Sharing your fees / pricing with your video production potential clients is risky. I get it.
Video professionals, if you’re not sharing your production pricing upfront with potential clients, you’re not alone. While I don’t have any hard data to prove it, my guess is that only one out of every twenty video production company websites will devote a web page to display their costs / pricing.
I think it’s a mistake for you to not share how much you’re going to charge a client for your video production work, but I understand why you don’t. You are afraid that
- the potential client will price shop other videographers / video production companies,
- the potential clients will beat you down on price,
- or that you’ll quote an upfront video production price to a potential client, only to have the project mushroom in scope (often called scope creep).
Yeah, I understand all of these things. Still, I’d recommend you share video production prices with potential clients. Here’s why…
Video production clients are understandably apprehensive
Put yourself in the place of your potential clients. Most are just trying to get a fair price on a service they know little to nothing about: video production.
Ask yourself how many of your clients have had a previous online marketing video filmed for their business or healthcare practice—few if any have, right? So working with a videographer is new and probably a little intimidating.
Potential clients perceive a risk when working with video professionals, and that’s natural. In fact, no matter what the profession is, if you haven’t worked with someone in that industry, it can be a little overwhelming.
Have you worked with an attorney, a CPA, SEO specialist, or an architect before? If you have you might have felt that they can be unnerving if you’ve never worked with one before—working with video production professional, like you or me, is no different.
Video production clients don’t know how to price video marketing projects
Additionally, videographers like us price fees anywhere between $1,000-$20,000 for video projects—that’s a huge spectrum, and it’s confusing to clients who can’t spot a good deal from someone who is overcharging or charging too little because they aren’t any good.
Worse, when clients pay per hour, or when the cost of the project is hidden from them, it often casts a feeling within them of uncertainty, apprehension, and maybe even some anxiety. Clients have shared with me that they felt like they were handing a blank check to the video production company, and that was scary. If you’ve been filming for a while, maybe clients have shared this with you as well.
Get over your fear and share your pricing for video production
I won’t glibly throw a cliché like, “Just do it.” That’s an oversimplification and it isn’t helpful.
For many of you, sharing pricing upfront with potential video clients probably feels daunting or maybe inconceivable (see The Princess Bride). And I recognize that some of you still won’t be convinced that offering your video production pricing upfront is a good idea. That’s cool. Maybe it’s not for everyone—maybe it doesn’t work for you. Just accept that you may lose some clients who visit your website who are looking for guidance on price—not finding anything on your site, so they’ll move on.
If you’re at least entertaining the idea of sharing your videography costs on your website, I’d offer the following fatherly-type advice to you.
Stop competing on price with other videographers. You can’t win.
There’s always going to be a videographer who will film projects cheaper than you can or will. Heck, younger folks just breaking into the video production profession will work for free, so battling for price-shopping clients who just focus on cost is a losing battle. Instead, focus on working with clients who want an enjoyable experience, a solid return on their investment, and ones who see the value in your/our craft.
Other videographers are going to look in on your website to find out whatever they can (they certainly look on my site to see how much I am charging). That’s fine. Invest your time and energy on helping your clients and not doing guerrilla research on other videographers.
Stop worrying about local video production companies as “the competition”
I’ve been lucky throughout my career that most of the video production professionals I’ve rubbed shoulders with see me more as a collaborator rather than a competitor. They do their thing professionally, and I do mine. They have their types of client projects, and I have mine. The truth is, competition is always out there, whether you recognize it or see it—just don’t obsess over it. Do your thing, and don’t worry about what everyone else up to.
Along with a video project quote, provide potential clients with a video marketing project scope
Scope creep is a real thing, and it scares the hell out of most of us. Casually agreeing with a client that “I’ll do X if you pay me Y” is woefully inadequate when it comes to managing expectations and effectively communicating the scope (breadth) of the project. You can’t expect a project to stay in line by having just a casual conversation about expectations.
If you are concerned that the video production process will get out of hand (it’ll mushroom), consider posting on your website what your pricing typically includes (how many production hours, how many days you’ll film, how many people you’ll take on set, etc). You don’t have to get into the specifics but provide potential clients a rough outline/bullet points on what they can expect to receive for a certain price range.
Provide a video production price range
If you want to provide specific pricing for your video production work, that’s cool. However, providing a general (not too specific or too vague) price range will suffice. By offering a range instead of a specific price, you’re providing potential clients an idea of what they can expect to pay, and you’re giving yourself a little wiggle room. A good compromise, isn’t it?
Be willing to give a little, give your clients extra value
Again, I know that scope creep can be frustrating. After all, you agree to do a certain amount of work for a certain price. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, right?
When the video production workload notably increases over what was agreed upon, it can feel like you’re getting shortchanged.
If the scope of the project increases a little, I’d suggest just letting it go. Give your potential clients more value on their video marketing project than they expected—it’s a nice gesture, and they’ll most likely appreciate it. If the project scope greatly increases over what was agreed upon, respectfully discuss it with your client.
Asking, “What is your budget for this video project?” is usually a dumb and even dangerous question
I know that many of you were taught to ask this question. Don’t. While I understand the value of getting an answer, be honest, how many potential clients have a clue what they can expect to pay?
Even if a potential client does have an idea of what they think they should pay, or what they want to pay, most of them won’t tell you out of initial mistrust. Put yourself in their shoes, would you feel put on the spot and uneasy about answering this question? Would you feel afraid that you’re being asked to lay all of your cards on the table?
The truth is, most clients will say, “I don’t know,” or, “Hmmm, I really don’t have a budget in mind.” Worse, by floating this question out there, you’ve now made your client uneasy, and maybe a little distrustful. By asking to disclose their budget, many potential clients will feel you’re asking this question to squeeze every dollar out of them (of course, that may not be your intention at all, but many will perceive that it is).
Whether it’s true that whoever “blinks first” when it comes to price will lose the negotiation, I don’t know. However, I do see a value in playing potential clients straight up. They appreciate it. Instead of starting the professional relationship on a note of distrust by playing a game of chicken with price, I’ve found clients really appreciate knowing exactly what they’ll pay for a video production project. Is that worth it? Well, I’ve found it to be, but you have to decide for yourself.
If I’ve still not convinced you to share your video production pricing with potential clients, I respect that. I appreciate you giving me the chance to sway you. Maybe sharing costs isn’t for every videographer, but in my experience, the benefits definitely outweigh…well…the costs. Cheers.
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