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Welcome to the Business of Diving (BODI) discussion forum!

Discussion in 'Business of Diving Institute' started by Darcy Kieran, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Darcy Kieran

    Darcy Kieran Business of Diving Institute

    Let's make a GOOD living out of our passion for scuba diving! To do so, let's raise the bar on customer service and dive shop marketing & management.

    All topics are welcome as long as it relates to "the business of diving": How to improve customer service, dive shop management, marketing... Skills related to "working" in the dive industry - not dive instructor skills.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
    JB69 and blowtorch like this.
  2. John A Lewis

    John A Lewis Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: DFW
    Works for me! I believe it's time that we take a look at how we present ourselves on the internet to prospective clients.

    Far too many still cling to the idea that simply presenting gear with prices is all we need to do in order to attract prospects. We've got to start thinking about the total package and perception of same.
    JB69 and blowtorch like this.
  3. akdeepdiver

    akdeepdiver Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Iowa Park, TX
    John, I agree about how one presents oneself is important, but not just on the internet. It is amazing how fast the word gets out when shops, or training agencies have public feuds with each other. This infighting only discourages customers.
    skippy311 and blowtorch like this.
  4. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Best to say nothing at all.
  5. Lake Hickory Scuba

    Lake Hickory Scuba Course Director

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Taylorsville, NC
    As an individual who has worked at several different dive shops, and now currently own one, I have been plagued with the old school ways of doing things. Purchase gear, mark it up, wear what I want to sell, and then hope for customers to pay the prices. One thing that keeps us a float is the fact we have capitalized in areas other shops in our area can not, such as light salvage work, due to our shop being on the lake, and promoting to the Public Service (because 95% of our employees including myself are Police, Fire, EMS, or Military personnel). Now with that being said, we try to work hand in hand with other shops in our area the best we can. One in particular is only 9 miles from us and one of the oldest dive shops in North Carolina. Oddly enough, it is where 90 % of Dive Instructors in our area got their start from. The owner of that said shop is a boat slip customer of our's at our marina. He teaches PADI only courses, to where we teach PADI, SSI, SEI, PDIC, and CMAS courses. PADI is the one we don't promote as much as the others, and this helps his store out. Also when we opened our doors, we were determined to not sell any manufactured gear that he did, to prevent us from getting into a price war with him. We refer customers to him that are determined to buy what he sells and vice a versa. Our working relationship is what, in my opinion, all shops should strive for.

    The internet is a tricky beast for shops like ours. On one hand, the advertisement on social media is so easy and cost effective for us, because it is free. But on the other hand, internet sells is difficult to start and sustain. With the big dogs (Leisure Pro, DRIS, Divers Supply, Divers Direct, etc.) already established and in full swing, getting your name out there is kinda hard. This is in respect to selling equipment. With the training side of business, the internet really has no control over what we charge or the customer base we have. The internet can't really teach scuba and issue certifications. Also it is important to note, selling online, at least when you first get started, is restricted sometimes by the manufacturers and distributors you buy from. Meaning, when you buy gear at wholesale price and then resell, you are bound by certain price mark ups. Under cutting yourself to meet all internet prices just isn't practical. This in part being why we try to capitalize in areas no other shop can. I have been to PADI's business school, SSI's Scuba U, and etc., and all preach the same thing, even in PADI's and SSI"s Divemaster to Instructor Courses, we tell the students having other skills, other than teaching, such as mechanic, captain licenses, etc., make you more successful. The same applies to our store. We are a marina, dive shop, salvage company, and boat repair shop. In our low income area, I doubt we could make it on just the dive shop along.

    I am excited to continue reading new post in regards to this topic.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
    Derek Stout, Nauti Jay, JB69 and 4 others like this.
  6. redacted

    redacted Guest

    Power to the big dogs.
  7. sheeper

    sheeper Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States
    what i see lacking around too many shops is the simple concept of relationship management. Scuba is about customer service and building relationships. Show your customers that they are valuable and TREAT THEM SO. That is the difference between successful shops and the not so.
    kelemvor likes this.
  8. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    Good to have the BODI here, @Darcy Kieran! I'm sure we'll have some candid discussions about marketing and such.
    skippy311 and Darcy Kieran like this.
  9. tech_diver

    tech_diver Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    In my years in the dive business, dealing with hundreds of dive operations, I've come to understand that dive shop owners are like any other business persons. Some of them come to the business with an open mind ready to learn all they can. They study marketing, business and know their operation's numbers (sales volume, profit margin, etc.) inside and out. They are aware of their local market and study what their customers really want and need. They are sensitive to community and market feedback and they respond appropriately. This is what it takes to succeed in the dive business or any business.

    Some business people come to the marketplace thinking they already know it all. They believe they will teach the marketplace how to operate and they have nothing to learn from it. They pick through the tools and opportunities now available to a business and decide they don't need them. Someone who has been doing things the same way for twenty years is unlikely to attend a marketing or business seminar to learn anything new.

    As a long timer in the biz, I have to keep telling myself that even with all that I have seen, I haven't "seen it all". Things are always changing and I have to keep learning. There are always new things coming that affect diving that have nothing to do with diving (like the internet.) Whether it's a new approach to marketing or the basics of how a website works, I got to keep learning.
    Jim Lapenta and kelemvor like this.
  10. mdb

    mdb ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    Having been in the SCUBA biz for 45+ yrs. I welcome the upcoming discussions. Hope it stays civil. We are all divers after all. Weightless in the water surrounded by wonders most people never see is an ongoing pleasure. I have been to most of the Internet players, watched them in action. Price does not differ very much these days. Selection, customer service, a welcoming attitude seems to make the difference. A small one store player can become a national/international force.

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