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BorrowLenses is acquired by Lensrentals.

Lensrentals, a major player in the online rental service for photo, video, audio, and lighting equipment, has revealed its acquisition of BorrowLenses, a significant competitor in the field of photographic and video equipment rentals, according to Eltrys‘s exclusive report. This is a competitive environment in a market where neither brand clearly outshines the other. Both companies have declined to disclose the specifics of the agreement, but an individual familiar with the situation indicates that it is probably an all-cash purchase.

BorrowLenses has indeed had a fascinating journey. About ten years ago, Shutterfly acquired the company. When Apollo, the same business that bought Yahoo, the owner of TechCrunch, acquired Shutterfly in 2021, it was a publicly traded company.

Established in 2006, Lensrentals has surpassed BorrowLenses in terms of staff and customer base. Based in Tennessee, Lensrentals has built a strong reputation as a great workplace (with a significant portion of the company owned by its employees) that prioritizes excellent customer service.

Tyler Beckman, CEO of Lensrentals, stated to Eltrys that his company views BorrowLenses as competitors who motivate each other to perform better. He also mentioned that the acquisition presents a chance to take advantage of the advantages of operating on a larger scale.

Putting ownership in the hands of employees leads to positive outcomes for customers. We are excited for all BorrowLenses customers to have the opportunity to understand what I mean by that,” Beckman stated.

The impact of the acquisition on job security for BorrowLenses staff and the San Carlos location remains uncertain. According to a source close to the deal, the acquisition is progressing rapidly, and the Lensrentals team is assessing the possibility of retaining the employees and location as the situation develops.

BorrowLenses offers a wide range of gear. According to a company insider, their assets are being merged with Lensrentals’ inventory of over 400,000 rentable items spanning various categories like lenses, cameras, drones, lighting, audio, and studio equipment. This move has helped them stay competitive against local camera rental businesses. Rapid nationwide delivery and extensive insurance coverage set the company apart from many small, independently operated camera rental stores.

The company unveiled the Lensrentals Keeper Program, allowing customers to buy gear they have rented at a discounted price with the informal slogan “If you like it, keep it.” Photographers have adopted the program as a way to minimize risk when purchasing secondhand gear: they test the lens during a few shoots, and if it performs satisfactorily, they purchase it at a significant discount. There is a possibility that the newly merged company will begin selling off extra equipment, so it could be a good idea to watch for attractive deals.

Just like Lensrentals, BorrowLenses offers a wide range of equipment. One key distinguishing factor among the companies is their geographical presence. BorrowLenses has made a significant impact in specific areas, enhancing Lensrentals’ nationwide coverage. This localized strategy has allowed BorrowLenses to develop strong connections with its customer base by shipping lenses shorter distances, which customers find more reassuring.

Throughout its history, BorrowLenses has prioritized providing educational resources such as tips, tutorials, and guides to enhance customers’ rental experiences. By prioritizing education and support, BorrowLenses has not only improved the customer experience but has also established itself as a leading authority in the creative field, dedicated to empowering photographers and videographers of every proficiency level.

On many levels, the acquisition is quite clear: two companies with striking similarities work together to enhance each other through small, gradual enhancements in local presence and educational programs.

Beckman mentioned to Eltrys that Lensrentals faced strong competition from BorrowLenses. One could argue that customers benefit when a large company can take advantage of economies of scale. It is uncertain whether the prices will remain stable and if the larger company can maintain its personal-touch reputation once the element of friendly rivalry is eliminated.

Juliet P.
Author: Juliet P.

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