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How Big Blue Swim School’s Cloud-Based Technology Platform Creates a Turn-Key Business Model

The swim school franchise’s proprietary enterprise system creates a cloud-based franchise that elevates the swim school model through data-driven solutions, streamlined management capabilities, and more.

Since the first location opened in 2009, Big Blue Swim School has operated as “both a swim lesson company and a software company,” according to Founder Chris DeJong. The swim school brand’s proprietary enterprise system LessonBuddy™ is built in the cloud to provide franchise partners and customers access to a platform that is accessible anywhere, always current and adaptable to new software updates. This allows franchise partners to scale their business, easily manage operations and ensure that all members have the best experience possible.

As cloud-based technology becomes more necessary, this unparalleled tech stack is one of the reasons Big Blue Swim School is positioned to become a market leader in an underserved and fragmented swim school industry valued at $3 billion annually. 

“Big Blue has been able to disrupt the swim school space by developing our cloud-based enterprise system that is specifically designed to deliver a best-in-class swim lesson experience for our families while providing real-time information for our associates and franchise partners,” said Big Blue Chief Technology Officer Casey Morford. 

When it comes to the consumer, LessonBuddy is a sophisticated self-service solution, providing parents with immediate and productive feedback on their child’s progress. Parents can hop on the app from anywhere and schedule or reschedule lessons with the tap of a finger on their mobile device or tablet. This innovative tool allows parents to interact with Big Blue at any time, providing ultimate convenience.

“Parents are often stressed out by the scheduling process, especially if they’re trying to schedule lessons for multiple children at the same time,” said Morford. “In addition to our optimized pool capacity planning, LessonBuddy helps overcome these challenges by offering the ability to schedule any number of students at the same time in just a few clicks without requiring complicated spreadsheets or calendars.”

Operating in the cloud means that Big Blue’s features are the same everywhere. “While we may tailor the user experience for internal or external use, a uniform, cloud-based process makes the experience better for parents whether they’re at the pool, on the phone or on our website using our self-service portal,” said Morford.

For pool owners, LessonBuddy creates easy and efficient management of day-to-day business operations—franchise partners have access to KPIs and can track spending and ROIs to promote a healthy business. “Our proprietary, cloud-based enterprise resource planning software allows us to run a high-scale, high-margin model at a market price point,” said DeJong. “There are also several additional components available to internal operations to facilitate the day-to-day operations, such as staff and resource scheduling, reporting and CRM optimization.”

The streamlined operations are certainly not the only benefit of cloud-based technology. “The power of Big Blue’s enterprise system is securely available anywhere there is an internet connection,” said Morford. “The beauty of the cloud is that our consumer data and analytics are centrally stored and analyzed, which gives our franchise partners intelligence to help them make important business decisions on the spot.” 

The cloud-based technology of 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 by enabling franchise partners to operate successful pools without being on-site every day.

Big Blue’s LessonBuddy platform allows easy integration with other cloud-based vendor applications, and the IT team can adapt and scale the technology platform to accommodate future trends and the needs of franchise partners as they grow. Plus, unlike other franchisors, Big Blue franchise partners don’t need to worry about building a tech stack on their own. Big Blue covers two percent of the tech fees, while the franchise partner covers the other two percent.

“We’re able to unite the most important functions of our business model into one in-house technology system, which is impossible to find with a third-party platform,” said Morford. By keeping it all in-house, an unprecedented depth of consumer data and analytics is accessible throughout the entire franchise network. 

“Overall, investing heavily in innovative software means that there is an infrastructure that one normally wouldn’t see in emerging brands,” said DeJong. “A good chunk of the franchise partners’ diligence is validated before opening their pool because the LessonBuddy platform has already proven to be successful.”

Big Blue’s technology offering isn’t the only factor that sets the brand apart. With a strong board of directors, a best-in-class product, a targeted growth model and data-driven real estate selection, Big Blue is well on its way to meeting its goal of 150 units in development by 2021

Multi-unit franchise opportunities are available for qualified candidates looking for their next big opportunity, and veterans can receive a 10 percent discount on the $80,000 franchise fee. The total investment necessary to begin operation of a new Big Blue Swim School is $2,329,223 to $3,636,998 (refer to item 7 in FDD). To learn more or inquire about Big Blue Swim School, visit