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Make Good Money as a Scuba Instructor

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by captdave, Oct 11, 2001.

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  1. captdave

    captdave Angel Fish

    This Thread is devoted to those who want to make a good living teaching scuba. It is not for the communists who want to give it away. It is for those truly interested in a professional career in diving that will pay them what it is worth.. It is not for the budget minded diver there are plenty of shops that will cater to them. This is for those who want to make real money at this and are willing to post information to help professional do just that. In my next post I will input all of the information I have previously posted on the last thread entitled ethical.
  2. Duca

    Duca Nassau Grouper

    While my goal may not be to "make it rich with SCUBA", I'll be interested in the posts to this thread.

    I'd be especially interested in realistic information, as opposed to that stuff you posted in the other thread about luxury yachts, expert support staff and exotic locales...

    Seems like there are a lot of people here who would be genuinely interested in a career in the industry, but those people have real life factors which mean they have to support (and live with...) a family, remain in a certain geographical location (which might not be a remote tropical paradise), and possibly even work within a modest start-up budget (preventing them from buying out Peter Hughes as a first step).
  3. rstone

    rstone Instructor, Scuba

    It is true i didnt get into this for the money, but like most people who approach a career in this fashion later discover.. the bills continue to come in regardless of how much passion you have for something or not and like everything else no matter how we look at.. it is a business just like anything else and should be treated as such.. like i said before if this would work in my area id jump at it in a heartbeat.. not because im looking to scam people, but because i have chosen this as my profession and have to pay my bills just like everyone else. id be really interested in any "proven" information or advice you might have.
  4. SpyderTek

    SpyderTek Barracuda


    Lay it on us Capt!

    I was just expecting to be able to use my instructor's certification to be able to travel and live in exotic locations for long periods at a time (read 3 to 6 months) but if there is a way to make money also!? I'm down with that! Heck, I'd even sign a non-disclosure form to get THIS information.



  5. syruss32

    syruss32 Manta Ray

    On ebay I saw a scuba seminar posted for $10,000 it claims that he will teach you how to make 100-125 an hour. Not sure if it is still there or not, but it looked like the guy was selling vapor-ware except in training!
  6. captdave

    captdave Angel Fish

    You guys sure do a lot of crying. Nobody promised you a rose garden...Unfortunately when you learn how to teach scuba nobody tells you how to make money as a scuba instructor. There are courses available in this. Frankly to make any money in this industry you need to be an independent who works loyally with his or her scuba shop. Loyalty is the key word.
    If any of you out their want to learn there is some great books "How to make money as a scuba instructor" This is how I learned to do multi level training? Boy that really boosts your income and does not cause you to skip standards>
    Another good reference is How to make $10,000.00 in Two weeks teaching scuba...It is being done all the time.... I did it.
    Potential students have a belief that all certification classes are created approximately equal and they tend to make decisions on their entry-level dive course based on price. Once they have found cheap.. They stay cheap.

    Frankly if you are not making $100,000.00 a year teaching scuba your screwing up. It may take a few years to establish your client base but it is attainable and sustainable.

    Well here goes guys.
    The first thing you have to do is to set yourself apart from the regular run of the mill scuba instructor. You need to make a deal with your dive shop. Believe me any dive shop owner will love you if you make good money because they make a lot more with you than with the regulars that just say; where is my next student.
    The Deal.
    Tell your shop that you will keep working with their pay scale but that you want to bring in your own students aside from theirs and that you will charge them yourself. You will sell only the shops scuba equipment and charter the shops dive boats. You must set up a commission on your sale of equipment as this adds to your income. You should ask for 15% and settle for 12%. Now think about that. If you train 100 students a year and they spend $1500.00 on scuba equipment. That figures out to about $18,000.00 at 12% and you haven't even put your foot in the pool. The key is to sell scuba equipment complete packages to your students. This requires selective students on your part.
    The dive shop owner will love this...
    Have any of you trained a 100 students a year. I do it all the time.. It is easy...
    The trick is to get the quality students you want and how to keep them loyal to you so your back end (repeat business and sales) defies industry standards.
    This is not easy. Do not get the idea it is get rich quick deal it takes a lot of work and commitment but it is attainable. Keep an open mind....
    Scenario #1
    your average class is 9 students 6 guys and 3 girls.
    Your in cold water and so everybody has to wear wetsuits strap on 25-30 pounds of weight then one of the girls has to pee. You tell her to pee in her suit when you get in the water. You make a surf entry.
    Someone gets seasick; a weight belt is lost. Someone needs more weight. Buy the time you finish the skills and time to go on the tour 2 guys are nearly out of air one of the girls is exhausted and they look at you like are you sure this is the fun stuff you promised...4 of the guys can't wait to go again. Two guys stare at you in disbelief.and there is another dive for cert. dive # 2.

