You’ll first need to decide if you want to do a start-up dive business or purchase an existing PADI Dive Center or Resort
Start-up Dive Business
It’s truly satisfying to see your hard work, careful planning and goals come to fruition. However, starting from scratch involves paying attention to a number of details otherwise unnecessary if you were to purchase an existing business. Also, securing capital, building a clientele and managing the expenses of a start-up in the early months of operation can be daunting. But, the advantages of making a clean start, having no assumed debt and choosing your location can be most rewarding.
Purchase an Existing Dive Business
Just can’t wait? Sometimes you can buy an existing dive business. Generally, the initial risks are less and the start-up time is nearly eliminated. This is because you can usually retain the dive shop’s customers, suppliers and volume of sales. Keeping and increasing them over time becomes your responsibility.
You may also benefit from the advice and experience of the owner. A disadvantage of buying an existing business can be that you inherit the bad with the good. It’s important to know the facility’s reputation with its customers and suppliers. It can also be a challenge to find just the right business, in the right location, at the right price, at the right time.
It depends on your schedule, energy and resources. Some dive shop owners have opened their doors six months after deciding to start, and for some it has taken multiple years. On average, a new PADI Dive Center or Resort opens in approximately 9-12 months.
The checklist below is an example of tasks you should consider and when to work on them. Use it as a guide when creating your own checklist
9-12 Months Prior to Start Up
6-9 Months Prior to Start Up
4-6 Months Prior to Start Up
0-4 Months Prior to Start Up
Starting a dive shop or resort is a life-altering experience. It does take time and hopefully you find it as exciting a venture as existing PADI dive shop owners have experienced.
As you move forward with opening your dive shop or resort, contact your PADI Regional Headquarters if you need specific insight about the scuba diving industry. Your Regional Manager and PADI Retail and Resort Association representative can give you more information about owning and operating a dive shop. When you’re closer to actually opening the doors, feel free to call a PADI Marketing Consultant or Training Consultant for ideas on how best kick-start the adventure.