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Big Blue Swim School's Proven Business Model Attracts Experienced Franchise Owners

The best-in-class swim school positions franchise partners for strong returns on their investment

Since its founding in 2009 by five-time U.S. National Champion swimmer Chris DeJong, Big Blue Swim School has delivered over 1.7 million swim lessons. Today the learn-to-swim brand is emerging as a leader in the lucrative swim school industry. With the backing of private equity group Level 5 Capital Partners, Big Blue Swim School has grown from five schools located in the Chicago area, to a brand with 81 franchise locations signed and in development across 18 states. Through its superior curriculum, proprietary enterprise technology, and strong growth trajectory, Big Blue has become a valuable investment in a fast-growing segment.

With differentiators like its proprietary enterprise system, LessonBuddy™, and a data-driven real estate strategy, Big Blue is setting a new standard for  the industry. Big Blue's proven business model, which includes optimized facility layout, turnkey operations, and significant leadership support, is further setting the brand apart from others in learn-to-swim space.

Big Blue offers the strong unit-level economics needed to disrupt the swim school segment. The total investment for one Big Blue pool ranges from $1,825,500 to $3,687,000. The average Big Blue location in operation for five years as of the end of the 2018 fiscal year reports EBITDA between 23% and  36%*, with an average EBITDA per location of nearly 30%, according to the brand’s 2019 Franchise Disclosure Document.

“Our franchise partners are buying into a proven system—and in our case, it’s a system that is backed by ten years of data, a track record of success, and a stacked leadership team committed to growing this brand the right way, with the right franchise partners,” said Big Blue CEO, Chris Kenny. “We don’t make money until our franchise partners make money, and we are laser-focused on building the strongest business model possible.” 

According to Wendy Skaalerud, who with her husband, Erik, signed on to open multiple Big Blue pools in Denver, Colorado the brand’s value proposition is one of the main reasons they were attracted to Big Blue Swim School. “We were introduced to Big Blue at a multi-unit franchise show,” Wendy said. “I was originally approached to assist with financing for the concept, but after further analysis we recognized the value of investing in the brand as franchisees. The team’s mission and values align extremely well with ours as they recognize that taking care of our people is the top priority. The leadership team is extremely knowledgeable about franchising and it shows in their approach to all aspects of operations—whether it be real estate, staffing, marketing, or technology.”

Big Blue’s franchising infrastructure is advanced for the learn-to-swim industry, giving franchise owners a clear path to becoming a leader in the swim lesson category. “The fragmented swim school industry is primed for a national player to emerge,” said Kenny. “We are that leader as Big Blue delivers strong, consistent returns to investors and franchise partners, with a proven business model and streamlined operations that are ideal for multi-unit and semi-absentee franchise partners looking to maximize their time and their capital.”

Big Blue’s valuable business investment offers access to a recession-resistant industry  because swim lessons will always be necessary, regardless of the economic environment. “Swim lessons are something every family needs, and Big Blue wants to provide the best instruction possible to families across the country,” said Kenny. 

The brand’s proven concept, winning business model and impressive early growth explains why Big Blue is well on its way to meeting its goal of growing to 150 units sold by 2021. With such a valuable investment, Big Blue is emerging as the leader in this underserved category.

Multi-unit franchise opportunities are available for qualified candidates looking for their next big franchise opportunity, and veterans can receive a 10 percent discount on the $75,000 franchise fee. The total investment for one Big Blue Swim School ranges from $1,825,500 to $3,687,000 (see item 7 in the FDD). 

To learn more or inquire about Big Blue Swim School’s profitable franchises, visit

*Figures reflect the actual annual gross revenue and annual EBITDA range for one affiliate-owned and operated Big Blue Swim School (operational for at least five full years as of December 31, 2017) during its 4th and 5th full 12 months of operation. These figures are published in Item 19 of our September 7, 2018, FDD. Item 19 of our FDD includes actual average and median annual gross revenue, annual expense, annual EBITDA, and other annual financial performance information for three affiliate-owned and operated Big Blue Swim Schools (operational for at least one full year as of December 31, 2017) during their 1st full 12 months of operation, for two of those three Swim Schools during their 2nd and 3rd full 12 months of operation, and for one of those three Swim Schools during its 4th and 5th full 12 months of operation. A new franchisee’s results may differ from the represented performance. There is no assurance that you will do as well, and you must accept that risk.