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Thinking of starting a gear rental for my local area
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Thinking of starting a gear rental for my local area

Hey slutz I’m thinking of renting out some of my vintage gear but wanted to get some feedback from anyone in the business. Aside from the obvious risks, were there any other gotchas that you didn’t know before you got into the business? I have a few choice pieces of gear that I obviously don’t want stolen or damaged but I also feel like there is an underserved market in my area(Houston, Tx). To those who do rent your gear- do you accompany the gear as part of the deal? Do you limit it to studio use only?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Head
Hey man. I think it's a great idea if you are looking to make some extra money. But please understand that your vintage gear WILL deteriorate very quickly. That is just the nature of rentals.

At my old job, we rented live sound stuff. After about 2 rentals, it was clear that the gear wasn't new anymore. After about 6 months, it wasn't even a matter of getting the gear serviced, it was just "oh wow, our sh*t is f*cked".

It left a pretty bad taste in my mouth as far as renting gear goes. Hahaha
Old 1 week ago
  #3
You have to know the clients really well and be prepared for dents and scratches that no-one will own up to.It can be a headache .
Perhaps you should consider an online service where people send you files.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakenolan View Post
Hey man. I think it's a great idea if you are looking to make some extra money. But please understand that your vintage gear WILL deteriorate very quickly. That is just the nature of rentals.

At my old job, we rented live sound stuff. After about 2 rentals, it was clear that the gear wasn't new anymore. After about 6 months, it wasn't even a matter of getting the gear serviced, it was just "oh wow, our sh*t is f*cked".

It left a pretty bad taste in my mouth as far as renting gear goes. Hahaha
That’s what I’m afraid of. I was hoping to mitigate it by either being the equipment tech for the gear I rent but it would prove impractical with my other job. The other thing I’m realizing is that I would have to authorize the renter for the full replacement value or some non trivial amount which kind of defeats the purpose. I obviously would be doing this for the money but I also want to see some of the gear live on in new music.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by flanagan View Post
You have to know the clients really well and be prepared for dents and scratches that no-one will own up to.It can be a headache .
Perhaps you should consider an online service where people send you files.
This is definitely something I have in mind as well. Thanks
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
cavern's Avatar
 

Treat it like a commercial rental. Don't mess around.
When I rent equipment for my business, I have to leave a credit card no. with the knowledge that it has to be returned in the same condition or there is a charge on my card.
If it gets stolen or lost, I am billed for the amount of the value.
Don't let something go out with insufficient ID and a cash deposit that is smaller than the value.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
mike vee's Avatar
sounds like a terrible idea
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
Treat it like a commercial rental. Don't mess around.
When I rent equipment for my business, I have to leave a credit card no. with the knowledge that it has to be returned in the same condition or there is a charge on my card.
If it gets stolen or lost, I am billed for the amount of the value.
Don't let something go out with insufficient ID and a cash deposit that is smaller than the value.

That's how its done. look at what happens when you rent a car. They take pictures of the exterior and not any dents or scratches then make you sign for the condition you received the vehicle. Its also has gas in in and you have to fill it back up before returning it.

If you bring it back with any additional scratches you pay for it. They simply don't charge you for normal wear and tear.

If I rented gear I'd likely think about hard shell cases for the gear. At least the bulk of the damage would occur with the cases not the gear. If you include cored then you definitely want a check list too and clear identifiers that have your company logo.

You could easily bar code the gear then simply scan it when it comes back in. If they come up short on mics and cable, stands or whatever, then they simply get billed for the losses, no questions asked. If they magically find the missing item, then you can refund them.

Some things are harder to check out on return. Cables, dropped mics, if its a tube amp I've seen people swap the tubes out and stick used ones in there. In all you can make money but the asset depreciating is fast and you have to realize you have to take what you earn and put aside enough cash to purchase new gear as the old goes bad.

When you rent a system you need the means to move it too which used to mean a rental track with a motorized tail gate or ramp. You also need a technician who can patch the gear back up as damage occurs. If you pay to have that work done, you wont have much profit left. I've known many sound men and technicians who know musical gear get into the rental thing.

