Wednesday, April 27, 2016
I called into the shop yesterday to place mousetraps on the toilet seats and as I was waiting for the ladies loo to be vacated, I got to chatting with one of the professional photographers who was standing at the rental counter. I noticed he was taking out a set of studio mono lights - a very good quality item.
The odd thing for me was I remember him taking out these same mono lights with various light modifiers all last year, and, I think, the year before. Weekday rentals mostly and some weekend rentals. Lotsa rentals...
At this stage of the game I am not at all certain whether or not his rental charges have equalled or surpassed the price of the lights when new. If so, I think he has sort of shot himself in the foot.
Rental of professional equipment is a wise move for many reasons - not all of them financial.
a. If you cannot afford the gear to do the job, but have enough money to rent it for a day or so, do so.
b. If someone else is paying the tab...ie. an actual client...go for it. The cost of doing it is buried in the fee you charge.
c. The gear is sound, and working, and you have the guarantee of the shop on this.
d. The gear is up to date - clients who base their buying decisions on your gear will look more favourably on you.
e. If the gear breaks down and it is not your fault, you are free of the worry of repair costs.
f. You can rent exotic stuff that you'll never need more than once in your career. No storing junk in the studio shelves.
But the whole system breaks down if you have spent more on getting it out than you get back for the job or if you find that at the end of the day you have spent far more renting than buying. Plus each rental and return is two trips into the shop from your working location - time is money. Rental is also bond and insurance money paid out. You have to have that money tied up at each rental. And you can't take the rental stuff out of the state, either.
Now I've rented a lens or two in my time, for specific jobs. It was good, but I must say I was glad to give it back. It showed me that I did not want to buy it...and that negative was a good positive from a business angle.
So where this post is going... is to drive you to the rental counter for certain, but to get you to do some figuring...if you really like the stuff you rent, consider buying it. In some cases you might get some of the rent back in the purchase price.