Baby air compressor

Top up my cylinder… and win a repeat customer

Your day’s diving is only over once you are home, equipment rinsed, dried and stored and your cylinders are full. If you own your own gear and live on a coastline like we have in Cape Town then diving is a very cheap sport or hobby. You only expense, other than the trip there and back, would be to fill your cylinders.

Popular cylinders are 10 litre and 12 litre cylinders and if you dived at one of the multitude of easy shore entries around the Cape Peninsula where depths vary from 3 m to 12 metres you can quite easily end up with 100 bar in your cylinder at the end of a 50 minute dive.

If you dived at home in your pool to test your gear or work on buoyancy you would likely have 150 bar after more than an hour in the water. The same cylinder on a 30 metre deep dive for a total dive time of 30-40 minutes including safety stops would be at around 50 bar if you followed your dive plan.

The whole thing is that if you arrived at a dive centre, with a tiny 7 litre cylinder that needs 50 bar (350 litres of air) or a huge 18 litre at 50 bar – requiring about 3000 litres of air to fill to 220 bar – most, but not all dive centres will charge the same flat fee for filling. I understand that everyone has their own business plan and set of procedures but in reality this does not bode well for customer retention

A dive centre that is quick at filling, or that charges less if you only have a “top up” will foster good relations with customers, and if you are happy in their space you will probably buy from that shop

The dive centre that is slow, or charges you full price in fact forces you away as you now go to a different centre to fill, and ultimately make other purchases there too. I drive past three dive centres on most diving days to end up at centre number 4 to fill my cylinders, why? Dive centre 4 is friendly (so are the others), but if I need a top up that’s what I pay for. The staff will always talk diving and show you the latest gadgets, and this fosters good relationships and this is where I shop.

As a diver with your own gear you will always attend to any faults with haste otherwise they spoil the diving experience. As an independent instructor I have eight sets of gear. The gear works harder than the average diver’s gear so a fair amount of maintenance is required. Almost weekly something needs to be fixed: reels wear out, torches get dropped, gloves become holed, fin straps break and the list goes on. Students need everything to work properly if they are to have a good experience so this constant expenditure is necessary.

Where do I buy all of these consumables? Often at the same centre that fills my cylinders. It’s the same place you will go when you need an expensive item such as a new BCD, a download cable for a dive computer, and it is most likely the place you will drop off your regulators for service when the time comes. It is also the place you will buy a bargain from as being a regular customer means the centre knows how you think, the type of stuff you most often buy, and what you do, so when a bargain arrives that they know is just what you need they will do their best to put you and the item in the same area, and hey presto they have a sale…

Like this one!

Baby air compressor
Baby air compressor

But more on the new compressor in another post…

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Scuba diver, teacher, gadget man, racing driver, boat skipper, photographer, and collector of stray animals