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Grip Truck Equipment Question


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#1 Joe Fugallo

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 12:31 PM

I am a film student who is currently studying at Full Sail University and when I graduate I am planning on moving back to New York and starting a grip truck rental company. Does anyone have an idea on what gear I should buy to please my customers and impress them at the same time?
I would appreciate any opinions or answers
Thanks for your time!

-Joe
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#2 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 01:50 PM

The gear is always the same, there's just more or less of it. As a working grip, I find the most important aspect of a package the layout of the truck, and the quality and quantity of the carts. If I need something, I should be able to find it, and pull it without digging for it. A really great truck will have a lots of carts that don't need more than two people to push. It will have a 4'x8' rack on sliders. It will have an apple box cart, instead of a god-damn hand truck that needs to get re-stacked every time it moves!
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#3 Joe Fugallo

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 12:13 PM

The gear is always the same, there's just more or less of it. As a working grip, I find the most important aspect of a package the layout of the truck, and the quality and quantity of the carts. If I need something, I should be able to find it, and pull it without digging for it. A really great truck will have a lots of carts that don't need more than two people to push. It will have a 4'x8' rack on sliders. It will have an apple box cart, instead of a god-damn hand truck that needs to get re-stacked every time it moves!


Well thanks for responding and I work as a grip right now and I completely agree with the apple box cart. My plans were for a c-stand cart,4X4 open frame/gel frame cart, (4)tweenies, (2) nook lights (6) blondes, (6) red heads (4)1K softs, (4)2K zip softs, (6)1K baby's (Mole Richardson) (6) 2K BJ's, (20) Baby Stands, (6) junior stands and a chest to store all the duck bills,gripheads,cardalinis, maffer clamps, pipe clamps, broken arms, flex arms, adapters like butt plugs(junior to baby) and nail-on's (junior and baby studs), an apple box cart with five of every size apple box.
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#4 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 12:50 PM

Well thanks for responding and I work as a grip right now and I completely agree with the apple box cart. My plans were for a c-stand cart,4X4 open frame/gel frame cart, (4)tweenies, (2) nook lights (6) blondes, (6) red heads (4)1K softs, (4)2K zip softs, (6)1K baby's (Mole Richardson) (6) 2K BJ's, (20) Baby Stands, (6) junior stands and a chest to store all the duck bills,gripheads,cardalinis, maffer clamps, pipe clamps, broken arms, flex arms, adapters like butt plugs(junior to baby) and nail-on's (junior and baby studs), an apple box cart with five of every size apple box.


Why all the lampheads if its a grip truck you are after. Also, do you have business lined up for your planned rental company ? I cannot imagine that people are going to flock to hire your gear just because you bought it. Think long and hard before you put your cash down.

Regards

Sanjay Sami
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#5 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 01:46 PM

Yeah, I didn't address the whole "business plan." If you want to serve big features, you need 40 feet of truck, and a big investment. If you're not a key, it doesn't make a lot of sense. If you go smaller, no one's going to rent grip only, so put lights on the truck by all means, but you have to have some HMI's, then you need a service dep't ... If you've got that kind of money, produce a good film and go for a white glove career! Good luck.
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#6 Raj Bhatnagar

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 07:41 PM

I was just talking to a guy that owns a small rental company in town. He was saying how slow business has been for traditional grip equipment. Specifically, he was saying he can't rent his Fishers to save his life. Got me thinking when I saw your post so I thought I'd share some business related thoughts:

1. In NYC there are tons of established companies with well outfitted grip trucks. Competing with them will be difficult because they already have their name/image out there and they likely have way more equipment than you'll be able to get as a startup.

2. Check out what the market will bear as far as grip equipment. Are the companies in NYC so busy they can't keep up? Or is business slow? If it's busy, that might be your opportunity to cater to those who can't get equipment from the established companies because they're so busy. If they're slow, you might be getting involved in a business that doesn't have enough customers/demand.

I'd say differentiate yourself by having traditional grip equipment PLUS a whole lot of indie type equipment for the smaller guys.

That might be a great way to make a name for your company and ensure you're not relying solely on one customer base that is already being served by a large number of established companies.
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#7 Joe Fugallo

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 04:39 PM

I just want to say thanks to everyone who replied! I really appreciate the advice and consideration and Raj I really appreciate the tips I'll try to take them into practice.
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#8 Hal Smith

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 07:08 AM

If you're going to stock lighting gear, have two or three Source Four ellipsoidal's on board the truck with a selection of lens barrels. Later model 750 watt S4's have been going for around $250 on eBay and extra lens barrels (with various focal length lenses) usually bring about $100 or so.

