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These Filmmakers Are Earning Money By Renting Out Their Own Equipment

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What Is Fat Lama and How Does It Work?
Fat Lama is a peer to peer rental marketplace for your stuff. Whether you've got a gimbal which you only use occasionally, a spare camera which sits collecting dust or lenses which deserve to be put to use, you can now put your equipment to work whilst you're not using it by hiring it out to other filmmakers nearby.

Fat Lama isn't just for people who already have all the gear they need. Perhaps you've got a shoot coming up which just wouldn't be complete without that one last elusive piece of equipment. There's no better place than Fat Lama to find that item that you need, even at the last minute. Generally, rental rates sit at around 20-30% cheaper than brick and mortar rental houses too.

Being a filmmaker is expensive. Whether you're investing in a studio Mac, picking up some lighting or buying a set of cine lenses, your wallet will take numerous hits. Previously, saving up gradually over a long period of time was the only way for filmmakers to get around this. But a number of creative professionals are now supplementing their income by peer to peer gear-lending.

Why Lend Out Your Equipment?

Putting Your Gear To Work

Fat Lama allows filmmakers access to another income stream for little effort. Almost all filmmakers own some sort of equipment and even the busiest aren't using it the whole time. Whilst you're holed-up in the editing studio in post-production, retouching, editing and realising your vision, your equipment is sitting idle. Renting it out on Fat Lama when you're not using it is a quick and simple way to make money from it when it'd ordinarily just be taking up space. Cameras, mics, lights, gimbals, rigs, sliders, lenses are all assets you could make work for you.

"Sometimes, work in the film industry comes in thick and fast and other times there are weeks and even months with very little work coming my way. Renting out my gear on Fat Lama has definitely helped me get through some of the times when I didn't have as much work on, especially when I was just starting out. Not Fat Lama but Phat Lama!! :D" – James, West London, Freelance Videographer.

Having the reassurance that you'll be able to make money from the equipment that you buy by renting it out means that you'll be able to buy gear which you wouldn't usually be able to. You'll also be able to buy a wider range of equipment too!

Insurance On All Items

The first question people usually ask is, 'What if something were to happen to the equipment whilst it's being borrowed?' Fat Lama has you covered! All items which are rented out through Fat Lama are covered by their guarantee. In the unlikely event that something were to happen to your item whilst it was being rented, you'd be able to relax knowing that all items rented out through Fat Lama are insured.

Alongside providing insurance on your items, Fat Lama brings people to see your listings too! For people who go it alone and set up their own rental companies, it can be difficult to find enough people wanting to rent their items. It can take months to identify and build up relationships with potential clients before any rentals come in. Fat Lama bypasses this whole process and will bring you a constant stream of people wanting to rent your items. Publicising your listings on social media also helps but the Fat Lama team is also constantly working to bring people to your items. The number of views your items will get is nothing a busy freelancer would be able to achieve, especially without a sizeable marketing budget.

Making Money And Contacts

Fat Lama provides a great way for those working in the creative industries to network hassle-free. You're certain to come across people in your line of work who are eager to collaborate with you with so many like-minded people all in one place. It's not unheard of that people who meet through Fat Lama end up helping out at the shoot that their item is being used for! Tom describes how this side of Fat Lama works so well for him: "as a lazy networker, it's brought many interesting people to my front door, and considering that filmmaking is a collaborative industry, this is an incredible thing."

Why Hire Camera Equipment On Fat Lama?

How To Look After Your Money

The demand for peer to peer rentals is growing so quickly as on average renting from another person rather than company offers borrowers the cheapest possible price for industry equipment. If you're a filmmaker who wants exactly the same camera setup all day, everyday throughout the year then buying your setup and rig probably makes most sense for you. But for everyone else who would be using the equipment sporadically for project work or who would be able to invest all the money upfront to buy then hiring a camera by the day makes more sense.

Also, being able to rent items as and when you need them reduces the need to buy things which you'd only use rarely. Many DOPs complain at having to splash out on all the extra, obscure pieces of equipment which are only needed for specific projects. It becomes very expensive to buy these miscellaneous items that will only be used once or twice. Peer to peer rentals allow creative professionals to have access to top of the range equipment for far less than it would cost to hire from a brick and mortar rental shop.

Produce Better Footage With Better Gear

Especially when you're just starting out in the world of film production, it can be difficult to secure paid work. Part of the battle is getting together a portfolio which shows off what you can do and with high production values. It's difficult to get a professional portfolio without getting professional equipment and it's difficult to get professional equipment without paid work. Fat Lama breaks this chicken and egg cycle by giving filmmakers access to the high-end equipment they wouldn't otherwise have access to. This gives fledgling production companies the opportunity to show their skills and helps level the playing field with the more established companies. Radu, a London-based filmmaker who is also a lender explains that Fat Lama “allows all of us freelance film-makers in London to compete over our skills and talent rather than over who has more equipment than the other.”

Is Sharing The Future Of Freelance Filmmaking?

Fat Lama's unique insurance policy, which protects lenders' items whilst they're being rented, is allowing freelancers to unlock the money-making potential of their items and helps support them, even if they have a small amount of equipment. For borrowers, it allows them the chance to rent camera equipment far cheaper than was ever possible to before which enhances their work for a fraction of the cost.
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