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Hiring vs. Learning: A Guide for Freelance Video Crews

8.6.15

Technology is one of the biggest blessings of the business. We used to have to break our bodies just to carry gear that has since been replaced by small DSLRs. The challenge with technology is that it’s changing so fast that it’s hard to invest the money for equipment or the time to learn a video skill while it’s still viable. 

Buy or learn when:

  • You will use the gear or skill a lot: Pierre Habib of Dunia Rentals says that in smaller markets, typical rentals run 5 percent of the cost to own. That means that if you’re going to use the gear for 20 days or more, you are better off buying. In the major markets, you’re likely to see rentals as high as 9 percent of the cost to own for a one-day rental. So if you’ll use the gear 11 or more times, you’re better off buying.
  • There is low risk combined with potentially high reward: Even if you don’t expect it to be a large part of your business, if the technology or skill isn’t too cost or time prohibitive, you don’t have much to lose. Dive in. Have fun.
  • You’ll make it a big portion of your business model: If your budget allows and you will be using the equipment frequently—invest. It may be an up-front investment, but if it brings new business or allows you to offer the best to your clients, it’s worth it.
  • You will get high value for your gear even if the technology quickly improves: Wineries have long been using drones to get aerial views of their property. This allows them to see how the vines are doing—a huge value to their business for as long as the equipment works. Who cares if better, sleeker equipment is available later? They have a huge reward for the gear right now.

Here are more things to keep in mind when buying equipment, what rental houses teach us about buying versus renting equipment, and when to hire versus learn a skill.

Enjoying our series on how to invest in your freelance company? With almost three decades in the industry, we have a lot of tips—and connections. Sign yourself up on Crew Connection for free and let our international clients come to you. Want to talk to one of our coordinators? Contact Us here or call us anytime at 303-526-4900.

About Crew Connection: Crew Connection connects you with video production crews across the country and around the globe. With more than 25 years of experience and thousands of shoots with film crew pros to our credit, you can trust our expert coordinators to match you with the right freelance video crew and equipment—every time.

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