    Or you could:

    #2 scenario.
    Your luxury live aboard has just anchored in the sand off
    the Turks and Caicos.Your in 30 feet of water with 83-degree water temperature. A shallow reef is nearby.
    You prepare your dive float and toss it 10 feet off the stern. You tell the boats other instructors your plans.
    Next you assign each of your students a number say 1 to 10
    That right I said 10 students. When 1 is on the platform ready to dive #2 begins to suit up with the help of the other two instructors.
    You and student #1 descend to 30 feet with 100-foot visibility
    and 83-degree water temp. You’re in skins with 4 lb. of weight and the student is wearing 8lbs.
    Your dive master is waiting with your underwater video camera. You have a full-face dive mask with one way communication to your student and two-way communication to your divemaster. After 15 minutes you ascent completing all of the skills.
    The crew assist this diver outs of the water and shows him how to tank up again.and stows his gear. About the same time student #2 descents with Instructor #2
    Student #3 ready to dive with you again now looses his weight belt. No problem the boat crew simply hands another one and the lost belt is retrieved later.
    After about 2 hours all of your students are done with the skills.
    The boat crew is setting up lunch on the sundeck and you debrief your students with your videotape of their skills (Video is not necessary for this to work).
    You then prepare them for their second dive and announce that there will be an afternoon fun and experience dive planned for all divers.

    Which class would you like to teach ?

    Here we go again!
    First of all if your local shop won't work with you (They are Dinosaurs) Now is as good as anytime to make good money as a scuba instructor. There at literally dozens of shops that will.you DO NOT HAVE to have a local shop to work with. I own a shop and would love to have you work with Mme. know a shop in Mexico that will give you classroom pool facilities dive masters instructors etc. I also have these available for any instructor free of charge. Just sell my equipment is all I ask, and I will give you a top commission. All live aboard have these services available to you.
    Logistics, Logistics.Logistics. This is the key. Let me explain further. I should be charging you all big money for this information maybe some time down the road you will work with me or sell equipment to your students from my shop or my on line scuba catalog <http://www.diveremporium.com>

    The point is there is two ways to teach scuba:

    1.Low ticket logistics Cold water, Thick wetsuits lots of weight, surface swims no restrooms, low vis, emergency equipment 10 minutes away, possible overheating, possible hypothermia, surf exits, lost equipment hard to retrieve.etc.etc.etc.

    2. High ticket logistics=Warm water, lycra suits, low weights, food served, emergency equipment seconds away, 100 foot visiblity, great underwater scenery, extra dive equipment seconds away, showers to rinse off, one step entry, no float towing, easy to retrieve lost equipment, backup instructor, crew available to assist.

    If diving is hard many of your students will not like it. Introduction to diving must be easy fun and your students; all of them must love it. If they do chances are they will keep doing it WITH YOU making it easy for you, as you don't have to go out and find so many new students.

    The cafeteria style of training students is stupid makes nobody any money and produces less than adequately trained divers.

    I know what you’re thinking: This sounds real good but none of my students can afford it or they can get it cheaper in my local shop

    DONT YOU BELIEVE this. It is just plain WRONG!

    True, The Turks and Caicos,, Grand Cayman, Hawaii, Australia, Belieze, Cozumel,The Sea of Cortez,The Bahamas,
    Roatan,Palau,IS MORE EXPENSIVE! That is just what you want.
    People get into this because they have seen the TV Pictures of these exotic dive vacations. Not to dive a Quarry.

    Just because you think something is expensive does not mean they think it is expensive have had to fight some of my instructors to ask for $500 up front deposits because they thought this was too much. It is not too much and it is non-refundable as well.

    TO many people $3000.00 for a week of safe fun and adventure is cheap. People spend this every day for adventure travel, ecological trips, and yes-even scuba.

    If you cannot grasp this concept (GOOD BYE) you will spend your career-teaching budget minded students that want to dive "Cheap" I throw them out of my shop.

    This type of "Client" will never allow you the income necessary to explore the great dive sites of the world; you will have to have a real job. Or live back in the compressor room to make ends meet. I have done this. Scuba is a great job but living in the shop back room gets old after a while.

