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Thread: Market for Rental MF gear

  1. #1
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Market for Rental MF gear

    In trying to rent the high end stuff, I find a lot of people do not do, have poor inventory, etc.

    A friend of mine (also photographer) wondered iof a small but high end rental offering, limited to people who are experienced etc. would be worth while (I frankly think he just wants to buy some gear and have a way to incorporate in a business. Since my CO. takes Visa and AX and we have FEDEX accts he asked if we would be interested in working with him as the distribution arm. He would have to do inventory. Also don't know how warranties work with rentals..

    Is there a market for that? Seems most others want to sell rather than rent (they seem to consider it a PITA), but maybe for surge needs etc. would have to be at least week or weekend I told him since there are two dead days on either end.

    Anyway, wondered if the people here would use such a service (that is, rental but no TLC; you gotta know this stuff!)

    regards
    Victor

    PS: Of course, he signed me up as the first client! LOL

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    Workshop Member lance_schad's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Victor,
    We already offer rental services for all the gear we sell(mostly all high end). The list is up on our website @ http://www.captureintegration.com/re...ies-and-forms/ .

    Our rental policies are in a nutshell that the customer must provide a certificate of insurance with the payee being us in case of a loss or a deposit hold on a credit card. Our weekly rentals are 4x the daily rate, weekends count as one day.

    Also we provide a sliding scale of rentals paid in towards the purchase of a digital back within one month after the rental.
    Where it becomes costly is who covers the rental days while the unit is in transit and the insurance for replacement value in shipping.

    Anyway please call to us to discuss your needs in general as there is always flexibility especially if the rental is going to be used to make a purchase.

    Lance Schad
    Capture Integration - Miami/Atlanta
    305-394-3196 cell | 305-534-5702 office
    Capture Integration
    [email protected]

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    In trying to rent the high end stuff, I find a lot of people do not do, have poor inventory, etc.

    A friend of mine (also photographer) wondered iof a small but high end rental offering, limited to people who are experienced etc. would be worth while (I frankly think he just wants to buy some gear and have a way to incorporate in a business. Since my CO. takes Visa and AX and we have FEDEX accts he asked if we would be interested in working with him as the distribution arm. He would have to do inventory. Also don't know how warranties work with rentals..

    Is there a market for that? Seems most others want to sell rather than rent (they seem to consider it a PITA), but maybe for surge needs etc. would have to be at least week or weekend I told him since there are two dead days on either end.

    Anyway, wondered if the people here would use such a service (that is, rental but no TLC; you gotta know this stuff!)

    regards
    Victor

    PS: Of course, he signed me up as the first client! LOL
    Victor:

    If I understand your post correctly, it sounds like you are asking if being involved in renting these high-end digital backs is viable?

    If that is what you're wondering - here's my thoughts on it.

    First, potentially it can be rewarding. Let's say you rent a unit 6 times a month for 6 months. After 6 months, you might sell it. In the meantime, you've put $18K in your pocket. But that's only the silver lining part of it.

    If you don't have specialized, dedicated personel on this, you won't be renting that unit 6 times a month. Reputation spread quickly in high-end rentals (and sales). Rentals require as much, if not more support than selling the equipment because the majority of your rentors have never used the equipment before, or even if they have, do not use it often enough to be familiar with it.

    You have to have backups of everything that customer would rent - the digital back/camera, lenses, cables, etc.

    Ideally, you provide 24/7 support. Most importantly, you have to be able to be reached. There's nothing worse than renting a kit, and in the middle of a shoot with clients all staring at you, have something break down and not be able to fix it because you're not that familiar with it, and not being able to reach the person who rented the kit to you.

    You have to have intimate and positive relationships with all the vendors who's products you rent so that you can stay up to date on (and even participate in) software/firmware updates. You have to know the history of the evolution of the product and how every component and element of that product has improved (or not) and what it's current status is in terms of viability for any particular projects that someone would be renting for.