S4's are incredibly versatile and have been getting increasingly popular in film/video circles in recent years.
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#9 Joe Fugallo

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 12:09 PM

Thanks Hal! I really like source four's for their cut-ability and the overall versatility of the light, I will look into pricing out a source four package
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#10 Toby Orzano

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 07:49 PM

My advice would be to find work at an established rental house before jumping into the business yourself. You'll get a much better idea of how to run things, what people are actually renting, what headaches you might run into. You'll find out what works and what doesn't before you drop a bunch of money on something that doesn't. And you'll be making some money while you learn.

Edited by Toby Orzano, 05 June 2011 - 07:50 PM.

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#11 David Ross

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 09:47 PM

My advice would be to find work at an established rental house before jumping into the business yourself. You'll get a much better idea of how to run things, what people are actually renting, what headaches you might run into. You'll find out what works and what doesn't before you drop a bunch of money on something that doesn't. And you'll be making some money while you learn.


After reading all the post, I agree with Toby!

DR
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#12 Oktay Ortabasi

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 12:14 PM

I am a film student who is currently studying at Full Sail University and when I graduate I am planning on moving back to New York and starting a grip truck rental company. Does anyone have an idea on what gear I should buy to please my customers and impress them at the same time?
I would appreciate any opinions or answers
Thanks for your time!

-Joe


Joe grip trucks come in all different sizes. You can have a small van with a 1 ton up to a Semi with a 10 Ton. Below is a standard west coast 1 ton that Cinemagadgets sells. I hope that helps.

The One Ton Grip Package Includes:

seven C-Stands, one Short C-stand,

two Double Riser Combo Stands,

one Baby Offset Arm, two Baby Plates,

two Bead Board Holders, one Foam Core Holder,

two Super Clamps, two Drop Ceiling Clips,

two Stand Adapters, two Junior Grip Heads,

two 6" C-clamps w/ 5/8" Baby Pins,

two 12" Furniture Clamps w/ 5/8" Baby Pins,

two Cardellini Center Jaw Clamps,

five Safety Hangers, one 4' Step Ladder,

eight 20 lb. Sandbags, four Full Apple Boxes,

two Half Apple Boxes, two Quarter Apple Boxes,

two Pancake Apple Boxes, five #1 Grip Clips,

five #2 Grip Clips, five #3 Grip Clips,

two Furniture Pads, one 18"x24" Single Net Scrim,

one 18"x24" Double Net Scrim, one 18"x24" Silk,

two 18"x24" Solid Flags,

one 24"x36" Single Net Scrim,

one 24"x36" Double Net Scrim, one 24"x36" Silk,

two 24"x36" Solid Flags, and one 6'x6' Butterfly Set.
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#13 Tom Guiney

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 09:42 PM

+1 on Toby- check out how the competition does things. Also, worth your while might be a trip to LA to see how the top end does it. I'm a new yorker, but I admit we are the second city of film and video, not the 1st.

2- Who's your market? I'm assuming you don't have a ton of money, so perhaps low-budget features? low-budg videos? Maybe want to figure out what kind of jobs you'll be trying to get and tailor your truck to that market.

I feel like you could go one of two ways: either your truck is awesome, everything perfectly laid out, extremely user friendly, great carts, nice equipment, or else it's super cheap and your point of entry is the low rental price. Frames of reference: I did a feature in Nebraska once, and the 5-ton we had from Lights On! Omaha was amazing. Better than any truck I had seen in NYC. And in LA, they've got the whole custom cart thing worked out really well. Then the flip side of that is the beat-to-poop three-ton you can get from Beyond our reality in NYC which is fairly crappy, but it largely has everything you need, and the whole shebang is only 1000$ a day, possibly including driver.

You'll be going out with it as driver/gaffer/key grip/swing I assume? Do you have a client base at all? Warning: there is a LOT of equipment in New York already. You're committed to NYC? HAve you done any market research, perhaps there are soem cities with decent film markets that are underserved by equipment vendors? Another omaha example: yes theur truck was nice, but the gear in Nebraska was SO overpriced. A possible opportunity for a low-price option.

Have you spent some time working in new york yet? Have you made the friendly acquaintance of a number of production managers/producers etc. here? Maybe it's just my cautious nature, but if I was going to jump in to gear heavily, I would want some friendly clients lined up first. Just having gear will not necessarily generate income. My experience with gear ownership has been extremely conservative, but very safe and profitable- I buy gear right when I get a job that demands it and thus pay off a certain part of it immediately. The flip side of that is that I have seen many people do very well by jumping deeply into debt to get assets with serious earning power. Smash Camera, aanycdolly, various others.

So: get an awesome truck or a cheap truck, nothing in between. If it's going to be an awesome truck, go see some really nice trucks, probably in LA, to get some examples of what awesome looks like. There aren't that many great 5-ton trucks that I know about in NYC. Good luck.

Tom Guiney
Gaffer, DP
airboxlights.com inflatable softboxes for litepanels
lighting tips on twitter @airboxlights
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