Posted by Wayne on November 21, 2000 at 15:47:06:
In Reply to: Re: Up-front consumer education posted by kelphead on November 21, 2000 at 15:19:04:
The low cost is a big problem for the industry. The margins are not there for a small shop. The big high-volume retailer can cover their overhead on lower markup, but it is usually done at the expense of service. That service needs to include the continuing education and support of divers transitioning from newbie to dinosaur.
There is a local place that is only $200 for certification. They seem to do a decent job. I was told they are making less than $10 per student. I'll bet it is really less when they amortize their other expenses such as gear use costs. They want to have the new divers come back to buy from them. They know that the new diver is easily intimidated and will trust the instructors/assistants they met in class. Since these are the salesmen in the shop, they will get the gear business and shop loyalty.
They are giving the training away for nothing basically. And it harms the entire industry. The shop needs to charge enough to make a decent living on everything they sell or service. And the cost cutters out there create an artificially reduced perceived value on instruction.
As far as the pay for DMs and Instructors, I do not see this changing. The reason is simple supply and demand. If they can buy the service for peanuts, they should buy it for peanuts.
A couple of weeks ago I was offered a gig to dive with a visitor to So Cal. It was a boat trip with 4 dives. I was to meet this guy at the shop, help him get rental gear sorted out. Take him under my wing on the boat, and do 4 dives with him. I was to take full responsibility for his safety and happiness. The pay if I went? $75 and I would not have to pay my own way on the boat! Let's see, if I take the hours I would have spent including preparation and travel I would have at least 12 hours into this effort. 75/12=$6.25 per hour. Wear and tear on my gear, annual insurance premiums, etc. I was already diving with out of town friends that weekend, so I did not take the cool assignment. So why do folks like me do this? I dive 'cause I love it. I DM 'cause I love to help newbies learn to love our ocean as much as I do. Why did I become a DM in the first place? It seemed like a good program and I love to learn. And as long as I can make enough to pay the insurance, I will probably keep my active status.
Folks like me who have no financial interest in diving probably also screw it up for those who want to make a living at it.
Come to think of it, I am the problem with scuba diving!
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