    Managing digital rental inventory is also challenging. Changes happen frequently, and sometimes on a dime. While we usually receive some warning on new products, this isn't always the case, and sometimes moving expensive products like these within very short time frames is a challenge.

    I don't know of any photographers who truly succeed in renting out their kit on any sustainable level. It's a business model that requires specialization, committment and dedication.

    Steve Hendrix
    www.ppratlanta.com/digital.php

  4. #4
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    That's what I thought; that is, rental without expertise doesnt work. Not quite like cars (the guy's father used to own a National car rental franchise.)

    However, why is it so difficult?

    I want to rent a H3D II 39 and a Hy6. I can lease a 50-100k dollar car and drive it all over europe on a signature and a CC, and I cant get a 40k dollar camera without starting an insurance company! LOL Do I read Lance right?

    Anyway, cant be totally crazy since some people do it. However, if it is more complicated than filling in a form and giving a credit card I cant see why anybody would do it.

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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    That's what I thought; that is, rental without expertise doesnt work. Not quite like cars (the guy's father used to own a National car rental franchise.)

    However, why is it so difficult?

    I want to rent a H3D II 39 and a Hy6. I can lease a 50-100k dollar car and drive it all over europe on a signature and a CC, and I cant get a 40k dollar camera without starting an insurance company! LOL Do I read Lance right?

    Anyway, cant be totally crazy since some people do it. However, if it is more eg complicated than filling in a form and giving a credit card I cant see why anybody would do it.
    Bad business idea Victor.

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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Victor, as an Art Director/Creative Director for an ad agency, I've shot with a lot of photographers who rent the MF digital gear and hire tech assistants with expertise in running that specific gear. They not only know the cameras inside and out, they know the software extremely well... usually far better than the photographer does.

    Both the gear and the tech assistant are expense line items on most bids I receive from a photo studio.

    Over the past few years, I'd say 80% of those rentals have been Phase One backs using C1 software. This is NYC, Chicago and LA based shooters with good rental availability, and a pool of tech assistants. If it is table-top work, this is often done tethered and the back is on a view camera.

    In the Detroit area where I am based, there are a few studios for rent that have both high-end digital gear and experts to run that gear. One of them is City Lights Stage ... which is also an authorized Hasselblad dealer... the rep there is also a tech assistant that runs the digital capture.

    For those who own their gear, like me, and some other studios I've worked with, the photographer does know their own gear, but often still has an assistant working the capture end of the process.

    Hope this helps a bit.

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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Bad business idea Victor.
    I agree, but he could make it worse by opening a studio

  8. #8
    Subscriber robsteve's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Quote Originally Posted by lance_schad View Post
    ... and the insurance for replacement value in shipping.
    I found shipping insurance is the biggest problem with owning high end gear. I am not into medium format, but try insuring a $12,000 Leica 400mm f2.8 to get it shipped to have a $300 ROM conversion.

    To begin with, if you are not a corporate customer of the courier, they will not insure this high end gear. Then when there is a problem, they will not cover it unless electronic gear is in the manufacturers original packaging when shipped.

    Jack, with insurance as his specialty may chime in here, but I think your own commercial policy may not cover gear you ship, just gear in your possession, so you have to pay the courier insurance charges, that is if they will insure a high ticket item like a medium format kit.

    Robert

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Personally this is a business that I would not involve myself in any way. The risks are too high the gear too expensive and the ROI probably not worth it. I agree with a lot of what Steve has mentioned. To me this is one big hassle of a business to get involved with. If you want to do it on a personal individual level is one thing but as a business the expenses and risk just seem to high. Victor as a friend don't get involved
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  10. #10
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Sounds like the ones doing well have a full staff and full service; the stripped 'rent and run' doesnt seem a good approach. Car rent isnt a good model

    In any case MY problem is where to get my hands on a H3d and Hy6 in the DC area. The only high end store here is Penn, and they dont seem to carry HB
    they MIGHT have Hy6

    I'll have to call them

  11. #11
    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    I've rented my gear to local photographers before - ones that I at least know on a casual basis and it has worked out fine. Since I have a bunch of stuff that can't easily be rented at least in San Francisco, like the leica, rollei and zuiko glass its sort of a niche.

