I am planning to build a studio for my videography projects, and move out of my home office/studio.
When looking at the tradeoffs from lease or buy, buying an empty commercial building is within reach.
Here's where I would like to open a discussion. I could look for a smaller commercial space to call my own, or I could find some investors and buy a larger facility with a plan to make money sub-leasing the studio to other videographers and photographers.
Although I'm in Europe, I could imagine this would work; especially if it's a facility with benefits in terms of not-so-often used equipment like cranes, green screen, as well as office space / editing bays etc.
However, I can only suggest that you should find out how big your market potential is for video production companies or freelancers and how many other studios (competitors) are situated in your area. Perhaps another idea is to finance this with multiple owners (time/space sharing).
Good luck with your research.
Richard van den Boogaard
cameraman / editor / video marketing consultant
I'll probably do an exploratory email to the local filmmaker's (Boston area). I am not planning another Plymouth Rock Studios project, a $100-million debacle, but rather something that an indie filmmaker can afford for a few days or a week of shooting, or a videographer can drive a car onto the set to shoot a commercial against a greenscreen.
Any suggestions of what kind of questions I should be asking? How would I tactfully let people know that this could be an investment opportunity?
One thing to consider is what do you want your business to be - a production company or a facility. We have dabbled in equipment rental, and learned that there is a lot more to it than just a side way to utilize our equipment. So we got right back out. Our focus is shooting and production for high-end projects. When we need a studio, we build it into the budget and rent one. So if you become a studio owner that's available to everyone, you have to consider who will manage it, who will book it, who will be there to keep the lights on and make sure no one rips anything off. It's really a very different business model than a production company. That being said, if you have enough need within your own productions, then by all means get it. But my only advice is be careful about raising your nut so much by providing this facility that you are forced to take your business in a whole different direction to support it.
It will add substantially to your monthly overhead (utilities, insurance, staff, equipment, etc.).
You have to be fish or foul. Most small production companies and Indys don't like bringing their clients into a competitor's arena. Either build it as a rental facility or for your own exclusive use.
Only build it for yourself if you have the the demand and can increase you business, and fully justify and sustain it with your own work.
Been there, done it.