ezberhane, the real question isn't "will there be a number of laymen (and women) who need such a transfer service?" Because the answer to that is "yes, of course, there's always a new crop of people who suddenly get an itch to want their tapes digitized, who forgot they had them laying around, or always thought they'd do it themselves and now realize they won't, or who are drowning in their own efforts and just want to hand it off to someone else."
The real question is, "do YOU actually want to be bothered doing it for the peanut shells most people are willing to PAY for your services?"
Yes, right now you have family and friends coming to you in a conga line, perhaps willing to pay realistic prices and wait patiently for you to get the job done. But once that pool dries up, you're at the mercy of total strangers, and bud- they do NOT want to pay much more than the price they paid for the blank VHS to have it digitized. Are you willing to do these transfers for $5 per T120? Because that is the going rate for guys without a storefront. WalMart and national drugstores charge $10 per T120, and customers gripe about it being a ripoff. So it isn't what you'd call a real profitable business for an individual who is doing the actual work themselves.
Besides the minimal profits, you have maximum exposure to a public that demands miracles for their $5. They want it done in 48 hours, they expect you to make a 6-hour tape full of Macrovision-infested second generation rental dubs look like BluRay and charge them just the flat T120 fee, or make their crummy home videos shine. It isn't easy work, you know that from your personal project: do you really want to spend a huge chunk of your life doing it for other people for pennies? Because that's what you'll earn. The only guys who make significant money run it as a side business out of their existing storefront, have racks of combo decks in a backroom, run the transfers in bulk, and pay a high school kid to man the machines. Or, they set themselves up as Rembrandts of video encoding, catering to an elite clientele willing to pay $35-75 per hour of video for their skills at computer restoration. Again, not a career for the unitiated, and requires a lot of hardware and software.
Not to say you couldn't be the exception that proves the rule: depending on your location, people may flock to you and make it worth your while. Can't really know til you try. But if you've been reading these forums, seeing how many people are asking about VHS transfers, and thinking it would make a cool business opportunity based on that, don't be misled. The people who would actually pay you only have a dozen or so tapes to transfer, and those people are rarely motivated enough to seek out a forum like AVS. Most of the folks coming here have hundreds (or in my case thousands) of VHS accumulated over a lifetime: it would be insanely expensive to pay a third party service for that many transfers, so they ask how to do it themselves. (Its even more
insane that we attempt to do it ourselves, but it costs us little beyond our time. Lots and lots of time.)
Of course, all it would take is for you to land one
middle-aged video nut with 1000 tapes in their library, some money in their pocket and fear of tackling the job themselves: that one client could keep you occupied for years with a tidy little side income. If that's what floats your boat, I hope you encounter such a person: good luck to you!Edited by CitiBear - 1/16/13 at 8:52pm