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How do you keep you business afloat during off-season?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Ed Jewell, Apr 24, 2001.

  1. Ed Jewell

    Ed Jewell Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Melbourne, FL/Shavertown, PA
    To all dive shop owners and personnel:

    I am currently part of the slave labor that volunteers my time at a dive shop on Central Florida's east coast. Many of you will problably be amazed to learn that diving in FL is a seasonal activity to most divers. As soon as the water temp. drops below 80 degrees and the seas kick up past 3 ft and the kids are back in school, the diving basically dries up. This usually begins in September and lasts through April. Once the water temp. rises to around 80 degree and the seas flatten out things begin to get busy around the dive shop once again.

    So, my question to shop owers and personnel is how do you keep you business afloat during the off-season? I am interested to hear any thoughts on this matter.
  2. 100days-a-year

    100days-a-year Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: NE Florida
    Springs,Manatees,Spearfishing,Fossilling,Sales,if all else fails eat lots of peanut butter&jelly sandwitches
  3. scubabunny

    scubabunny Manta Ray

    In Guam, we really don't have an "off season" but I would say your best bet in the shop itself would be retail. Especially around Xmas. Make sure you have a good lay-a-way plan with a good discount if you do it. People are always looking for a bargin.

    Also, get into the bubblemaker program, or the SASSY program for the kids. They make great parties (if you can get access to a heated or indoor pool) and it gets the parents in the shop, and interested in diving.

    Do you have a travel person or department? If not, get in touch with a local travel agent and see about setting up dive trips to warmer locations. You can do all the classroom work and confinded water in a local pool, but take people down to the islands for their open water dives. You can usually get good prices if you go as a group, and once people get hooked..they buy gear..and more gear..and, well, you know! Keeps you busy!

    Just my thoughts...hope it helps!
    BillyEdgley likes this.
  4. Walter

    Walter Instructor, Scuba

    Cultivate relationships with shops/independent instructors in Georgia. They teach SCUBA year round and most take their check out trips to Florida.

  5. WetDane

    WetDane Manta Ray

    Yeah, you heard me - it's not just on the stock market...

    I used to work for a chain of outdoors stores back in Scandinavia. Everyso often we would look at sales and actually break the sales figures down by week - there's a very distinct up and down curve going on.
    Let me explain what I mean by diversification -
    We found that skis sell really well in the fall when the season is about to start - and then there's x-mas, for spring we sold a lot of hiking gear and all together we had 4 peaks throughout the year and 4 "valleys", we then focused on what happened in the valleys - which is precisely what Ed has seen, off season for something - trick is to figure outwhat is in season and cater to it - OR - invent a longer season - getting involved with clubs and stuff - our solution? We launched a clothing line (Keep in mind, this chain is smaller than REI, but bigger still about 10 stores strong), the point of the clothing line was that when people stopped going to the mountains then stayed in town and went to cafe's and stuff - we supplied comfortable clothing that they liked and came from the brands they knew from outdoors gear...

    To get more hands on -
    My guess is that you want to sell gear in addition to doing check out dives, I think checkout dives are great and there's a good chance that people will buy something - but how much?
    It would also be a thought to go further away - to colder places - we LOVE to go to warm locations and dive... You can do checkout and rtegular dive trips for people up the atlantic coast and inland. Turning the place into a winter resort of sorts - I'm diving in water that is 50 degrees on a hot day - if it is a little less than 80 - I'll still love it.
    Now make your dive shop a destination by offering the BEST service out there - word of mouth goes a long way - team up with a local inn and offer dive trips that beat what everybody else have... Find some great destination dives and you'll have a winter business others will compete to copy...

    If you want more ideas - feel free to email me: terkel@rocketmail.com

    I love BizDev and would love the opportunity to chat more about these things...


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