How To Run a Dive Shop
Running a dive shop can sound like a big endeavor when you consider all of the different aspects you have to manage. However, if you have the experience and the passion, it does not have to be overwhelming. Boiling it down to the basics, there are a few key things to think about in order to run your shop efficiently and successfully.
While it is important to have a high-quality staff for any business, it is especially crucial for an industry like diving. Your staff members should be qualified to answer questions about equipment and confident in advising customers about how they should proceed. When hiring, be sure to ask your potential team members questions that customers may pose surrounding specific dive scenarios. Selling the wrong equipment can be dangerous, so it is important to take your hiring procedures seriously.
When considering point-of-sale systems, it is helpful to go with one that is tailored to service dive shops over a general business. If you have been in the industry for a while, chances are that things look a bit different compared to when you started. Utilizing new technology can be a great aid for simplifying your process. Having a dedicated dive shop POS can streamline your transactions, ensuring your time and energy are spent on assisting the customer, rather than dealing with uncooperative technology.
It may seem like a given, but having high-quality equipment in your shop is essential. Customers will likely be shopping on different budgets, so it is nice to have a range of price points and brands. No matter the cost, you should be able to put your trust in the equipment that you sell. If it is not something that you would not use yourself, then it is probably not a good idea to carry it. Taking time to test equipment and research companies will help establish a reputation of reliability and honesty between you and your consumers.
When you are creating return and usage policies, remember that all customers will respond to gear differently. Allowing your patrons to try out equipment without being boxed in can reassure them that you have their satisfaction in mind. In order to create a policy that is beneficial for both the business and your customers, do some research on what guidelines other successful shops have set up. Communicate all fine print openly with the buyer so that they do not feel misled or put off by your practices.
If you have the proper license or a connection to someone who does, offering certifications from your shop is a great way to set yourself apart from other businesses. Depending on where you’re located, you may be the only shop in the area that does so, giving customers a bigger incentive to come to your store. In land-locked areas, making use of local pools is a great way to bring the ocean to your customers and get them comfortable with their gear before they test out in a lake or sea. If you aren’t able to certify people yourself, reach out to a local company and see if you can partner up. Displaying connections and deals in the shop can further solidify it as the place to go for all things diving.
Beyond the gear needed to go on a dive, carrying informational materials like books and manuals is another aspect of a first-rate shop. With so many books out there on the subject, think about what you feel are essential guides for each level of diver, from beginners to experts. You may also want to stock up on plant and aquatic life identification guides for your area, or the most popular destinations that your divers are heading to. Other extra accessories are a fun bonus, especially those that benefit the clean-up and maintenance of oceans and sea life.
There is a lot that goes into maintaining a quality scuba diving shop. When people enter your store, they are trusting that the gear you sell them and the advice you give will keep them safe underwater. Investing time and energy into each element of your shop can help it be the go-to place in your area for people’s diving needs.