New to the sport (Purchasing Related)

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by RockyTop, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. RockyTop

    RockyTop Angel Fish

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    I am taking my OW class the 25th of this month. I have always wanted to this and cant wait.

    I am glad I found this board becuase there is a lot of good info to be found.

    I am kind of suprised by all the back and forth over buying from a LDS vs online shop however. I have never even looked at scuba gear before I signed up for the course. I was told I needed to purchase a mask, fins and snorkel. I would much rather buy from the lds. i dont like having to wait for stuff i purchase to arrive in the mail. I dont mind paying a little more to avoid online purchasing either.

    I knew the items would be more at the shop. I was thinking 10-20 dollars more maybe, so no big deal. Oh my was I off. The markup was between 50-70%.

    The fins I got would have cost me 109.00 at my dive shop. I got them for 52.00 at Leisure Pro. My dive shop didnt carry a snorkel that cost less than 40.00. Picked one up at LP for 14.00.

    I would love to buy my stuff at a local shop but with prices that much higher, I cant justify it at all.

    I guess I bring all this up just to give a newbie perspective. I didnt know how the industry operated until reading this board. Based on everything i have read I imagine i will rent my gear for some time.

    I know that I am not educated enough on the products to go online and buy my gear. At the same time, im not about to go into my dive shop and pay upwards of 3 times what I could purchase it for online.

    Again, I appreciate all the good info that is posted here. Wish me luck on my upcoming training.
     
  2. ShakaZulu

    ShakaZulu Great White

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Diego, CA
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    Support you local LDS, how are they supposed to survive............... Pros and cons, search, lots about this subject on SB.
     
  3. RockyTop

    RockyTop Angel Fish

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    I hope I am not going to get attacked too bad on this. Again, I understand the reasoning behind supporting your dive shop. However with prices that much higher, i could never justify it.

    Why cant the dive shops have prices that are a bit more competitive. I could have stomached paying about 75.00 for the fins. That would have been 20.00 more that LP. I could have lived with that and would have made the purchase. No way I was giving 100+

    I really really cant see spending 2 and 3 times the cost for the higher priced items like a bcd and reg.
     
  4. boney

    boney Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Toronto, ONT, Canada
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    I know how you feel RockyTop... sometimes I see some fairly big price differences just within local shops around here... there not as big as what you've described but enough to shop at another store.
    As for BC and regs... those I would definately get at a shop. I have mainly Aqualung stuff and if I bought it online I would void the warranty, not good especially since this stuff is supposed to be my life support down there. At the shop you also get to try it out before buying - this is the most important factor as it would suck if you bought a BC at LeisurePro and have it not fit only to wait another month (or however long it takes) to get another back. Then there is the servicing, hard for online shops to do... real hard.
    I'm not trying to tell you to buy everything from your LDS, nor am I saying you should buy everything online. Just pick and choose. For the small stuff like snorkels, fins, lanyards, lights, etc, your probably fine with an online purchase but for the life saving stuff I would go to your LDS...
     
  5. awap

    awap Giant Squid

    # of Dives:
    Location: Central TX
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    They can. They just have not had to yet. New divers with your level of knowledge are still fairly rare. At some point, you should talk to them about their prices and see if you can't work something out. Some will deal with you. But other may coerce, lie, and even blackball you. I hope you can find a good LDS. It's pretty hard to get started without one.

    I perfer to buy from a competetive LDs. But I can't think of any scuba gear I would not consider buying online.
     
  6. Rick Inman

    Rick Inman Advisor ScubaBoard Supporter

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    A friend of mine and newly certified diver went against my advice (which is normally a good bet) and bought a bunch of stuff off of EBay. It's working out well for the LDS 'cause they’re getting a bunch of service and repair work while still renting my friend gear. He hasn’t taken the dry suit in yet and won't, no matter how much it leaks, until he uses up the tube of Aqua Seal.
    Heres how it's going for him.

