setting up a company...

9 replies [Last post]
Joined: Jan 29 2009

hi all,

long time reader, first time poster!

I am currently in the process of setting up a small video production company (starting off producing weddings, training videos, commercial videos, showreels etc) as I am just about to graduate film school. (I have completed two 'commercial' projects so far.)

But the reason I am posting this is I have noticed that there are no equipment hire companies within 50 miles of my location! So what I'd like to do is set up an arm of the business focusing on equipment hire.

So if I were to do this, what would you expect to be able to hire from me?

Also any info on the pitfalls a newbie company like mine can encounter will also be appreciated!!!


Joined: Aug 29 1999

You could start by telling us where in UK you are?
The pitfalls of running a business.? With all due respect, if you need to ask that question, perhaps you should not be doing it at all?
Wishing you the best, but, try focussing your question a might help in getting a sensible answer.

Time for a new signature now...

Joined: May 26 1999
izzyorion wrote:
...any info on the pitfalls a newbie company like mine can encounter

Have you really thought this through properly or is it just a 'pie in the sky' or 'pipe-dream' idea?

If you are serious about setting up a kit hire company, it depends on what sector of the business you are going for; hoobyist and enthusiast or professional. Either way, if you're getting into hire, it will probably mean a massive investment in equipment, large insurance costs, substantial legal fees (to create legally binding water-tight contracts etc.).

If you are intending to hire out your own working kit then there are lots of potential problems... What do you use when it's out on hire? What if it comes back broken? (you need to have contingencies), you will need at least 2 of everything in case a piece of kit breaks down when it's out on hire. You will need to offer a replacement and possibly even get it to the client's working location quickly. Then everything needs to have adequate flight-cases (many professionals will expect to be able to travel extensively with the kit they hire), but even if you're hiring to low-end kit to smaller producers, wedding videomakers or the public, you need to ensure your kit is given adequate protection. Most hirers will not treat hired kit with much respect.

Insurance works out very expensive, we pay over £2k a year in insurance for our kit (we are a small video production company with probably around £120k of working kit), if we were doing hire this would add about another 50% to our insurance.

As far as what is wanted...

Pros want to hire professional cameras and kit; the Red One, DigiBeta, HDCAM, XDCAM HD and proffesional accessories and lenses (a 'pro' lens can cost you in excess of £12K etc. and at the lower end; equipment like Sony's Z5, Z1, A1 etc. then lighting kits, lenses, follow focus systems, matte boxes, radio mic systems .

Hope this helps and good luck!

Dave R Smith
Joined: May 10 2005

A visit to the Broadcast Video Expo, 17-19 February 2009 would enable you to see what service providers have on offer and chat/market research visitors.

Don't forget some hire co's use courier service, so may cover you area from other end of country.
Update your profile, to let us know where in UK you are.

Optex used to do this on a large scale in London area, but they went bust several years ago.
It's a high risk area, so if you are not already familiar with the sector, I'd leave hire alone.
I'd probably say same if you were familiar. The pitfalls are too numerous to mention.

Derek Langford
Joined: Aug 28 2004

Apart from some very assute comments from the above contributers there are a few more aspects to consider.

You state in your question that there are no hire companies within 50 miles of your location wherever that may be ! Have you considered that there maybe a very good reason for this.

What market research have you done both from within your area and also nationally to establish the need for the proposed service that you are considering?

As one or two have said above to finance such a venture howerver small to start with requires capital which if you are very luck you will have yourself but more likely will have to raise from a bank or other source. To do this you will have to produce a business plan which has to be backed up with more factual information than you appear to have at present. Therefore before you go near this idea you need to do a lot more homework from a lot of sources and I suggest if you consider following up the idea then proceed with extream caution!!

A further point worth mentioning is that with the downturn in the market a lot of companies will be putting a lot of ideas on the back burner which include what is termed non essential cost this will include a lot of things in the minds which may include te use of video and associated equipment so now is not necessarily the right time to finance this type of business. It would be interesting to see if other members are experiencing any downturn in their business enquiries which could add to my comments on this area

Sorry to be so negative but a lot of people have lost a lot of money while pursuing schemes that appear to be far from thought through

Derek Video Logic

Joined: Sep 23 2008

Are you talking about Cardiff? I use Visual Impact, they are based near the Helipad at the docks. They can cross hire any camera you want at a good price.

and a couple of others I forget the name of.

Joined: Oct 24 2001
Derek Langford wrote:
You state in your question that there are no hire companies within 50 miles of your location wherever that may be !

It quite clearly says Cardiff, doesn't it?

tilski's picture
Joined: Sep 5 2000

Hello Izzy,

I understand where you are coming from. Being a lecturer and once upon a time a graduate I too had similar thoughts to yourself. The best advice I can offer is to start small and do a lot of market research. Don't even bother with the kit hire side of things yet. Get yourself enough freelance work and make contacts. This industry is mostly who you know. When you start bringing in a decent wage then you can think about expanding. Many freelance video producers hire their kit in down time. But like the previous poster suggests. You need to cover all bases. What happens if your kit comes back damaged and you've got a shoot the following day?!!!

Start small and work out to your comfort zone. Sorry if this is all nonsense but I have been on the bottle again.

Good luck and feel to respond as we haven't heard from you yet.

What's to become of us.... What is to become of us?

Joined: Jan 13 2007

Well you found one thing out, nothing around for 50 miles. Now ask yourself WHY?.
You may have done some work and you think there is plenty of work out there for you to go ahead and start out.
I only say one thing to you. Do some market research. Before venturing into that field.

Dugi's picture
Joined: Jul 2 2009

Hi izzyorion

You have 2 branches of Visual Impact on your doorstep, one in Cardiff and one in Bristol.

I've known John Quincey since he started Visual Impact from a little Victorian cottage in Teddington in the eighties. He's a good guy and has worked hard to make the company what it is today. Have a look through his site and see what he stocks for hire.

Also have a look at this site

Everybody wants to hire from a company with the latest, reliable gear,maintenance and support ( both in house and in the field) well packaged and in good flight cases etc. for travel.

I bought an NTSC Betacam SP from Visual Impact many years ago on the condition that I had it delivered before I went off on a 3 week shoot in the Far East. It never arrived in time and they supplied me with a hire camera. My camera was delivered from Sony to V.I the day after I left the UK. The following day there was a guy from V.I. sitting in the lobby of our Shanghai hotel with my new camera and all the 'bits'. He took the hire camera and flew back to Teddington the following day at their own expense. That's the sort of support a hirer will expect.

You're going to have to upgrade all your hire stock every few years. Can your business finance this sort of investment?

I think, perhaps, video hire is more than just an arm of a "small video production company".

However, Good Luck to you. send me your rate card when you're up and running.


EDIT. Wish I'd noticed The OP was last January and nothing since!!!!!. Could have gone to bed 20 minutes ago.