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Kit Rental Business

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Robert KeyesKit Rental Business
by on Jan 21, 2015 at 4:32:00 pm

Basically, the title. I have a fairly large amount of kit, most of it ~1year old, bought new as part of a production that lost funding. The company that financed it has said they don't want to deal with the kit for at least the next 6-8 months and "screw it, they're gonna be out of date soon anyways".

As such, I was thinking about putting together a couple of the kits together to go out as rentals with the intention of seeing them put to some use. The company who owns them sees no problems with this as long as they can, at some point, sell them or get ROI.

The issue is, at the end of the day, I'm a cinematographer, not a sales person. I'd have very little idea of how much to charge for a package, let alone how to market a camera rental business.

Does anyone have any tips or warnings?

The kit I was thinking of putting together is as follows:

Metabones E-EF Adapter
Canon L 16-35
Odessey 7Q
6 x 512Gb Drives
Zacuto shoulder rig
Kit lens
Crapload of batteries (found 9 so far)

For all of this, I'd probably charge £250/day, which seems reasonable to me, but I've never rented kit before.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Kit Rental Business
by on Jan 21, 2015 at 4:52:24 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Jan 21, 2015 at 4:53:54 pm

My loose rule of thumb for the cost of rentals is, the rental is typically about ten percent of the purchase price, give or take, so that if you rent it ten times, you have paid it off. If you're renting something more often than that, you do better fiscally speaking to just own one.

That's just to amortize the cost of the gear purchase, but you have more issues when you become a business renting gear. You have to service it and maintain it and usually you should have at least one spare for everything you send out, in case it fails and the customer needs a replacement touts sweet. You *could* forgo that, but I'd advise against it.

Next, you have business concerns like insurance for the gear and replacement, legal paperwork, etc. And you need a markup to make all of this a revenue-positive operation.

How do you handle the money and the reservations? Cash only? A credit card bond? Which customers do you handle? By referral only?

It may be that for you, the easier thing to do is what we call "step-rentals": i.e. you supply your gear to someone else who is full-time into the rental biz, and they take a piece of the pie while handling all the business end. Then your gear goes out and gets put to work, and makes back *some* money.

Another idea would be to form a collective or time-share arrangement where each member pays in x amount and then they share access to all the toys between each other, with the hope being that they each help each other out on the various crew positions... sort of like the way American Zoetrope started out. This would require some bullet-proof paperwork establishing the rules and rights and you need people who can share effectively... which may be the downside.

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Rich RubaschRe: Kit Rental Business
by on Jan 23, 2015 at 4:30:43 pm

Try these guys....same situation as you but they've really made a go of it. They'll help you out.....tell them Tilt sent you!

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

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Robert KeyesRe: Kit Rental Business
by on Jan 28, 2015 at 10:59:42 am

Thanks Rich, I'll ask em a few questions!

I've done a load more market research since I've last posted, and believe that the proposed price point is feasible - it's right in the mid price range of the other 2 people who offer it, and it would be the only one that isn't in London.

When it comes to SEO/Online marketing... I envisage pitfalls and trial by fire. Am I right?

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