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Author Topic: Rent or Buy?  (Read 2484 times)

Blake Courtney

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Rent or Buy?
« on: April 13, 2011, 12:09:31 pm »

So here's my question.

I am handling sound for a large outdoor nightclub.
It is right on the water and the equipment really takes a beating.
It is only open for 4 months this summer and only 1 day a week.
I had installed a decent system previously, but now we need to step it up.

Venue capacity is around 1500+ people.

I was working on a couple of designs and then I found out they were only planning to be open 1 day a week.
Noon to 1am. Mostly DJ's If a band did come in they would either bring their own system or at least backline and monitors.

Now I am rethinking it. Should I install a system?
I am looking at Community's WET series or EV's SX600pi

OR
Should I rent? Its basically 16 rentals.

Renting eliminates a lot of issues but I am still left with the one that has always been a problem.

Weather. If it is rainy in the morning and clear in the afternoon what do we do?
I wouldn't set up my rig in the rain.

Then there's the costs. At an guestimated rental cost of 2k per day it would run $32,000 for the season. That would easily cover the upgrades and then some.

The other issue is that they will also be open for special events, private parties. So for every one of those we have to schedule the rental too.

Oh. and it opens in 6 weeks.

                     Blake
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Chris Davis

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Re: Rent or Buy?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011, 04:36:00 pm »

Hmmm...  This is a "fun" problem. 

1) The customer will only use the system on a very limited number of evenings/gigs per year. 
2) The system is outdoors which will age it. 
3)There is a chance that the customer might use it outside of planned number of gigs, thus possibly exceeding any savings gained by renting it out.

By a slim margin,  I think I might encourage the customer buy it...  The determining factor for me is the extra evenings/gigs that might come out of it.  Also be available (for a fee) to help the customer put it away after he is "closed" for the year.
P.S.  I now see that you are the customer. :o
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Nick Pignetti

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Re: Rent or Buy?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2011, 04:44:25 pm »

I did a venue with the exact same stipulations you've proposed. Your situation isn't in MD is it?

Regardless, I owned most of the system I needed, and decided to purchase the odds and ends I didn't have. Normally, I would say that the number of shows your going to be locked into would greatly offset the cost to you and you'd now have a system you can use to continue to generate income for your business, however, the short time-table makes me second guess that strategy. You don't have alot of time to take delivery, become familiar with, and plan to deploy such a system- unless you're doing this already anyway.

Regarding the rain dilemma, we had tarps at each stack and an inclement weather plan in place to protect all the gear. Never do an outdoor show without proper precautions. It's your gear and your revenue stream you have to protect. If the club owner doesn't understand that, then sorry. This is where it becomes important to have everything included in the contract your going to have the club owner sign.
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Mike Reilly

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Re: Rent or Buy?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 09:39:18 am »

The other issue is that they will also be open for special events, private parties. So for every one of those we have to schedule the rental too.

If by "rent" you mean "someone brings in a system for each show & takes it away after the show's over," then the above statement is where you could run into a lot of trouble.

It seems that a lot of venue owners/managers/bookers have a kind of blind spot about production - they may not realize that the system doesn't just live there for the season, and even if they do, they can't quite grasp that the gear isn't just sitting in a warehouse ready to be put in their club at a moment's notice.

So they'll call on Wednesday and say, "Oh yeah, we've got a big company party on Friday, so we'll need the sound system," and then of course your regular system isn't available, so you'll have to run around like a crazy person finding something else, and because it's last minute it could wind up costing you more than the 2K estimate.
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Doug Johnson

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Re: Rent or Buy?
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2011, 10:46:33 am »

This is a hard call without a better understanding of the layout and system performance requirements of the club but, I would recommend a installed system.  If this is an ocean beach, I would however try to install things in such a way the they could also be protected covers or enclosures when not in use. The other option would be to install the amps, processing and wiring and devise a way to just haul out the speakers and plug them in.  Or. a combination of the two.  I would think that if it is properly maintained and protected, the club should be able to get several season out of such a system further off setting the cost.
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Nick Pignetti

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Re: Rent or Buy?
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2011, 03:22:29 pm »

I think maybe I mis-interpreted what you meant here. I thought you were the sound provider and the question was to rent or buy the equipment you needed to fufill the job.

Re-reading this I now get the impression that you are part of the club's management who has been tasked to handle the production requirements. Are you going to need lighting/video or is this strictly a sound requirement only?

As others have said, without knowing the exact requirements it's difficult to gauge an approx. rental cost. You can cover a 1,500 person venue and get by, or you can do it right. Obviously, one costs more than the other.

Since this is a seasonal club, you need to ask yourself a few questions. (actually many more than I'm going to throw out right now, but here's a start)

How many seasons do you plan to be operational?  Can you depreciate the system over the course of several seasons, or will we have to recoup all costs and turn profit in one season?

Are there other revenue generating opportunities for the soundsystem in the off season?

Do you have enough knowledge/manpower to deal with producing an event at a club? If you and your staff are in the weeds on a given event and the sky opens up, or a cable goes bad, or any other thousands of things that can go wrong, are you going to be properly equipped to handle such a situation. remember, if the music stops, and you can't get it back up in a reasonable amount of time- usually a few minutes- patrons start leaving and earnings go with them.

I would say hire this one out unless you are adequately equipped.
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Gus Housen

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Re: Rent or Buy?
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2011, 07:45:24 pm »

For 16 gigs i wouldnt rent. I would either upgrade or supplement the current system ( asuming its still up to snuff or can be made so) or look for a used late model turn key system.

As far as setting up in the rain yes it sucks but if thats what the gig is, be prepared with tarps canopies etc. Working out how something will servive a season is 1/2 the battle sometimes.
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Marlow Wilson

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Re: Rent or Buy?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2011, 08:24:52 pm »

This is Waterworks outside Boston right?

It's been MANY years since I was there, but I think you really need a distributed system to cover that sprawling place.  It's not really a traditional music venue layout.  Compromises are made for one-offs, but a permanent install can improve the possibilities tremendously.  Aren't the bars under tents or partially covered areas? 

If they are trying to be upscale, an installed system will also look a lot better if done right.  For 2k a night (including trucking, labor, etc) it seems like compromises are being made either way to cover that crowd on the rental side, and 32K won't buy you much of a PA for 1600 people outdoors when you factor in installation costs. 

What if the venue operated like a rental provider?  Install some fill speakers as a backbone (I've got 8 Wet 228's if you need some) and then deploy racks and stacks each night to cover the main dancefloor.  You could buy turn-key racks and stacks used (Turbosound Floodlight systems are quick to deploy, but there are lots of options).  That saves you having to use SOS (tripods in a trendy nightclub??) and gives you the horsepower of a proven racks and stacks PA system.

I might be missing something here, but its something to think about.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Rent or Buy?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2011, 08:24:52 pm »


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