Seattle is famously the home of excellent coffee, grunge music and big business—and soon, it will also be home to Big Blue Swim School.
The children’s swim school franchise, with a curriculum focused on distance-based learning, is actively looking to add eight to 10 locations in the Emerald City, targeting the neighborhoods of Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Renton, Bothell and Everett.
What sets Big Blue Swim School apart from other top franchises is the brand’s hands-on approach to identifying real estate in a given market before trying to find the right fitness franchise partner in that area. This strategy significantly decreases the time it takes to open once the right partner is found. In addition to help finding the best real estate, Seattle franchisees will receive best-in-class corporate support, including pre-opening and ongoing training, lead generation and access to a franchisee marketing fund.
Scott Thompson, Chief Development Officer at Level 5 Capital Partners, the firm spearheading Big Blue’s franchise development, said that Seattle is a perfect region for the brand because of its strong economy and established market. “Seattle is a visionary city. Big Blue is more than a ‘version 2.0’ swim school—it’s a 3.0 swim school. As a forward-thinking community, Seattle is going to be very receptive to our concept and approach,” said Thompson.
With major companies like Amazon, Costco, and Microsoft headquartered in Seattle, so are skilled employees and their families. Though not densely populated, Seattle families care deeply about the welfare of their children, said Thompson.
“There are lots of working parents who are looking for someone to help keep their kids safe. Big Blue is the choice of millennial moms who want their kids to learn how to swim,” Thompson said, adding that 91 percent of all parents will at least try a swimming lesson for their children aged nine and under.
This expansion would create 20 to 30 full-time management, instructor and support staff jobs at each location. Parents love that Big Blue Swim School instructors are full-time child engagement specialists, adding another level of professionalism and comfort. This also results in low staff turnover, saving franchisees time and resources.
Millennial parents in Seattle will also enjoy the convenience of Big Blue’s proprietary Lesson Buddy app. Swimming lessons can be made easily and without parents having to make a phone call. Big Blue Swim School prioritizes flexibility, so parents can usually get more than one of their children in for lessons at the same time regardless of age or level.
The Lesson Buddy app is also beneficial for franchisees, who can rely on the technology for easy scheduling, allowing them to focus more on the day-to-day operations of their business. It also helps franchisees stay connected to overall company data and helpful resources, such as operational insights, class times analysis and even monitoring the chemical makeup of individual pools. Facility managers can easily be dispatched to locations to address issues and quickly conduct repairs.
“What Big Blue brings to the table is exactly what parents are looking for: not just basic safety, but safety in a warm, friendly, clean environment where the level of instruction is unmatched. And that opinion comes from taking my own kids to swimming lessons across the country over the years,” said Level 5 Operating Partner and VP of Real Estate Michael Chin.
According to Thompson, the ideal Big Blue franchisee is someone who loves children and swimming, has strong business and leadership skills, and enjoys building teams and having visibility in the community. Chin added that the ideal franchisee is someone who wants to provide comfort and safety to families in their own community. “Our franchisees are people who are passionate about making a difference at the local level. They care a lot, because at the end of the day, they’re truly changing people’s lives,” said Chin.
Big Blue Swim School offers discounts for female franchisees and veterans of the military. The total investment for one Big Blue Swim School location ranges from $1,787,500 to $3,646,000.