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Starting/buying a Dive business - help?

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by LindaL, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. LindaL

    LindaL Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Worcestershire, UK
    I'm not sure if this is the best forum - if not, maybe you can re-direct me please.

    My daughter and I are thinking of 'living the dream' - so either a new dive business or, buying/leasing one that is already established and up for sale. Clearly, this is a major decision and there will be a lot of research to be done before we move forward, if there are any Scubaboard members who have already done this and might be prepared to offer some advice (even if its 'dont do it!), then I would be most grateful to hear from you.
    I apologise in advance if this is the wrong board/forum to ask for advice. I am based in the UK.

    I should have added that the area we are looking at is Indonesia/Malaysia
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  2. tech_diver

    tech_diver Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    Hello Linda,

    Much of running a successful dive business is just focusing on the basics of good business. Once you have the basics of business happening then you look at the challenges associated specifically with the dive industry. After that, you look at the challenges of the dive industry in the specific geographic area where you want to do business. But it all starts with the basics.

    Here's a link to an article I posted about getting in the dive industry. It's North America focused but some of the general info might be helpful to you.

    ScubaBoard - Scuba Diving Forum - Diving Social Network - So you want to be in the dive business…

    Good luck with your new endeavor!
  3. iluvtheocean

    iluvtheocean Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Hollywood, FL
    2 things i can think of off top of my head -- #1 have you ever had your own business before? #2 since you said Indonesia/Malaysia -- you will need to be able to speak and READ the local language fluently. was reading an article recently not sure if it was linked from somewhere on here or not -- but there was trouble with the local policed and foreign work permits because the permits and all were written in the local language. (i.e. if it isn't going to be in a place where the official documents aren't going to be in english ...)
  4. Pedro Burrito

    Pedro Burrito Moderator Staff Member

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Boussens, Canton de Vaud, Suisse
    Are you a dive professional? You probably want to start there. Then you want to think about buy versus build. If you become a PADI pro, you can log on to the pro site and get help to open a shop. You can also look at the shops that are listed for sale there.
  5. Derek S

    Derek S Divemaster

    Since others have really covered most of the bases, the number one piece of advice I can give is this - Customer service is your #1 product, bar none. Everything else are just details. Even to the snotty customers who have unrealistic expectations and tip poorly. In this Internet age, word of mouth (or keyboard) has never been more potent.
  6. LindaL

    LindaL Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Worcestershire, UK
    A massive 'Thank You' to each of you who have taken the time to reply - every comment is completely relevant and I am taking each one on board (and thanks for the link Tech Diver).
    Just to answer a couple of the points raised, yes, I have run my own business in the past although it was IT related so completely different, I then worked for IBM for 20+ years so have a reasonable amount of business acumen and a LOT of experience in working with 'demanding' customers :)
    My daughter is a marine biologist and we hope to also use those skills for some research work, even if we are not able to get any official funding, then we may look at offering facilities for students, perhaps during the 'low season' months.
    So, lot of work ahead of us to try and get this off the ground - thanks again for all of your input. LindaL
  7. kwinter

    kwinter Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Jersey
    Just to paraphrase from the commodities industry:

    It's easy to make a small fortune with a dive business. Just start with a large one.

    Please pardon any typos. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    divewench1 and gekodivebali like this.
  8. gekodivebali

    gekodivebali Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Padang Bai
    Get to know the place where you want to open a business, its laws, people and traditions.
    Can you own a business there in your own name? Can you open a new business and obtain all the necessary licenses? How many local employees do you need before you can obtain work licenses for foreigners? What is the competition like? Are locals happy to have foreigners come in and open a (competing) business? Do you know the dive sites already? Are they easy to learn?
    My advice is to find out where you want to be then answer these questions and many others before even considering whether it is feasible...
    divewench1 likes this.
  9. mjrob

    mjrob Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Omaha, NE USA
    I've held out a bit here but wanted to share a quick opinion that's pretty much applicable to all businesses: If you're the owner, it's best to be working on your business, not in your business. Unfortunately, if you're working in your business, your chances of growth are greatly diminished. Planning, efficiency, cost control, seeking new opportunities (and many other activities) will net you more in the long term than dealing with customers on a regular basis.

    And one more opinion: you don't need to be a dive professional to run a successful dive shop. You do need to be a diver and a professional but you can hire talent to do training, sales, etc. I'd also recommend SSI over PADI if you're seeking help on the business side. I've experienced both and, for business support, SSI is the better option.
    divewench1 likes this.
  10. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    I know many pros who mirror this feeling... when diving is your profession it becomes less enjoyable. That's one reason I never had any desire to proceed beyond recreational diving certs. Today the dive industry seems to be more difficult to make a good living in and to own and run a shop requires what others have suggested... good business sense/experience, good customer relations and preferably a very strong enthusiasm for not just diving but for getting others to enjoy it too.
    emoreira and divewench1 like this.

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