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Percentage Above Gear Rentals


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#1 Rick_Pearson

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 09:40 PM

It is not uncommon for one client's needs to be polar opposite from the needs of another client. This usually means renting a set of gear for one gig, and then a different set of gear for the next. My question is how much can a midwest corporate DP pull in for himself above equipment rentals and still remain competitive?

Hypothetically what would you ask for on a single full day HD corporate shoot if your equipment rentals totalled $1450?

Would you mark up a certain percentage above the rental fees? Would you set a finite dollar amount above the rental fees?

I am beginning to work with rental gear more often than my in-house SD equipment, and I really could use some wisdom in developing a pricing strategy that will keep me afloat and profitable.
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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 01:03 AM

Coming from a movie background, owning gear is the exception not the norm. That said, I have started renting my own lighting gear to some extent fairly recently. The rate I charge for my gear has no relation to my day rate.

I try and match whatever deal we are getting from our main rental house. If our rental house would be renting a 4x4 Kino for $50-$60 a day then I will rent for $45/ $50 a day. There are some jobs I have done that I make more in rentals then in day rate. I have done other jobs where the rentals are beer money relative to my day rate, it just varies; and thats why I like owning some gear.
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 01:32 AM

The client has to rent the gear from someone, right? So whether you're renting it to them or you're sub-renting shouldn't have any impact on your hourly or daily rate.
For example, rates vary wildly for steadicam. Operators can get as much as $150/hr on commercials and as little as $60/hr (or less) for TV, but the rental rate is normally very comparable. The standard for the steadicam rental is about $1000/day. The only thing that varies is the rate. Of course there are exceptions, but that is the general rule. It seems to be the opposite for you.
My point is, your rental rate shouldn't matter at all in regards to your hourly or daily rate. Your hourly/daily should stay basically the same if you're always doing the same type of work (i.e. corporate), but your rentals will differ based on the different package each client needs.
Does that make sense?
The amount of the rentals shouldn't matter much (if at all) when considering your personal rate.
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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:33 PM

It is not uncommon for one client's needs to be polar opposite from the needs of another client. This usually means renting a set of gear for one gig, and then a different set of gear for the next. My question is how much can a midwest corporate DP pull in for himself above equipment rentals and still remain competitive?

Hypothetically what would you ask for on a single full day HD corporate shoot if your equipment rentals totalled $1450?

Would you mark up a certain percentage above the rental fees? Would you set a finite dollar amount above the rental fees?

I am beginning to work with rental gear more often than my in-house SD equipment, and I really could use some wisdom in developing a pricing strategy that will keep me afloat and profitable.


If you are regular renter and use the same rental facility frequently talk to them. Ideally, if the 1,450 dollar rental package became a 1,000 to 1,100 dollar rental package, your time and experience in handling the equipment obligations needed for the job could then be paid for via a regular rental discount.

Rental houses are probably always getting squeezed by their clients, however repeat rental clients who don't thrash their equipment around and respect the intricacies of how to responsibly handle rental equipment is probably worth a discount.
Your fee for dealing with the gear rentals is something that should come out of the rental price in the form of a discount rather than a further mark-up above and beyond the regular rental price.

Of course, this only will become reality if the rental house actually appreciates your business.

The Wildcard to all of this is how often do you do last minute rentals and do you rent on days known to be big days for the rental house. It's much easier to give a discount when there is an excess of rental equipment available and it can be somewhat annoying to discount a rental item when three different people want the one remaining rental item in inventory.
Also, you may find you get the more thrashed rental items in exchange for the discount.

The other way to avoid all of these strategies is to get a modest fee for your prep day and your returns day. While this fee may be nowhere near your DP fee it can still soften the financial blow that the prep day and returns day can cause in terms of not being available for another gig because of your responsibility to the current job.
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#5 Kris Simmons

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 01:51 PM

10-15% is a fair mark-up for gear you have to rent. If you find that you are losing more than your fair share of projects, then you can consider not marking up the gear at all. Just be sure to stand firm on your day rate so at least you're getting what you need in that area. I've always found it to be a pain in the rear to have to rent equipment on a regular basis. This is why I've always tried to own a standard package that works for 90% of my shoots. In circumstances where I have to rent gear, I try to rent a body to come along as well. For instance, if you rent HD gear from an equipment house, see if they have a PA they can throw in the mix to actually bring the gear to the shoot and pack it up/return it afterwards. I have found that PAs from a rental house are usually less expensive than a standard freelance PA. Having someone else deal with the headaches associated with renting, picking up, packing and returning makes my day rate that much more enjoyable, especially if I have to offer a discount just to get the gig from time to time.

Kris Simmons
http://www.mindyourvideobusiness.com
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