STEP FOUR: MAKE EQUIPMENT DECISIONS
Now that you've found your operating location, received a passing score on the commercial questionnaire and confirmed your financial viability, you can start making decisions on which equipment you'll need for your opening.
There are several considerations when it comes to picking the right equipment for your operation, in order of importance:
- Safety - This should always be your number one priority, so you'll only want to consider devices with adequate safety features. Our recommendation is to start with the jetpack and jetboard models, then decide if you'd like to branch out from there. The main reason we steer our commercial clients away from the other devices is the fact that the pilot can separate from them during a fall, which could lead to the equipment impacting the ski operator or the pilot.
- Ease-of-Use - From our experience, the jetpack is the easiest device to learn, with a 95% success rate, followed closely by the jetboard, which requires slightly more balance.
- Accessibility - The jetpack is by far the most accessible product on the market, with virtually anyone who's comfortable in the water able to pick it up, but the jetboard is the preference among the younger, action sports demographic, who pick it up immediately thanks to their applicable board sports experience.
- Durability - Equipment prices have dropped substantially from the early days when it was $100k for a jetpack system, but cheaper equipment also can mean more frequent repairs, which can become costly in a commercial operation, so quality should be your primary driver.
- Cost - Price will always be a consideration, but keep in mind that, over thousands of flights, the difference in price will fall to pennies per flight, so it's better to choose a quality product that will last over one that is cheap.
- Broad Market Appeal - While the jetboard has gained notoriety over the past few years, due to the success of Zapata's Flyboard brand, our experience has shown that the broad market still gravitates to the stability and control of the jetpack.
- Water Depth - If your operating location has relatively shallow water (less than 10 feet), the jetboard may not be the best option, due to the safety risks if someone "dives" from high in the air or dives too deep (depth can be difficult to gauge underwater).
- "Cool" Factor - Your job will be to turn your customers into real-life superheroes, so it's important that they look the part. Fortunately, all of the devices on the market fit this bill.
If you are planning to start with one device for your operation, our recommendation is the jetpack, for the reasons above. If you're prepared to start with two units, you may want to consider one jetpack and one jetboard or possibly two jetpacks.
Please refer to our Hydroflight Device Sales page for more info on each system and we're happy to answer any questions you may have.