Renting camera gear is a great way to try out a new body or lens before taking the plunge and purchasing it. It can also be a simple solution if you need a specific piece of gear for a job that’s unlike anything you normally shoot. There are some great rental options out there, but ShareGrid wants to do it a little differently.
The idea is that, rather than a centralized service shipping gear from a warehouse, they simply act as a middleman, connecting pros who have gear with others who might need it. Those receiving the gear pay a rate set by the owner. Once the owner gets his or her stuff back and marks the rental as “completed,” they receive the money from ShareGrid minus a handling fee and credit card costs.
If the idea of renting out your own gear sounds scary, you’re not crazy. ShareGrid plans to offer some serious insurance options, as well as a vetting process that users will have to go through before offering or renting gear.
It’s an interesting concept and I’m curious to see if it catches on. In theory, it could be even faster than traditional rental services because you don’t have to worry about shipping, you just go and meet the person, well, in person. The rates could also be lower depending on what local people are offering.
On the other hand, those doing the renting won’t have the advantage of an in-house maintenance staff to clean and calibrate lenses and cameras after usage.
If you want to give it a shot, you can reserve a spot in the program for when it opens wider. It’s planned for LA and then New York City, which makes sense, since there’s such a high concentration of imaging pros in those areas.