Today I had a conversation with a couple of rental company folks who shared the same opinion I have concerning most of the new gear coming out.
Manufacturers have stopped making what people need, what companies require in order for their companies to be profitable. Instead, manufacturers are making gear they want to make. Ego gear I call it. Lights with bigger lamps, more gadgets or LED rings around the bezel. While this is all cool, the problem is this. The math no longer works.
10 years ago, practically an eternity in the lighting biz, you had the studio color, mac600, cyberlight, etc. These lights were generally bringing a company somewhere in the area of 5-7% rental rates. This means, each time it was rented, the company would see 5-7% of their purchase price as a rental rate – weekly. Cybers were costing $4500 and renting for $275-300 per week. Macs or Studio Colors, $3000 with a rental rate of $200. You get it.
Now, VL and Martin both have lights they’re asking over $10,000 for. And the rental rates have dropped to maybe $175-250 on these lights.
Rental companies are being asked to spend more for much less. A $10k moving light with a $200 weekly rate and 75% utilization is going to take a year and a half just to break even not including labor, overhead, etc.
It’s not a shock that we are seeing companies changing hands. I really respect these rental companies for trying but I think it’s coming to a point where the manufacturers need to smarten up and start building more fiscally responsible products.
If US buyers could only buy $100,000 automobiles where would we be right now? Same goes for gear. We are coming to a break point in my opinion and manufacturers are going to feel it.