First let’s look at the loan option:
Most instructors quickly realize that loaning out DVDs is a waste of time and money. Free stuff is just not valued the same. If you’ve ever made the mistake of giving your friend a free scuba class, you know what I mean.
Inevitably your DVD’s will be lost, scratched, broken or just never returned. Now you have to buy a new one. Plus there’s the cost of your time trying to chase down those DVDs that never find their way home. When it comes down to it, loaning the DVD is more like paying the customer to borrow it.
Okay, how about renting the DVD?
Renting DVDs is light years ahead of loaning. We recommend charging a deposit which covers the cost of the disc plus administrative time ($25-$30 seems to be the norm). This way, if a DVD is never returned, you haven’t lost any money. If the customer brings the disc back in good condition, their deposit is refunded.
So what’s the downside to renting? The opportunity cost of profit that was not made by not selling your student the DVD in the first place.
Selling the DVD is by far the smartest approach:
Selling removes the administrative and opportunity costs associated with loaning and renting out DVDs. Moreover, you don’t have to deal with “it was scratched when I got it” or “I’ll bring it back next week I promise” (when you need the DVD for another class the next day).
Paying for convenience is extraordinarily common these days. Don’t forget: your customers expect to buy things from you and owning the DVD adds both convenience and value. If you want to avoid “nickel and diming” include the DVD in your course price or consider the Open Water multimedia crewpak (manual + DVD = multimedia DVD-ROM).
The PADI Open Water DVD is product number 70821MUL (includes English and Spanish). The multimedia crewpak is 60314 (adventure log) or 60316 (blue log book).
Thanks to Randy Giles (PADI Canada) for letting me bastardize his original article.