So for 10 years since I am running the DIVE PROFESSIONALS network, I recurringly read and hear first hand the same old story coming from the exploration sector:
"The certification companies are charging too much"
"They are ruining our business"
"I can't keep up with the fee's of PADI... SSI in comparison to my course fee's"....
+ a lot of other statements which for the sake of politeness I will not mention here.
Some of our colleagues at a certain point were so unhappy with a price hike by PADI, they actually created a group on facebook called "Unite Against PADI price increase"
Although I personally don't endorse teaching diving from pre-mashed systems created by companies who sell 'diving education' for profit, and package their knowledge like McDonalds happy meals; just to be able to sell another little card.
That is a personal choice I as an educator/teacher take, frag me if I will ever bring another cent to nameless investors or hedge funds; whose only concern is balance sheets and how they can put another dollar in ;)
The inherent point is the following:
Whoever makes such a statement as above is actually pretty much short sighted.
Explain this: If a PADI open water course run by professionals costed upwards of $450 in 1988, how in the friggin hell can it cost $200 today?
There's this nifty invention in economics (that no one likes for obvious reasons) called:
"A general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money."
This is generally a % per year depending from country to country and from year to year to be added to your pricing. I guess it just does not apply to diving operations in Bubble Land...
So please you who call yourselves professional divers (which does not directly mean professional business caretaker because you have been, or bombarded yourself owner/manager of a dive center) try to apply some economics one on one when you make pricing, based onto facts like: location, overheads, salaries, return of investment, depreciation of equipment, etc...
You'll be doing yourself a favor and more importantly the industry at large, as your shortsightedness in business making is first of all ruining your own business (a lot of operations cannot sustain longer than 3 years).
But also the quality level of the industry and the end product to our customers.
SITA UK has some sound advice for you here in the picture below, I suggest you take it next time you want to complain.
(please note this is certainly not an endorsement for SITA on my part)