Re: What's wrong with dive industry economics?

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on November 21, 2000 at 11:15:12:

In Reply to: What's wrong with dive industry economics? posted by Kendall Raine on November 21, 2000 at 10:24:02:

(Kendall Raine wrote) Why is it you guys can't get paid for the high quality product you produce?

Ecxcellent question. I'll be very interested to hear not only what other store owners may say, but to get consumer reactions to our comments.

Some quick bullet points:

1. The general business model of the industry is flawed. We bring people in to teach them to dive, create divers, give them a c-card that basically says they never need us again, and wonder why we don't see them. We are constantly re-inventing our customer base because our industry is excellent at training divers but many stores offer few enticements for the certified diver who will form the core of the business.

2. We've discussed ad nauseum the problems with shorter classes producing less comfortable divers who don't stay with the sport, leading us to have to develop new customers (see #1).

3. However, more classes (IMHO) isn't the answer. People don't get into this sport to be able to take more classes, they get involved to experience the ocean.

4. There is no planned obsilesence (sp?) in our sport, expect for airfills. The gear we sell you today (especially regs, BCs, etc.) will last you a LONG time.

5. Macho attitude is still very prevalent and scares people away.

6. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are a cult. When someone says they'd like to dive once or twice, we scornfully tell them that they either have to join the cult (get certified) or go away.

7. Too many shop owner/oprators are not good business people and are not concerned with (or care about) making a profit. On top of that, some store owners are only too happy to go out of their way to screw over a competitor (see #5 & #9) and are willing to lose money to do it.

8. Too many shops think the only way to compete is on price. ("Live by price, die by price.")

9. Too much testosterone results in too much mud-slinging (see #5) which produces NAUI vs. PADI, DIR vs. non-DIR, I'm-better-than-you, that-shop-sucks, etc., etc.

10. And last but certainly not least (and this will sound incredibly self-serving but there's too much truth to it): "Diving is an expensive adventure sport that seems to attract the cheapest SOBs in the world." Everybody thinks THEY deserve a discount and everyone's convinced that the shop owners are making a killing.

Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, Ca.

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