue leadership team so they can quickly develop strong working relationships.

“Our participation in Dive-in Day allowed us to see how the senior management team works together,” said New Jersey-based Big Blue franchise partner Chris Burden. “The coherence of a company’s senior management team is a very important component of success, and I was impressed by how well the Big Blue team works together.”

According to Sam Abraham, a multi-unit Big Blue owner in New Jersey, the Dive-in Day experience is all about understanding the culture of the organization and meeting the team. “At some point, the decision to franchise comes down to the gut feeling about who you are getting involved with,” he said. “My wife and I felt that the Big Blue team was clearly head-and-shoulders above anyone else. It is also important to ask about who you will personally be interacting with and make sure they are present for your Dive-in Day.”

“What’s the vision of, and growth plan for, the brand?”

According to Dennis Campbell, Vice President of Franchise Development at Big Blue, when  meeting with the leadership team, candidates will develop a clear understanding of the past, present and future vision of the Big Blue brand.

“Dive-in Day provides the opportunity to discuss Big Blue’s business model and growth strategy with senior management,” said Burden. “Being able to hear and ask questions about Big Blue’s growth plan firsthand was invaluable for getting a much deeper understanding of the business opportunity and of Big Blue’s competitive advantages in the marketplace.”

“How will I find the right real estate?”

Prospective franchise owners have the opportunity to dive more deeply into the actual market and territory they’ve selected with the real estate team, as well as the information and data behind the selection of a specific site.

“It is important candidates develop a close working relationship with the real estate team as they play a key role in the location process,” said Campbell. “We want prospects to know they are in good hands because our team understands the intricacies of the sites we select. Don’t attend Dive-in Day for convincing purposes — attend for affirmation and to get into different moving parts at a more granular level, such as site selection.”

“Is my market scalable?”

Big Blue franchise candidates should be prepared to discuss how their specific market is scalable and why the team has chosen that market for growth.

“Our data-driven real estate strategy and dedicated team predetermines exactly where we predict our pools will perform well in a given market. Our team sources locations so the franchise partner doesn’t have to. We use analytics to identify the best location in the path of least resistance for families in the area,” said Campbell. “At Dive-in Day, we give candidates the opportunity to better understand the scalability in their particular market. We want candidates to ask whatever questions they need to in order to see beyond the single unit opportunity and envision the path to multi-unit ownership.”

“How does the brand leverage technology?”

In many ways, Big Blue is a technology company operating in the swim school space. Candidates should be prepared to learn more about the future impact that technology will have on the brand’s business model and how that will promote scalability at the unit level.

“Technology, specifically our proprietary enterprise system LessonBuddy™, plays a large role in supporting day-to-day operations and staffing,” said Campbell. “At Dive-in Day we show candidates how this technology works and how it will support them into the future. If candidates have questions or feel unsure about any of the technological aspects, it is important to ask more about it.”

“What kind of support will I receive?”

Prospective franchise owners will interact with several departments during Dive-in Day, including operations, marketing, real estate and more. “Ask each department about their playbook, guidebooks, curriculums, and training resources offered,” said Campbell. “Understanding how each department supports franchise owners allows for a more confident decision. Candidates have a captive audience during Dive-in Day, and they should take advantage of that.”

According to Burden, Dive-in Day allowed him to see the robust suite of support that Big Blue offers. “It was clear the team really provides support from day one, whether it be with site selection, construction, new pool opening, staff training, marketing or ongoing operations,” he said.

“What will my day-to-day role as an owner look like?”

According to Burden, this is one of the most important questions a prospect should ask. “During the tour, candidates should be prepared to ask about every aspect of the swim school’s operations,” he said. “Visiting an operating Big Blue swim school was critical for me to gain the confidence in the Big Blue business model and decide to become a franchise owner.”

As Campbell notes, Dive-in Day is really about allowing candidates to see themselves in the Big Blue space as a franchise owner, and understanding how active they will be in the day-to-day operations is a major part of that equation.

“How does the pool’s mechanical room work?”

Having an opportunity to tour a pool and check out the pump room gives candidates an opportunity to see how the business is run. “You cannot replace seeing pools in person — prospects are able to ask questions about aspects they’ve never had experience with, such as the mechanics of a pump room,” said Campbell.

Burden notes the site visit to an operating Big Blue pool was invaluable in analyzing the opportunity and the specifics of the swim school space. “Seeing the pool and the pump room were critical for me to fully understand what it would actually mean to open a Big Blue pool,” he said.

“What can I do to be successful in the business?”

While prospective franchise owners are collecting information at Dive-in Day, the Big Blue team is also developing an understanding of the human being and creating a clear line of sight into why Big Blue will be a great opportunity for that candidate. Having an open dialogue with the leadership team ensures franchise candidates understand what they can personally do for the system and how they will be successful with the business.

“I believe Dive-in Day is an interview process,” said Abraham. “Both parties are cultivating a relationship with each other in order to make sure they have all the information required to build a successful enterprise. Understanding these factors and the goals of the franchise is the key to a strong business.”

According to Campbell, candidates should go into Dive-in Day with a clear understanding and pre-approval on the funding side. “We don’t want candidates going into Dive-in Day wondering how they will fund the project,” he said. “We help them at the beginning of the process to get pre-approval of the project and we can help them understand when the capital is required and when they can move forward.”

“How will I hire and train staff?”

Unlike other brands, Big Blue employs only full-time swim associates who receive competitive benefits. This results in low turnover and higher customer satisfaction. Prospective franchise owners should come to Dive-in Day prepared to discuss how our teams are hired and trained and how involved they will be in that process.

Observing the pools in action, including the management teams and swim associates, was integral to my decision to franchise with the brand and gave me a deeper understanding of the staffing and training required,” said Burden.

With solid answers to these questions, prospects will leave Dive-in Day with a clear understanding of the next steps in the commitment stage of the process. Dive-in Day is designed to confirm what prospects have already learned through the education stage and move them toward signing and getting ready for market. If candidates come to Dive-in Day with this in mind, it will be a valuable experience and result in a clear decision to sign.

The total investment necessary to begin operation of a new Big Blue Swim School is $2,329,223 – $3,636,998, (refer to item 7 in FDD). To learn more or inquire about Big Blue Swim School franchise opportunities, visit http://YourBigMomentStartsHere.com.


Big Blue Swim School was founded in 2009 by competitive swimmer Chris DeJong. The first location opened in Wilmette, Illinois, followed by four additional Chicagoland schools. In 2017, Level 5 Capital Partners acquired a stake in the brand. Through that investment, Big Blue plans to grow through franchising to 150 pools by 2021. Big Blue Swim School’s real estate expertise, strong brand, proprietary technology, and leadership support, coupled with its best-in-class consumer offerings, position its franchise partners for long-term success. To learn more about franchise opportunities with Big Blue Swim School, visit http://YourBigMomentStartsHere.com.

Big Blue Swim School is a SwimSwam Partner. 

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