Not exactly in question form, but I get it. I am NO expert on the economy or the changes in technology, all I can say is that from a non-expert's view, I can make a few observations:
1. In an economic downturn, which I think we can all agree we've been in, people really don't have money to spend. So by you taking a pay cut and offering your equipment (if you have nothing else to do that could be bringing in income), gives you an OPPORTUNITY to create a new relationship with someone. The hope is that when the economy turns around and there is more money going into projects that your rate will go back up and you've built strong relationships with people during this tough time.
2. Sometimes, things change permanently. When the Steadicam first came on the scene, few operators owned it and were qualified to use it. They got paid big bucks and rental. Now, the majority of the operators I coach are qualified to operate a Steadicam and own one as well. This has saturated the market, in a negative way.
What you can do is stay on top of trends in equipment and technology. Go to trade shows. Technology is changing so quickly now, that fewer people are buying equipment, they are renting it.
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