Improving Your Video Cost To Quality Ratio

Improving Your Video Cost To Quality Ratio

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No doubt about it, video cost tends to be one of the most important factors people consider when they hire a production company. From our end we can present them with the best video idea ever, but a deciding question will always be… how much is this going to cost?

Like a lot of things, especially creative endeavors like video, the amount of money you spend can have a direct impact on the quality you receive. What I’d like to do is provide a way for you to improve your cost to quality ratio.

Video cost to quality… not savings

This doesn’t have to do with how-to save money. In this case, I’m working under the assumption that you have a video budget. It doesn’t matter whether you have $1,000 or $20,000. This tip is to make sure you get the most out of that budget.

Are you ready? Share that budget with the video companies that you’re considering.

I know, I know… there are a lot of people who are wringing their hands at that idea. We’re supposed to keep that information close to the vest. You never know, you might plan for a big budget then get a proposal back that’s half that.

Well, in my experience, that’s unlikely to happen with video. As a matter of fact, most people underestimate what their video is going to cost. It’s not because video production costs a ton, it usually has more to do with people not knowing how-to figure out video production cost.

The big thing to keep in mind is that there are all sorts of variables when it comes to pricing a video project:

  • How much time will it take to shoot?
  • What sort of personnel will be needed?
  • What equipment will be used?

A video could range in cost by several thousands of dollars depending on those answers. When you don’t share your budget, you leave the video company guessing. In many cases, they might put together an awesome proposal for you that costs way too much. That’s a bad situation for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s a waste of your time. After you get a proposal and tell the production company it’s over your budget, you now have to wait for them to produce another proposal.

Second, and maybe worse, you might just pass over your favorite company and go with someone else you’re less enthused about because you think your favorite is simply too expensive. However, if you had shared your budget, they may have adjusted their resources and still come up with a killer idea that cost less than the proposal that was “too expensive.”

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Why you should share your budget

The main reason sharing your budget is a good idea is because it’s going to ensure you get your money’s worth. Here’s how to do it when you start shopping around for a production company:

  • Inform each company about your budget.
  • Tell them you’re getting proposals from three companies and you’d like to know what they can do for that budget.
  • You may consider telling them they’ll get bonus points if they have some great ideas that come in under budget, but I’m guessing that won’t even be necessary. I’ll get to that later.

When you tell them these things, here’s what’s going to happen at those video companies. First, remember those important variables I mentioned for pricing a video project? Having a budget figure in-mind means they can start to answer those questions accurately.

They might love the idea of a 2-3 camera shoot, using a quadcopter to get aerials, and making sure there is a field producer who accompanies the videographer(s) on the shoot. However, your budget might only support the cost of two of those three things… or just one… or none for that matter. The point is they’ll be able to produce a proposal that fits your project.

How it works

Here’s where you get the most for your money. You’re going to be getting proposals from multiple companies. I assure you… they will look very different from one another. Some companies are heavy on technical ability, while others are more focused on storytelling. In either case, you’ll have a much better idea of what you’ll be getting for your money. So while you might not be saving money, you’ll be able to pick a proposal where you get the most for your money… or at least those things that are most important to you.

Also, notice I wrote you “might” not be saving money? Well, a funny thing happens when you tell people they’re in competition for your business. Not only will they try to give you as much as they can within the proposal for your budget, they might even give you a lower-cost option. In some cases, they might be able to produce a video that will help you achieve your marketing goal for a lower cost. The competition you set-up is their incentive for trying to come in under budget. In many cases, you won’t even have to suggest this. They’ll just do it on their own in an effort to earn your business.

I’m not good at sharing

Having gone over all of that, I totally understand that some people just won’t want to share their budget… especially if it’s a big figure. So here’s my last piece of advice. If your budget is $10,000+ for a single video, by all means keep it to yourself. Ten grand is a substantial budget. On the other hand, if you’re producing a video for less than that, go ahead and share your budget. The process will go much smoother for you and your production company partners.

–Tony Gnau


Tony Gnau - T60 ProductionsTony Gnau is the Founder and Chief Storytelling Officer at T60 Productions. He’s a three-time Emmy Award-winning journalist, has led T60 Productions to winning 18 Telly Awards for its corporate videos, and is the author of the Amazon #1 Bestseller “Lights, Camera, Impact: storytelling, branding, and production tips for engaging corporate videos.”