Parachut.co is a new online equipment rental service, aimed at shooters wanting to try something new. Due to launch in late spring of this year, their subscription model makes it more convenient and affordable to get your hands on modern professional equipment. For only $149/month, will it shake the foundations of equipment hire as we know it?
An Introduction to Parachut
At first glance, it seems too good to be true. The Parachut subscription service allows you to rent the latest photography equipment to your heart’s content for just $149/month. And the best part? No late fees. That’s right; you can keep the gear for as long as you pay your subscription. For real.
Parachut.co is mostly aimed at photographers and DSLR/DSLM shooters so you won’t find any URSAs, Varicams or Alexas in their catalogue. However, their current gear list shows Canon and Nikon DSLR’s of all ranges, as well as a plethora of mirrorless models (including the A7xII series from Sony) and m4/3 cameras from Panasonic and Olympus, in addition to plenty of analogue cameras. You will also find a wide array of lenses, and accessories such as flash units, different sorts of tripods, on-camera microphones, gimbals, small drones, sliders and so on.
It is mind-boggling to imagine the vast quantities of kit they would need to have in stock to satisfy the demands of the many shooters who might want to get shiny new gear for a low cost and an indefinite length of time. But before you register to put in your order for that newest camera and lens combo you’ve been drooling over for the last few months, it is worth mentioning that their website hints that you will not know for certain what you get until your package shows up at your door. Wait… what?
You see, in-house experts at Parachut will research your profile based on a subscription questionnaire, and put together a ‘Chut drop (“parachute” + “shoot”… see what they did there?) based on any gear you already own and the style of shooting you are interested in. You will be able to fill in a gear wish list, but how likely it is that you ever get any of the stuff on it will remain to be seen.
Although the site’s initial phase will cater only to U.S residents, they claim to have plans to expand in the very near future. Parachut will also offer a very comprehensive service: shipping is included in your monthly subscription with a pre-paid return label included in every ‘Chut drop, and they will also provide different insurance options for the gear.
Even though at first glance Parachut seems very innovative — and indeed offers an advantage over rental houses for shooters wanting to experiment — it seems unlikely it will pose a threat to the traditional rental model at the highest levels of professional equipment hire. The whole point of renting quality gear is the peace of mind of paying for reliable equipment, and not knowing what you are going to get is quite literally the opposite of that.
But this is not to say that Parachut is completely outside the scope of professional use. Their no-contract, month-to-month subscription can make it easy and convenient to acquire gear for certain times of the year: for example, getting a small drone or gimbal ahead of a busy wedding season for a very low price.
With a launch date later this season, we still don’t know exactly when parachut.co will be open for business. You can, however, reserve a spot here and fill in your questionnaire to be among their first customers, and receive $50 off your first month. You can also enter their giveaway here for the chance to win a year of Parachut for free!
Could a rental model like this for you? Let us know in the comments below!