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Renting out your own camera gear? ...(uk based)

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Steve Mullins
Renting out your own camera gear? ...(uk based)
on Feb 29, 2012 at 10:43:19 pm

Im on the market for a new camera - Sony NX5 or EX1r and have thought, rather than just sell my old Z1 camera - which perhaps could be useful for the occasional 'we want a tape at the end of the shoot' scenarios, I could rent it out instead / rather than waiting for the odd tape based job... I also have a couple small consumer cams too I could rent out.

How feasible would this be? Where would i start? What legalities should I have, assurances and agreements? How would i post the 4kg+ camera etc.. Do you need a large selection of cams? Is it even possible by a sole / freelancer to do this?


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Jeff Breuer
Re: Renting out your own camera gear? ...(uk based)
on Mar 1, 2012 at 12:06:39 am

If some people see you as "the competition" they might be hesitant to rent from you, so I would focus on getting the word out to folks who are a little outside your niche. Also, I would recommend paying an attorney to write, or at least look over your agreement contract.

I bought an NX5U a year ago and have been happy with it, so I hope you enjoy it too. Good luck!

Jeff


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Mark Suszko
Re: Renting out your own camera gear? ...(uk based)
on Mar 1, 2012 at 7:31:01 pm

A lot of expectations and questions come with being the guy that rents out equipment. Do you have a spare if the primary develops a problem during a rental, or do you just commit to a refund? You will be expected to trouble-shoot the thing at odd hours. Will it get back in time for the next renter, and will it still be in the same working condition? If someone makes a deal to rent and you have to cancel, are you protected?

Things to think about. I only rented my stuff to people I knew well or who came with reliable references.


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Todd Terry
Re: Renting out your own camera gear? ...(uk based)
on Mar 2, 2012 at 4:28:36 am

[Mark Suszko] " I only rented my stuff to people I knew well..."

Me too, and even then I've only done it about three times. And each time I regretted it. Every time the gear was returned in, at minimum, slightly worse condition than when it left. Usually only cosmetically... but that counts.

As Scott notes below, today even people who should know better treat gear with the same regard as a disposable lighter.

We never rent (or loan) out gear anymore. Never. Ever. If someone wants a jib or dolly or Steadicam or some other toy we have, they are welcome to it. And the crew that is required to come with and operate it, zero exceptions.

I think renting out gear is fine if that's your only job and you are a full-time rental house and that's what you do and are aware of all the pitfalls and potential damages and inventory multiple spares of everything and all that jazz. But if your main job is production and the thinking is "Let's let this gear that's just sitting around make a few bucks between our own shoots," I personally think the potential for meager return is far outweighed by the trouble and problems it brings.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Scott Sheriff
Re: Renting out your own camera gear? ...(uk based)
on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:14:22 pm

[Steve Mullins] "Im on the market for a new camera - Sony NX5 or EX1r and have thought, rather than just sell my old Z1 camera - which perhaps could be useful for the occasional 'we want a tape at the end of the shoot' scenarios, I could rent it out instead / rather than waiting for the odd tape based job... I also have a couple small consumer cams too I could rent out.

How feasible would this be? Where would i start? What legalities should I have, assurances and agreements? How would i post the 4kg+ camera etc.. Do you need a large selection of cams? Is it even possible by a sole / freelancer to do this?"


Mark makes a good point about liability and having back-up gear, etc. Rent a guy a camera, and then he starts a fire on location with his lights, and you'll probably get named as a plaintiff in a lawsuit.
And getting the money is another issue. Even known companies will stiff you. Sometimes it's because the person doing the renting went over the budget, or didn't have the authority, etc. You have to get the money up front.
I only rent my gear out to people I know well, mostly as a courtesy and not to make money. Everyone else, I have to come with as an operator. With the exception of high end broadcast, or remote production gear used on trucks, most of todays gear is not built like a tank, the way classic analog broadcast gear was, and most of today's renters don't know how to treat gear properly. A disastrous combination.
Food for thought.
I have a friend that owns a major film and video rental/sales and service company. The last year or so he has laid off all the staff, and has been selling off the inventory.
Why?
Down economy? No.
Quality of the customer. After 30 plus years of dealing with professionals that treat rental gear better than their own, he is faced with an ever increasing supply of noobs that treat everything like a disposable lighter. Or only rent when they don't want to put their gear in a risky set-up. And this is not just a USA thing. We have people from all over the world coming here to shoot in Vail, Aspen, Telluride and Moab. They beat the gear to death too. Interestingly enough it's mostly confined to those unsupervised single camera type gigs. You never see this behavior on big multi-camera sport broadcasts. On those gigs, even the noobs pulling cable and doing utility treat the gear well. Either it's because of the watchful eye of the truck EIC, or there is just more respect for the big expensive broadcast gear.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Bob Cole
Re: Renting out your own camera gear? ...(uk based)
on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:47:30 pm

I'm so tempted to list somebody publicly here....

All I should say, I guess, is that I really like what others have said, and that I'm thinking of adopting the policy suggested by Todd: if you want our gear, you have to hire us.

Bob C


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