    Fins: Gee, those Aqualung fins LOOKED like full sized jet fins in the picture, but they're so SMALL (he's still using my back-up fins).
    Hood: Well, it's tight, but it works...
    Regulator: Complete overhaul due to salt and corrosion buildup.
    BC: Air2 repair. Brought it to dive and couldn't hook up the power inflator due to non-standard size coupler. Unable to orally inflate. Back in the shop.
    Dry Suit: So tight he can only get a pair on polys under it. Can't raise arms all the way up. Leaks (even after multiple self-repairs.

    Don't get me wrong. I bought a Mares M1 online, a FredT backplate and some misl. save-a-dive stuff. And I bought some used stuff locally, including my drysuit used out of a garage. However, IMHO, extreme caution is in order when making a purchase from other than your LDS (IOW, you'd better know what you're doing).
     
  7. PonyBottle

    PonyBottle Nassau Grouper

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    There is nothing wrong with purchasing dive gear from Leisure Pro or Scuba.com. I do however believe in supporting LDS.

    As far as Ebay...I dont do it.

    If there is something I want to purchase, I will see if it is available online first, check the price, than tell my LDS what I can get it for online, and see how close they can come to matching it.

    I admit I end up paying a little more than online, but I'm not being ripped off either. Plus I end up supporting LDS in the end...everybodys happy.

    Your LDS will work with you if you are knowledgeable and prepared to take your business online.

    Plus it helps to know that most high ticket items (cept tanks) usually have a 50% markup.
     
  8. DiverDunk

    DiverDunk Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: SoCal
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    I support my local dive shops but with that kind of price difference, my support would quickly wane. You may want to point out to them that you would like to support them and are willing to pay a slightly higher price but find the current price difference too great. Check out other dive shops in your area as well.


     
  9. Rick Inman

    Rick Inman Advisor ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Oh yeah!! I love getting prices online and watching my LDS dance (if he gets close, I buy from him, for example, my Oxycheq wings). I just wish I had a Leasure Pro hat to wear when I go in the shop. :eyebrow:
     
  10. Jason B

    Jason B Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NC
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    As for Leisure Pro purchases...they are a sponsor for this site so if you enjoy the site, throwing them some business. Of course the same holds true for your local dive shop. When they go under due to no sales, what are you going to do the day before a dive and you need a fin strap? Kind of a double edge sword.
     
  11. pt40fathoms

    pt40fathoms Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Manitoba, Canada
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    My O2 tester was damaged this spring, seems it just does not stand up to being driven over by a fully loaded 3/4 ton truck. Lesson learned, don't drive over your O2 tester OR don't drop the darn thing in the first place!

    So I had to replace it.

    Purchased a brand new Analox EII from Leisure Pro, and got it 2 days later here in Canada. It's not the only purchase I have made from LP, and every time I have made a purchase I have been completely satisfied.

    That being said, last year I spent $6000.00 at my LDS. This year I have already spent $5000.00. Whereas LP last year received about $800.00 and this year so far it has been about $550.00.

    So yes I support my LDS, but when they don't have what I want, I go to LP or elsewhere. However my LDS pricing and LP pricing is most often within 5% + or - from each other. So my dealing with LP is driven more from an availability standpoint rather than a pricing one.

    A good LDS will realize that the market they are in is now global in nature, and will use every tool they have to make sure they are competitive. If they don't, they will not succeed in today’s market place.
     
  12. divebag

    divebag Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Texas
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    It appears that the small LDS will have a very hard time competing.


     
  13. wedivebc

    wedivebc CCR Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

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    So does Leisure Pro service regs, fill tanks, tell you where the good dive sites are?
    You're going to miss your LDS when they close.

    cheers,
     
  14. scubatoys

    scubatoys ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Keep in mind not all on-line shops are the same. Yes, we fill tanks, service regs, and actually - there are no good dive sites in Texas... But if there were, I'd tell you!

    There is definately a difference between some on line shops that have no warranty and boot leg their gear - and an actual shop that does training, service, etc, but also sells on line... at about the same prices - and with full manufacturers warranty!

    Just because we sell on line - doesn't mean we're not a LDS as well...
     
  15. jbichsel

    jbichsel Scuba Instructor

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    When I can buy an Aqualung reg, SeaQuest BC, etc. from an authorized dealer in Texas, with full warranties, pay to have it shipped to Colorado, and still save $200+ on each item from what the LDS's want here, how can I argue?

