How to make money on parachuting (part 3)
Trade is the engine of progress
Creating a full-fledged dropzone with all the infrastructure is just one of the ways to make money by passion for parachuting. It is much easier to organize a business selling various divers parachute equipment and accessories to skydivers. Opening a store will cost significantly less than the construction of an airfield. But the cost of the full equipment of a professional parachutist can reach $ 10 thousand. The minimum set of equipment for a jump consists of a parachute system (satchel, main and reserve parachutes), a safety device, a sound signaling device (in the jargon of paratroopers it is a “beeper”), a visual altimeter, and a helmet and special clothes. High prices are due to both the complexity of the equipment and the fact that most of the equipment is imported.
It is unprofitable for skydivers to buy equipment abroad. Overhead costs for the delivery of goods to Ukraine (including the payment of duties) increase the cost of purchase by 10-15%.
Therefore, most domestic parachutists prefer to order parachute systems through official dealers, such as the online store ParaMag. There are companies representing products of several foreign brands at once, for example, SkyWideSystems. It happens that a trading company is not attached to the brand, but to the flying club. The circle of their clients is limited to parachutists making jumps on the DZ of this club.
The jumping equipment store works as an order desk. At best, this is a small room in the administrative building of the flying club with samples of the most popular goods and product catalogs. Goods are ordered from the manufacturer only after receiving 100% prepayment. Thus, the dealer does not invest in the purchase of goods.
Moreover, many manufacturers are ready to sell goods at 80% prepayment, which leaves room for maneuver. It’s easier for the store to get a discount on goods (from 20% to 30%), so the ordered equipment is sometimes even sold cheaper than the manufacturer offers to the retail buyer. But, as Mikhail Alekseenko, director of CGL Center Blade, explained, in order to qualify for a discount, the store is forced to collect several orders in order to send a general request to the manufacturer. As a result, the client has to wait for the goods for at least 2-3 weeks (and sometimes several months).
Obtaining the status of an official dealer of a branded western parachute company, for example, Performance Designs, is also not easy. Aleksey Sharadkin says that personal acquaintance helped him to establish contacts with Western manufacturers. For several months Aleksey lived in the USA and made jumps on American DZ, at the same time establishing contacts with manufacturers of parachute equipment.