It's the american way, but not necessarily the right way...

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Posted by Gerry on November 21, 2000 at 16:24:47:

In Reply to: Re: What's wrong with dive industry economics? posted by kelphead on November 21, 2000 at 15:10:00:

to teach a sport where your life can hang in the balance.

Buzo whacked the nail, but only caught it a glancing blow. Heavy competition IS the proximate cause of low cost dive instruction. Students price shop all the time without regard to course content. But why is the competition so heavy? Well, lots of reasons come to mind, but here are the (IMO) biggies:

1 - It's an adventure sport, frequently done in very pleasant surroundings and with very pleasant people. Therefore we attract practitioners who are willing to sacrifice income for involvement.
"What? You want me to live in a tropical paradise and teach bikini-clad young ladies/hunky dudes to dive??? Where do I sign and how much do I have to pay you???"

2. Agencies maximize their income by maximizing the number of certs. They benefit by short simple classes because that increases the number of certs. In addition, by dumbing down the leadership level courses you raise the number of instructors, leading to increased competition, leading to cheaper classes, leading to more certs. This is not a concious "evil John C." thing, just a very darwinian "survival of the cheapest because the students flock to low prices" paradigm (always did want to use that word!) There are now and have been in the past attempts to break out of this rut (GUE comes to mind) but none has achieved any kind of market penetration.

3. Shops see instruction as an effective loss leader. A student comes to the shop for a $99 entry level course but stays to spend another $2000 on gear. The shop did well in the overall transaction, but then everyone else has to compete that much harder.



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