How Big Blue Swim School Creates Industry-Leading Edge For Franchise Partners

by SwimSwam Partner Content Off

December 08th, 2020 Learn to Swim

Courtesy: Big Blue Swim School

Founded by five-time US National Champion, and former American record holder swimmer Chris DeJong, Big Blue Swim School is emerging as a leader in the $3 billion per year swim school industry with best-in-class consumer offerings, leadership expertise, a strong franchise owner support infrastructure, and a strategic growth plan to reach 150 units by 2021. Through these differentiators, Big Blue Swim School has established itself as a valuable investment in a fast-growing segment.

In addition to DeJong, Big Blue’s depth of corporate leadership provides significant value for the franchise partners, stacked with experience and talent much deeper than other emerging franchise brands. Scott Sanders, who has decades of experience working with technology companies at the executive level, has been leading the charge as CEO of Big Blue with plans to grow the brand to 150 locations by 2021. Chief Development Officer Scott Thompson has nearly two decades of experience in franchising, franchise development and executive management, and is a Certified Franchise Executive.

In early 2019, former PepsiCo Director of Global Innovation, Brooke Mallick, joined Big Blue as VP of Marketing and former Premium Service Brands and College Hunks Hauling Junk executive Justin Waltz joined as VP of Franchise Operations. Other team members include Michael Chin, President of Real Estate Services, who heads a team of real estate professionals; Ashley McKenzie, who works as field support to franchise partners across all functions; and Dennis Campbell, VP of Franchise Development.

“The leadership team is extremely knowledgeable about franchising and it shows in their approach to all aspects of operations—they are bringing a next level experience and opportunity to us as the franchise partner,” said Wendy Skaalerud, who, with her husband, Erik, has signed on to open multiple Big Blue pools in Denver, Colorado. “Whether it be real estate, operations or technology, Big Blue is exceptional at building teams and it shows in each of the divisions we have had the opportunity to work with.”

With this leadership expertise, the Big Blue executive team has thoughtfully planned a path to lead its franchise partners to success. For example, Big Blue’s cloud-based enterprise system, LessonBuddy™, is one of the many reasons the Big Blue investment opportunity is ideal for multi-unit and semi-absentee franchise partners looking to maximize their time and their capital. LessonBuddy creates an entire cloud-based business management platform so franchise partners can operate successful schools without needing a daily presence.

Big Blue’s approach to real estate is another way the brand leverages its expertise to help pool owners. When a franchise partner joins the brand, the real estate team analyzes more than 30 data points to determine where to locate a pool to best position it for success. Throughout the process, the team provides site selection, construction, technology and marketing assistance. With this proven support, franchise partners are free to focus on creating an undeniably great customer experience.

As an award-winning marketer of consumer brands, Mallick and her team put the franchise partner’s investment to work, delivering both pre- and post-opening support. The program has refined customer acquisition and retention to ensure long-term success. The franchisor handles all online and local lead generation for the new pool using the brand’s proprietary New Pool Opening (NPO) system from four months prior to the grand opening through the initial four months of operation.

As a franchisor, Big Blue also handles all of the inbound and outbound phone calls through a U.S.-based member services center, alleviating front desk staff of roughly 20,000 calls annually. The brand also provides national and local community marketing implementation and public relations support, as well as help in the execution of a fully integrated, 360-degree local pool marketing playbook.

For ongoing operational support, Big Blue has a designated franchise support team that offers monthly support calls to track business progress, on-site training and continuing education for licensing compliance, IT support and training, technology development support, and more.

With expert brand leadership and an exceptional ongoing support infrastructure, Big Blue franchise partners have the chance to be a part of the next franchise success story.

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


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

Big Blue Swim School is a SwimSwam Partner. 

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