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SKydiving: Is Cheaper better?

General

Where can I find the cheapest skydive?

Where can I find the cheapest heart surgeon? 

Don’t think these two sentences are in the same context? Maybe, they should be! A dropzone with a great safety record doesn’t get it by accident and neither does a heart surgeon! If you’re going under the knife, you’re looking for the best, not the cheapest and so it should be when it comes to choosing where you decide to go skydiving because a cheap skydive isn’t necessarily best. Ultimately, you should be looking for a great skydiving center (right? RIGHT). 

Experienced jumpers in formation at Skydive California.

Is a Cheap Skydive a Bad Thing? 

We’re no different than you – if we can get a good deal on most things, we’re all about it, but a great deal on a skydive… please re-read the opening two sentences of this post! Here’s why the cheapest skydive isn’t necessarily best: MAINTENANCE. It costs money to maintain an airplane. Here’s a good reference point… we fly a Cessna 208 aircraft. Have a look at the costs for a routine inspection… note that’s the inspection price, not the “you better fix that price.” The costs of maintaining an aircraft are mind-blowing and this isn’t an area where there can be any compromise. If a skydiving business isn’t charging enough money to correctly maintain its aircraft and pay its professional staff a living wage PLUS maintain all that skydiving equipment… you see where this is going… it ain’t good! 

The only way a skydiving center can offer cheap skydives is if they are doing extremely high volume, which of course increases maintenance costs. It’s a vicious cycle. Another factor to consider is the weather. A skydiving center makes money when it’s flying a lot, but add in weather variables or a smoky atmosphere and the operation is grounded, and this can happen multiple weekends in a row. With the climate change our planet is experiencing, it happens a lot (sorry to be a downer). Every business has its fixed expenses and something has to give if there isn’t enough money in the bank to cover the needed expenses if a skydiving center is unable to fly consistently. 

Why Are We Writing About This? 

Our purpose for waving this flag isn’t to try and gain a competitive advantage over our competitors – you’ll find that most skydiving operators in the Bay Area are similarly priced. Our purpose is to inform those unfamiliar with skydiving what to be thinking about when deciding where to make your first jump. Too often, we see first time jumpers decide where to skydive based almost solely on proximity and price. Proximity being the closest dropzone and the price being the cheapest. Neither proximity nor price should factor in your decision-making process of where to skydive. There is so much more to consider. 

What Makes a Good Skydiving Experience?

The first thing to know is that a great skydiving experience is more than the simple exercise of exiting a plane, free-falling, and landing under a sound parachute. The safety culture of the dropzone is important as is the attention to detail and safety of your instructor. The facilities certainly play a role – some dropzone facilities can be dirty while others are meticulously clean and the friendliness of the staff plays an important role as well. In other words, some operations are more professional than others and it’s our opinion that should be what you’re after. If you don’t feel prepared and safe when you board the aircraft, you won’t enjoy the experience nearly as much! 

Tandem instructor and student enjoying free fall.

What Should You Be Looking For When Selecting a Dropzone 

How should you find the best dropzone? Here are our recommendations: 

Read the experiences of othersReading Google Reviews, Tripadvisor and Facebook reviews will give you a sense of the experience being offered at a skydiving center.
Call the DropZoneCall the facility and get a sense of their professionalism (or lack thereof) and ask questions. 
Google the Name of the DropzoneSearch the name of the dropzone in the “news” section of Google to see if there has been any negative publicity about the skydiving center. 
Ask a Skydiver Where To GoYou likely have a mutual friend on Facebook who knows a skydiver. Ask that skydiver this question: “If your grandmother wanted to make a skydive, where would you take her?” 
Visit the DropzoneIf you really want to do your homework, visit the dropzone with no intention to skydive. Watch and observe. Does what you’re observing meet the standard you’re hoping for in a great skydiving experience?

In summary, we hope that everyone has an incredible first jump experience and the best way for that outcome to occur is to know how to find a great skydiving center without looking at skydiving costs as your first pre-requisite. Here at Skydive California, we are passionate about the sport of skydiving and wish that everyone has a safe and fulfilling experience whether it’s with us or someone else – just be sure to do your research! Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us either via e-mail or phone – we’d be happy to speak with you! 

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