LensProToGo and LensRentals are the two largest players in the online rentals business, and they have both helped innovate and bring down costs in the rental market. While you can do walk-ins with either company (Tennessee for LensRentals and Massachusetts for LensProToGo), they are really innovators in the online space, bringing warehouses of inventory available via quick shipping and an easy web interface.

Beyond just lenses, each company offers a wide variety of products, and in fact, we frequently get our testing color meter from LensRentals. Today, they announced that they are going to merge, creating a behemoth of the online rental market.

Screen_shot_2017-12-05_at_8LensRentals maintains a healthy drone inventory.Credit: LensRentals

Inventory crossover

One interesting aspect to this news is that it is a partnership, not a takeover or a merger, and both businesses will continue to maintain their own customer base, branding, and inventory, though they are combining into one privately held company. However, as the partnership continues, the goal is that the inventory crossover between the two platforms is seamless, creating a true one-stop shop for most items the freelance filmmaker could need to get their hands on, all in one site.

Upping the already impressive customer service offered by both companies is also a goal, by allowing each company to specialize more heavily in their key strengths (drones, video, still lenses, etc.) without having to have experts on hand in every possible topic. If there is an area where they are lacking knowledge, a technician from the other company can help the customer.

Screen_shot_2017-12-05_at_8Concord, MA based LensProToGo works with local rental houses, such as Hot Rod in LA, to provide a local pick up location.Credit: LensProToGo

A win for filmmakers

While mergers of such large players often reduce competition (raising prices since they don't have to compete with each other), looking at the marketplace this overall seems like a win for filmmakers. Prices will be kept reasonable by sharing platforms like ShareGrid and KitSplit, and the process of getting quotes for a job will now be something like "let's check an online vendor, a sharing platform, and 1-2 local vendors" which is still plenty of cross shopping to be sure you are getting the prices and services you need.

We would always rather deal with a complete expert in the item we're renting than someone with a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things, and this partnership should let both companies keep that let of service going while diversifying their offerings.