    Think about all of the people who dive regularly aboard the big live aboard fleets like the Agressor, Peter Hughes livaboards, and etc.etc.etc. If people could not afford to dive aboard these expensive fleets then the fleets would be shrinking right! Wrong! They are growing like crazy, in 1984 they started with one boat in less than ten years they expanded to all the great dive spots with 9 boats and they are still growing today and up grading there fleets.


    There is no shortage of people who can picture themselves diving in style but there is a severe shortage of scuba instructors who can imagine themselves working exclusively with clientele that travels, explores, and dives, and purchases only the best equipment. Equipment that you tell them to buy.

    If you believe that a normal class sells from $100-$400 starts in a pool, then travels to the local beach, blue hole, quarry. Then you are destined to be one of the small minded mediocre dive instructors who never gets past the dreaming stage of great diving and then you face the reality get a real job and hate it.

    I am sorry if this insults some of you but unless you are brand new you know what I am saying is true. You may be the best technical instructor there is but if you don't get the correct mind setting you will live the dark side of the scuba instructor business. Don’t blame me. I am trying to show you the way.

    Lets face it teaching scuba is hard work. Don’t you think your services are valuable? Your customers trust you with their lives! Then why should you get paid less than a car mechanic should, massage therapist, or handyman.

    Considering your responsibility and the liability. You are worth the pay of a doctor, lawyer, professor, and etc.etc. IF YOU ARE VERY GOOD!

    Some of the cert. agencies don't like this because they make their money by the numbers.the more students, divemasters, instructrs etc. that get pumped out is how they make their money. Don’t get me wrong. I love all of these agencies they provide us a valuable service but if you follow the traditional system you end up not teaching scuba and they just pump out another one to take your low paid place and as everybody has heard. We do this because we love it. It is a live style and money is not the object!
    BULLROAR! I do this because I want to dive the top sites in the world make great friends and live the way one is supposed to.
    I know this because I have lived both sides of this track!

    Should I go on?

    Hey Beluisi

    I don't think you have been listening to me. It does not matter where you are. Cold climates are really the best to use this system. Colorado certifies more divers than some coastal areas. They all have to travel to dive. What matters is how you acquire the students and where you take them. Again I repeat if you start with cheap students you get no where. I have heard this over and over again about how they run down the prices. IF I get someone who tries this tactic on me I politely tell him or her they would be happier diving elsewhere and pass on them. They are not worth your time or effort.
    There are many more students who will be glad to take your advice on what to purchase and what the true value of the equipment is.

    The Diving industry has prostituted it self and that really works in our favor as we are the elite of a system that frankly makes it more easy for me to make real money.

    I can see you have been on the dark side for too long if your license is still in tact you can do this part time to get started and then after a while you will be able to switch to full time top dollar earning scuba instructor.

    Should I go on with the how and where’s?

  7. captdave

    captdave Angel Fish

    Hey Duca,
    You do not need any money for this to work.. You do not need to own a dive shop and you only need to work 1 week a month while you are diving in the best dive sites of the world. You don't have to work that hard to make $50,000 a year. Im talking about one dive trip a month to make the $100.000. SO you go every other month for the 50..Besides it takes time to develop a clientel so you can start on a budget....
  8. joewr

    joewr ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: Northern California
    there were darn few communist nations left on this planet Dave! I think we buried most of them during the Reagan years. Just what are you so hung up on about communists? Can't you just invite folks to hear what you have to say without invective? Give us a break, Dave, we are over 21 and most of us lived through the Cold War...and saw the Berlin Wall come down!

    Joewr...inveterate capitalist...West Coast Style...
  9. syruss32

    syruss32 Manta Ray

    I love ya Joewr, your 'da man!

  10. joewr

    joewr ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: Northern California
    "In God we trust"...all others bring data!

    Well, here are some course prices for OW cert in various "paradise" locations:

    Maui Dive Shop, Maui, HA $350---40 hours of instruction

    Chris Sawyer, St. Th., USVI $595---5 "days" of instr.

    Kauai Divers, Kauai,HA $495---3-5 "days" of instr.

    Habitat Resort, Bonaire $300--4 "days" of instr.

    So, in Paradise for small classes it looks like ca. $10-20 per hour is the rate...and that is the total rate including the dive shop's cut.

    These are all for classes of one to two divers. To make more money, you would have to charge more or have larger classes, not a very competitive concept...especially in a capitalistic system!

    I was certified in the Virgin Islands in a class of two--it took 5 1/2 full days...nearly 60 hours. And if you can afford the the time and money, it is a great way to do it, but the teachers were not quite in the millionaire category!


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