  12. #12
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    I think renting on a personal level can actually be good and a nice idea to get a little return on your money. But care needs to taken of course in case of damage and all that stuff . But the business of it can just be too expensive of an outlay of money. Dealers can do this with demo gear and all that so for them they have to have huge insurance policies anyway so it makes much more sense to rent than sit in a case waiting for a buyer
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Down here in N.Z I rent an H3D31 package that comes with an operator. I set this up because I wanted to have a back-up back and couldn't justify a spare sitting on the shelf. I also made the decision to only ever send the back out with a full kit and an operator to baby sit it (my assistant). So far it has worked well and rentals pretty much cover the lease on the camera and my assistant's wages.
    You can have a look at the rental site here:

    www.pixels2go.co.nz

    Nick-T

  14. #14
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    that is amazing. and the full day price with operator seems reasonable.

    by comparison washington dc seems 'bush league'

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    Senior Member irakly's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    i think i want to move to nz

  16. #16
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I think renting on a personal level can actually be good and a nice idea to get a little return on your money. But care needs to taken of course in case of damage and all that stuff . But the business of it can just be too expensive of an outlay of money. Dealers can do this with demo gear and all that so for them they have to have huge insurance policies anyway so it makes much more sense to rent than sit in a case waiting for a buyer
    well, I can hardly use all that I have, but to be a real service, one would need a reasonable inventory. For a one off, I would do it. In fact, a few years ago a local pro offered to rent my contax phase system. I offered a barter; some private studio tutoring for the use of the system

    didnt have the time though.

    I think if there were a 'clearing house' though someone to manage the requests and the rentals, it might be an interesting 'coop' concept. That is, oif a group of us were willing to rent to known parties, and someone handled the paperwork and the ship receipts (would still need to locally pack, but you can email fedex labels pretty easily.

    You know, that might be an interesting way for some advance amateurs as well as 'overbought' pros to defray some cost. Say give the processor clearing house 20-25% of the rental.

    could be a way to do it. SOrt of a 'what we all have' vs a 'what I need when' list.

    farmers do it

    Victor

  17. #17
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    A Co-op maybe a better idea . You get 20 folks interested in this with all these systems and when a call comes in you seek them out to rent. This way you don't have to buy the gear but still have to carry all the insurance under the name of the business. This may have some merit
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  18. #18
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    A Co-op maybe a better idea . You get 20 folks interested in this with all these systems and when a call comes in you seek them out to rent. This way you don't have to buy the gear but still have to carry all the insurance under the name of the business. This may have some merit
    Maybe worth considering as an adjunct to the B&S. That is, Guy if you can work aout a simple system for people posting their stuff and what they are willing to rent it out at, then the site handles the paperwork and gets let's say a 20% fee for the rental.

    the insurance would be an issue. How do most pros handle now? I have a simple floater policy. (you just need to declare for theft. I dont think bus insurance will do breakage, unless you pay a stiff premium.
    ANybody out there know how that works (I own a small business, but not in photography - I guess you can tell

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Well Jack is actually in the insurance business so he is the expert on that stuff but just for example . My business insurance for Guy Mancuso Photography to cover I believe 45 k in camera's and computers plus a 2 million general liability is i think 1200 per year or so. The issue maybe you can't insure others gear under that blanket you may have to own it all. This part is out of my turf . The concept is interesting the details may just kill it though.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    The only people I would trust with my gear are folks that I wouldn't charge, so that pretty much lets me out of the game.

  21. #21
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Yes David that is the other issue . Renting out 30 k or more in gear is a dangerous proposition. Don't think i would do it either
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  22. #22
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Market for Rental MF gear

    Oh, well good news for the MF manufacturers;

    I guess we will all have to buy our own!

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