Renting Vs. Buying Video Equipment
Here are some scenarios where renting just makes more economical sense compared to buying your video equipment.
You Don’t Have the Cash
Obviously one of the main contributing factors to opt for a rental rather than a purchase is the money. When you’re on your own, you’ll have to supply yourself with your video equipment. But one thing’s for sure – a limited cash flow shouldn’t stand in the way of having a successful career.
When funds are low, looking into rental options is a good idea. You’ll be able to conduct all the projects on your schedule without having to drain your account to pay for the necessary equipment. Even if you financed the equipment during a purchase, you’d still be paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars more in interest payments compared to renting.
And don’t forget that you’re responsible to maintaining and repairing the equipment yourself after you purchase it. Instead, the staff from the rental company will do this for you if you rent. You’d be better off spending that time working with a client rather than trying to fix a malfunctioning piece of equipment.
You’re Just Starting Your Business
Just like with any other new start-up business, it can take a lot of time and money to build the company from the ground up. All the equipment that you’ll need to get to fill your inventory can leave you broke before you’ve even been given a chance to start. Until you get a steady clientele bringing in the bucks, money is probably going to be super tight.
Even if you do have a lot of money to cover this equipment before taking on any clients, it can still be a huge burden on your working capital to buy all of this equipment up front. Video production equipment, lighting, audio gear, and all the rest can cost you tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the projects you plan to take on.
You need actual paying clients to run a profitable business. And if you’re just starting out, you’ll have to be very thrifty with your spending until you’ve got a regular roster of clients that are paying you on a regular basis. You shouldn’t have to blow a huge amount of money just to have the latest equipment in order to impress your clients. Not only that, but it’s nearly impossible to predict what your clients’ needs will be a few years down the road. Why get stuck with equipment that will be obsolete in the near future?
Some of Your Clients Have Specialized Needs
While the majority of your clients will probably have typical specifications, a few others might have more specialized needs. Perhaps you’re taking on a client that wants a rock climbing adventure captured on film. They’ve given you an idea of what they need, and you are then in a position to see if the equipment you have is enough to cover these needs.
You shouldn’t have to buy a whole bunch of equipment (that will cost you tons of money) just to meet this one client’s expectations. Instead, a rental makes more sense. It’s a lot more cost-effective to rent this equipment for the one or two times that you’ll actually need it.
Your Experience is Limited
Getting experience on the job is the best way to learn. Different types of equipment will work differently, so having some hands-on experience will surely help. But do you really know which pieces of equipment are better for your specific line of work? It doesn’t make any economical sense (nor is it even feasible) to buy all the different items just to figure out which is right for your business.
Instead, renting gives you the chance to test the waters with different items at a fraction of the price of buying them. It makes sense to rent a few different pieces of equipment for your productions to get a feel for their capabilities, and determine which works best for you.
You’re a Freelancer Working From Home
Many freelancers these days work from home in order to try to keep overhead costs as low as possible. It’s easy, and it’s convenient too. The only problem is that it can be tough to create the perfect studio at home to impress your clients. Sometimes there’s just not enough space in a typical home to create the distance that’s often needed. Many times your equipment can become a bit of a burden in this scenario. If you decide to work from home, renting your equipment as needed can be a real God-send if space is tight.
Justifying Costs to Your Customer
Part of running a business is justifying all the costs that the customer will have to pay for. Part of this cost comes from the price of the equipment. You’ll have to cover the expense of your equipment when you’re charging you clients. The thing is, clients aren’t too concerned about the cost of the equipment. In their minds, they feel that these expenses are the problem of the business owner, and that the charges given should be fair.
In this case, you can drastically cut the sticker price by renting your equipment so you don’t have to jack up the price just to cover the expense of your equipment purchases. It’s easier to show your client a smaller equipment charge to a rent camera lens, for instance, rather than justifying a much bigger charge as a result of your need to pay off a piece of equipment.
Shooting in Remote Areas
If you’ve gotten a gig that’s out in a remote area far from your home studio, you might need special equipment to get the job done. But rather than buy this equipment that you’ll probably only use once or twice throughout your entire career, it makes a lot more financial sense to rent it instead.
Even if you don’t mind spending the extra cash for it, what if the gig is happening soon, and you realized you don’t have all the equipment necessary to complete it? Better yet, what if the location you’re heading to isn’t safe for your equipment – such as a camping site, rock climbing site, or at sea? At least you’ll know that your own equipment is safely at home while you take your rental items along with you instead.
The Bottom Line
There are clearly a bunch of scenarios where renting your video equipment makes a lot more sense than buying it. There are literally dozens of reasons why you should choose to rent your equipment. You can use every experience as a chance to develop your video production career, as well as building a reputation for providing your clients with the most options for the best quality projects.