Guest Blog: KitMapper’s Dave Charlesworth

Posted April 11th, 2016 by Matt Turner


Renting filmmaking equipment can be a costly and arduous process. A lot of the time its easier and much more cost effective to borrow from friends and collaborators. Newly launched service KitMapper offers a much easier and affordable way to source equipment, letting filmmakers hire kit from other nearby filmmakers. Listers can advertise their equipment on a browsable or searchable map, and hirers can search for what they need and where they can find it near them. We caught up with their founder Dave Charlesworth to hear about how the service came about and what it can offer to filmmakers.

KitMapper is a sharing economy rental site for film, photographic and audiovisual equipment. As well as running the company, I’m an artist/curator who works with film, and social archives for film and photography. As creatives working in the DIY art, film and music worlds, securing funding and resources has always been a critical part of our working lives. They also both seem to come in ebbs and flows, with drought periods followed by projects which involve an influx of kit – some of which then lies dormant, in the studio or workshop.

It was in response to this situation that we founded KitMapper. KitMapper is based on the premise that our unused kit could be out in the world and doing work for us, bringing in a revenue stream to supplement our daily work. Likewise, we wanted to make high-end or hard-to-get kit more accessible to those on a budget, and to reduce production costs across the board.

What we weren’t expecting is how quickly and enthusiastically it would be taken up by the filmmaking community. We only launched a few weeks ago, and haven’t really even started to push the site with advertising. Despite this, we’ve had hundreds of pieces of kit listed and have new users joining every day. Within a couple of days of launch, we started to see the first hires taking place between people who had happened upon the site by word of mouth, and that’s when we started thinking that we’ve got something special here.

Trust is a key thing for us. We want users to feel totally comfortable with renting kit to others. As part of this, we’ve partnered with Experian to verify user IDs, had a legal rental agreement written up for renters, offer user reviews to build up a network of trust around regular users. We’ll also soon be announcing micro-insurance to cover items for individual hires. Our focus is always about making it easier to list and easier to rent. As such, we’re currently improving the notifications you get when negotiating rentals, and are exploring adding a pick-up and delivery service.

Our future plans are huge. We initially wanted to focus on London, which is a place we know well and have good contacts in, but it is clear from the take-up that there is a big appetite for KitMapper elsewhere, We’ll be substantially increasing the work we are doing outside of London by locating key UK creative cities to start to work in.

Shoot, list and share.  Let people know you are open for business, and KitMapper will start putting your kit to work.


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