    I think one problem is that most LDS's don't make money on classes. Instruction is a 'break even' or even a loss. The gear is the 'cash cow'. That's where the problems of quality instruction come into play. Since most instructors at an LDS become an equipment salesperson first and instructor second, the emphasis is put on quantity of sales rather than quality of instruction.

    An Aqualung Legend LX at an LDS here is $595 or more just for 1st and 2nd stage. Then there's the octo and gauges. I know what cost is, and the markup is ridiculous. How about a mask for $120 when I can get the exact same thing for $30?

    From the frequency that the LDS owners are out of country on dive trips, it seems to be to fund their hobby. I'm nopt knocking capitalism or free market, but sanity must enter the picture.

    Here in Colorado, people have no problem come October when the peaks start to turn white, running out and dropping $1,000+ on skis and bindings, $400+ on boots, $400+ on jackets, pants, etc. I ski also, but I sure don't pay retail. It is somewhat easier to sell ski equipment and lessons around here when people can just look around and see mountains and know that you can use that gear 5-9 months out of the year, with only a 1-2 hour drive.
    But scuba becomes more difficult as Colorado has no beachfront property yet, the lakes are cold, Surprisingly, there are quite a few divers in Colorado. I heard that we have the highest number per capita in the nation. But everyone still wants a deal when it comes to diving here.

    I'm all for supporting the LDS's as I may soon be one myself, sort of. However, there needs to be some way to meet the wants and needs of the diving community who don't have "Bill Gates" money.
     
  16. DA Aquamaster

    DA Aquamaster Directional Toast ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: VA and NC
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    Until that glorious time when California finally falls into the Pacific and takes everything west of South Dakota with it, South Dakota will continue to be land locked. (in anticipation of this event, I already have 10 acres of future beach front property)

    Land locked dive shops do need to make the extra effort to stay competetive and LDS prices in inland areas are often more competetive than their more spoiled saltwater relatives. Sometimes however the reverse is true and the beached LDS continues with an attitude that if a diver wants it, he has to get it through me and pay whatever I charge. The good news is these guys will not remain in operation for long. The bad news is that neither will their compressors.

    But if an LDS wants to remain competetive there are numerous wasy to do it even with the restrictive pricing structures imposed by come manufacturers. Student discounts, package deals, frequent turnover and sales of rental equipment and trade in allowances for used reulators and BC's can all provide mechanisims for the LDS to compete with on line retailers. It is often not possible to match an on line price but it is possible to come close enough where the small amount of extra cash paid is worth it for the additional service and convenience received.
     
  17. weekender

    weekender Nassau Grouper

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    which online shops have no warranty? LP does if you are attempting to slander them. also what is" boot leg their gear" are you implying that your competition is dishonest and you are a sactuary of integrity online? im curious why you are permitted to make such post when they are so oblviously advertisements and attempts to discredit your competition. i have never heard a bad thing about your business on this board or any other. you should let your happy customers speak for you. they certainly do a better job representing your business then you do. i've always been impressed with your satified customers post and also your website and pricing. with that said im not impressed with your cheap shots and again wish you would put your personal business addvertisments in its rightful place. just some thoughts from an independent intructor who shops online and makes recomendations to people.
     
  18. pt40fathoms

    pt40fathoms Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Manitoba, Canada
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    I mentioned in my earlier post that if a local dive shop does not realize they are in a global market, and adjust for those realities, they will fail.

    Seems you have decided to adjust and compete head on. That is the sign of a business that is willing to stick its neck out rather than bury its head. Sticking your neck out is risky, but failure is certain if you bury your head and merely complain.

    Keep up the good work, and I'll check your selection out next time I am going outside my local LDS for a purchase.
     
  19. PonyBottle

    PonyBottle Nassau Grouper

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    Don't forget to check out SCUBA.COM, they provide manufacturers warranty and will match ANY price whether online or not!
     
  20. mdteague

    mdteague Angel Fish

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    I am approaching this the same way as another expensive hobby I have with the exact same situation. Support the local merchant some and buy online when I chose. I don't expect the same prices as online at the LDS, but I should not have to pay 2X the online price of a $500 item.
     

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