Class Costs – Price or Value?

Let’s face it we have all see a shop with a $99 open water course and you think to yourself “…There is no way I can compete with that…”  So it starts with knowing your customer and your market.  Check out this Article (What makes your shop different) for more on knowing your market.  But in general shops that offer these deals are either looking to stimulate gear sales or people walking into the door.  But let’s face it the potential customer that only comes into your shop for the $99 certification is going to shop for the best price for their next certification and likely buy gear online.  So unless you have a great sales team that can convert that customer and instructors that can upsell, it is a losing proposition.

I hear all of the time that you cannot be a full time dive pro and make any money.  However, I know multiple dive pros that diving is their full time job and they are not a dive shop owner.

It comes down to price and value.  If you sell a course for $99 most business owners will try to minimize the time they spend on that class or only offer larger classes etc. to make it “…worth their time.”  Did you just lose money hoping to sell some gear?  Repeat loyal customers is the key.  And how do you get a keep repeat loyal customers?  It is about trust and building a relationship and starts with providing great value.

Let’s look at the Open Water Course.  This is often the first time a new diver will experience SCUBA, but if they continue to dive and return to your shop is all about their experience. With an open water course you have training materials, pool time, rental gear, air fills, insurance, instructor pay and more.  If you want to increase profits build a reputation of going above and beyond.  If you in a cold water area combine Open Water and Dry Suit specialty together.  Not only does this give you a potential sale of a Dry Suit but will allow the diver to dive more and they will likely buy more gear if they can do it more than once a year.  We all know that the agencies have minimum standards and most require 4 OW dives why not promote that your students get more dives than any other shop.  There is a shop that after divers complete the 4 OW dives every student has the opportunity to do a 1 on 1 dive with a DM or instructor and takes them deeper than they experience on a training dive.  Instructor can watch over them while they experience the deeper depth as well as the student gets one on one time to work on trim, or whatever that student needs to work on.

Dive pros bot independent and shops need to learn how to sell on value.  Sales and promotions are fine but if you’re going to be successful low price usually means high volume.  That may work if you have a huge tourism draw because there is little time to attract the customer and cost id often a big factor but even then most are still looking up a Dive resort, Charter services reputation online prior to traveling.