The ones who make out better are the ones who haul it, set it up, Run it then haul it back. The savings for a band renting the entire system then paying for the sound man and truck separately simply isn't profitable, plus you work your ass off picking up the track and gear plus hauling it too and from the gigs. We did it both ways and renting the system and sound man was essentially the same costs as renting the system. The only difference is we had the gear to rehearse with and gig with.

The availability of the sound company on different nights can be problematic too. Unless you have a well planned calendar set up and reliable sound company you cand wind up getting backups to the backups on a busy night and have questionable sound being done, whereas the rented systems its can be the same every night.

You can also do a rent to own. a percentage of the money can go towards the gear purchase you rent it. This can be more expensive but you could eventually own the system and its much more likely to stay in decent shape if its being paid off. Given the fact many bands don't know if they'll be successful once they start gigging, this can be a great option for some.

Of course simply buying it is likely the best option. I prefer to own the gear myself. I been in bands that bought the gear together an its never works out when the band breaks up. If one guy owns it all then he should be compensated a bit for its war and tear, but that doesn't seem to happen in bands like it does in other industries. The company I work for offers company cars and they have it worked out where the people who use them wind up spending as much or more as people who use their own vehicles for travel. (plus there are tax benefits people can claim)
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 

I used to work at an audio rental place in Manhattan in the 80's. They took a credit card imprint from every client. If your credit limit could not handle the replacement cost of the item, you did not get the rental.

They had a very comprehensive contract, I believe there was something about your "first born" and the signature had to be in blood. Maybe not.

The rental cost per day was usually calculated at 10%-15% of the value of the item. They had some "deals" for weekends or a week for the price of 4 days, etc. Everything was mounted in nice strong rack cases or packed in Halliburtons. I don't ever remember a problem.

But I think the fact that they were in a major metropolitan area and during a time when almost all of their customers were working professionals and commercial studios, made it a different proposition than such a business would be now. Today there are a lot more people who 'desire' to rent such gear, but they are, as a class, largely underqualified to operate it, much less care for it and respect it.

You also have to consider the overhead. We had a full-time tech who sat at his workbench and checked everything out as it came back in. And fixed it if it was not 100% up to spec. And we had another full time guy - me - who hooked it up, tested it out and made sure everything worked just before it went out. Fresh batteries if needed and so on.

Quote:
To those who do rent your gear- do you accompany the gear as part of the deal? Do you limit it to studio use only?
Some people above mentioned PA rentals. I recently tried to rent a PA, thinking that, like back in my rock band days, it would be just a matter of going to the local music store. I found that nobody rents that gear alone anymore. You can hire the guy and the guy will come with the gear. That seems to be the norm these days.

Do you have your own studio? With a decent treated room? If your vintage gear is mics and preamps, you might as well say: "come to my studio" to use the vintage gear. If you don't have a suitable space, maybe you can make a deal with a few studios you trust to be the 'host' for your rentals.

They would have to pass the cost along to their clients (or eat it!) so don't be surprised if you don't get that many takers.
Old 5 days ago
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by S_A_P View Post
Hey slutz I’m thinking of renting out some of my vintage gear but wanted to get some feedback from anyone in the business. Aside from the obvious risks, were there any other gotchas that you didn’t know before you got into the business? I have a few choice pieces of gear that I obviously don’t want stolen or damaged but I also feel like there is an underserved market in my area(Houston, Tx). To those who do rent your gear- do you accompany the gear as part of the deal? Do you limit it to studio use only?
I did this for awhile for similar reasons a bunch of years ago.

Ultimately you have to expect some dents and scratches however it can be a good way to make some easy profits. I never once had a problem, the gear got used but overall nothing so drastic as to depreciate it beyond its current value.

A little contract and taking their drivers license and a deposit is a good way. If you do a walk around like a rental car and have them sign off on it then at least you have some documentation should small claims arise.

If you can join one of those finance companies you might be able to swing full payment up front and offer easy terms to people. This would possibly eliminate the risk and worry.
Old 4 days ago
  #11
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for that feedback. I’m going to research the insurance costs. I’m thinking this could be doable.
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