I just signed up for a longarm class today. The class is the end of August on an HQ16 machine. Got to see the setup today and I must say it was a thing of beauty. The quilt shop is an hour and a half away from me but it is very pretty drive to get to it so I don't mind. Lovely shop as well, very large selection of beautiful fabrics, unfortunately average quilt shop steep price of around $9 per yard on average.
Once you take the class there they allow you rental time on the machine. I want to be sure I can do it and like long arming before I take the substantial plunge for one of these setups. But you longarm quilters out there have really inspired me. Handquilting just takes too long and freemotion on my Bernina seems a daunting task on anything bigger then a large wallhanging or crib quilt.
The only thing I don't like about renting is you really don't have an opportunity to practice other then any practice runs you take before quilting in the rental time.