Should I rent out my camera to make money?

arthouse's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 07/23/2009 - 11:15pm

So I have a bit of a dilemma. I've recently purchased a $8500 'cinema' camera (with lenses) and I got it on credit so I still have to pay a lot of it back. I run a small video production company so I can pay it off through various client projects but recently I've been approached by a camera hire company who are interested in renting out our camera to their customers in return for 50/50 split of the rental charge. The hire company has assured us that if anything were to ever happen to the camera it would be covered by insurance that the person hiring the camera would be forced to take out before being able to hire it in the first place. They've said that if for any reason this wasn't an option (if they ran off with the camera) then the hire company's own insurance would kick in and cover it. I'm also fully insured. So - this could make me some money and could help pay off the camera. It's currently not being used too much at all so at the moment it's just sitting here not making me money. Could this be a really great way of letting it pay for itself? Part of me worries about it being treated carelessly by the people renting it out and my valuable asset being exposed to excessive wear and tear such as scratches and spillages (which might not necessarily be evident but which could potentially mess up the camera).


I was wondering if anyone had any experience of this or any strong opinions? What would you do?



fx1shooter's picture
Last seen: 3 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 11/13/2009 - 2:45pm
Plus Member

I would offer my services but NEVER rent out my bread and butter!


if something hapens to it you may have to delay a 100% paying job because you don't have it...


if you don't use it sell it to the rental office and tell them if you do need it, you will rent from them...


my 2 cents worth!


keep shooting!





Ed Rogers's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: 02/02/2008 - 2:35am
Plus Member

I wouldn't chance it but that's me.

brunerww's picture
Last seen: 4 days 16 hours ago
Joined: 06/09/2011 - 6:40am
Plus Member

If the rental company and the insurers involved are legit, I'd rent it out and let the renters help you pay off your loan  Of course you will want to make sure the insurance covers *damage*, and not just loss.


If you're in business, you want to maximize assets and minimize liabilities.  A camera collecting rental income is an asset.  A camera sitting in the studio unused while your loan accrues interest is a liability.


Hope this is helpful!



Hybrid Camera Revolution

paulears's picture
Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
Joined: 11/05/2006 - 8:36am

I'm not sure where you are, but getting insurance for 3rd party dry hires for my kit was amazingly expensive, or simply not available when I had this idea to recover some of the finance laid out for expensive lighting desks. For over half the year it sits on the shelf so hiring it out sounds good. The insurance companies I approached were very open about it. The problem was that I was taking insurance specifically for periods when the risk was high, whereas normal insurance has perhaps a years worth of payments with the risk limited to short specific times, therefore a lower risk, and lower cost. The price I was quoted was so high it wiped out the hire costs anticipated. The other insurance company simply wouldn't offer cover at all. They're the same companies who are happy to insure the gear as long as I am part of the deal, but 3rd party hires frighten them off. Maybe it's different in the states.


I was assured by one client who I allowed to use my equipment that they'd look after it (it was with students) and if any damage was done, they'd replace or repair, and I had this in writing - and they did honour it, but they too were unable to insure the equipment as it didn't belong to them. Insurance is so difficult nowadays with anything other than standard cover.

Adam Derewecki's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 06/06/2014 - 2:59pm

It's amazing how polarized people are on the topic of renting out cameras. Although if there's no insurance, it's pretty risky. Not to mention if it's a friend, and the terms of renting aren't clear, you could throw away a long friendship over a few hundred bucks.


I don't want to come off as too spammy, but if you're serious about lending your gear, you should take a look at my P2P camera lending service, CameraLends. We guarantee your rental so if anything happens, we're on the hook instead of the renter. I've made >$1000 renting out my Mark II, for example.

Harold1's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 05/27/2014 - 9:53am

I have never been comfortable renting out a camera, especially if that is how you make your money. I really do not think that anyone giving me any guarantees would give me enough comfort giving my camera out of my hands. While it may be a way to make a quick buck, it could also lead to a lot of frustration. 

Resolution Rentals's picture
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 06/19/2015 - 1:14pm

If you have the proper insurances, or the ones renting have the proper insurances it's for sure something to consider. You can tack on the costs lost in the case of missed jobs as well for certain insurance policies too.

We're a professional film/video and photography rental house in Philadelphia. If you have questions about renting out your gear or perhaps offering it as a sub-rental with us. Feel free to give us a call anytime. :D

paulears's picture
Last seen: 1 day 11 hours ago
Joined: 11/05/2006 - 8:36am

The usual rule of thumb seems to be that if you are an owner/operator, then your kit is prescious and you are only really happy if the hirer is somebody you. If you are a rental house, you buy the kit to hire out, and accept occasional damage and loss as a business risk - and either insure it, or stand the risk yourself. My own rule, even though I now have considerable stocks of kit, is that I only rent items I can afford to lose, or are duplicates. The hassle of doing credit checks, and negotiating insurance is a real pain!

Ambient Skies's picture
Last seen: 1 month 3 days ago
Joined: 08/31/2015 - 8:41am

It's pretty simple, do you have the time to sit around and wait for jobs to roll in? If the insurance covers damage and loss, why wouldn't you want to make as much money off of the camera as quickly as possible, before your camera trickles into the obsolete arena. If it gets damaged or destroyed, you get a new camera, it's a win win situation if the insurance policies are in order.

Ed Merritt's picture
Last seen: 1 month 13 hours ago
Joined: 07/03/2012 - 2:02am
Plus Member

Some of the rental companies will require a deposit equal to the value of the gear. The deposit is authorized but not charged to a credit card. If the renter doesn't return or damage has occurred, the charge is put through or adjusted in the case of damage.

99% of the time I wouldn't rent my gear unless I went with it or I was assured - in writing - such a company had a valid insurance policy, and I would check it out thoroughly.

Jack Wolcott's picture
Last seen: 6 hours 6 min ago
Joined: 01/02/2008 - 11:51pm
Plus Member

I wouldn't lend my camera to my sister, let alone hand it over to a rental house to hand over to a complete stranger.
However, if for some reason I decided I had to do this I would have my attorney draw up a contract with the rental house, a contract that spelled out that the repair of ANY damages would be paid for in full by the rental house at the time of repair, that in the case of loss you would be reimbursed x-dollars to replace the camera, and would include any other details to insure the well-being of my $8500 investment.
I would also have an inventory listing camera, lens and any other accessories, which I would have the rental house sign each time they took possession of the gear.
And I'd make certain to have enough paperwork to satisfy the IRS when I claimed depreciation of the camera at the end of the year.
Trust no one and leave nothing to chance.