A Career in the Skydiving Industry
Skydiving instructors are typically independent contractors who can work, within limitations, wherever and whenever they like! You can move between our dropzones in places like Boise and Bozeman —or travel all over the world in pursuit of year-round adventure.
As an independent contractor, you’ll provide services (skydiving instruction and videography, for example) in exchange for payment. To protect yourself and exercise control over the taxes you owe, we recommend that all instructors create an LLC (limited liability company) or S-Corporation.
Of course, you’ll need to receive all of the required USPA certifications before you can legally operate as a skydiving instructor. Once you’ve completed the prerequisites, this guide can help you start working as an independent business.
Why Should You Set Up an LLC or Corporation?
Although independent contractors can choose to operate without creating a legal business entity, those who plan to make a career out of skydiving instruction will definitely want to set one up. Creating an LLC or Corporation offers two primary benefits:
- In the event that you are sued, individual assets like your house and retirement savings may be protected.
- The tax rate that you pay as a structured business may be lower than the pass-through tax rate that you pay otherwise. You will want to make sure and document any and all of your business related expenses, as you only will pay income tax on your profit, not your revenue.
Filing for an LLC generally costs about $100 in Idaho or Montana, although fees may vary depending on where you go.
How Long Does it Take to Get an LLC?
So, you’re ready to get started. How long does it take to get an LLC? Depending on where you file your LLC, you could be approved to operate in as little as three days. In order to minimize downtime, we recommend that you work with a top-rated LLC filing service who can help you get all your ducks in a row.
Keep in mind that the information we’ve provided here is for informational purposes only. It’s a good idea to contact an attorney, as well as an accountant or financial advisor, who can help you make the right choices for your unique situation.
How to Operate as a Skydiving Instructor
Different drop zones require their skydiving instructors to operate in slightly different ways, but here at DZONE®, skydivers are paid by the jump. You can work as much as you like, this is something you negotiate in a contract with the dropzone(s) you provide services to, and you’ll receive a 1099 when it’s time to handle your taxes.
Generally speaking, independent contractors will need to act as their own accountants or hire one. Regardless of whether you set up an LLC or not, you’ll need to make sure that you pay all of the taxes that are required for a person in your situation.
Tracking your earnings is easy enough—but you should make sure to keep track of your expenses, too! That includes any training or equipment-related expenses that you encounter as you go through the process. These may qualify you for a tax deduction when the time comes to pay up. The same goes for your equipment, travel expenses, and anything that relates to staying current, providing your service, or even marketing your services.
How Much Do Skydiving Instructors Make?
Skydiving instructors at DZONE® make between $45 and $90+ per jump, depending on whether or not the jumper requests photos and videos of their experience. Moreover, like any independent contractor, you are able to collect tips. How much do skydiving instructors make per year? It depends, for all the reasons we’ve already mentioned. However, a range of $50,000 to $70,000 is more or less average for the industry.
Start a New Career with DZONE®
If you’d like to speak with someone who can help you learn more about the ins and outs of a career in skydiving instruction, then just start a conversation with DZONE®! When all is said and done, your story might not look so different from the story of our founder, Abbie Mashaal!
Book Your Skydiving Experience at DZONE®
Reading about how to skydive is one thing—experiencing the jump is another! If you’re ready to get first-hand experience with skydiving equipment and best practices, don’t wait to book your appointment! While you’re here, you can get an even better sense of how skydiving works by watching videos of experienced jumpers who were once just like you!