Why videographers and video production companies don’t show costs on their website
Fear. Yep, the answer to why videographers and video production companies don’t display prices on their website is fear. I understand it might not be popular answer with video professional colleagues; however, it’s true.
Video production professionals are afraid clients and or their video production competition will take advantage of them, and I don’t necessarily blame them.
To be fair to other videographers, the answer to why videographers and video production companies don’t display prices on their website is more complex than “they’re afraid,” but it’s the main reason as to why almost no videographers post their prices. We’ll dive into that more in a bit.
So why do I post my video marketing prices?
Most clients have no idea what they’re getting into when looking to have a corporate marketing video filmed for their small business, dental practice (here’s my article on how much a dental marketing video costs), or medical practice. They’re experts in their corner of the professional world—not in video marketing.
I’ve been in that position as well. When I came out of business school (I wasn’t a video professional or even a creative professional at that time, and I had no idea how to hire or work with a creative professional). I remember feeling intimidated when trying to hire a video production company or graphic designer. I remember hiring a video production company who charged an hourly rate—scared the heck out of me! I worried, “How much is their video going to cost?!”
The more risk a client feels, the less likely they are to move forward, so I want clients to know exactly what they’ll pay for a marketing video. I don’t want clients to feel a load of risk when working with me. I charge an upfront flat fee so there are no surprises, and I put those prices right on my website.
I don’t know any other video production company that does this (although I know they’re out there). For the rest of the videographers out there, I respect that they don’t (or feel that they can’t) display their prices on their site. However, I feel that they are doing their prospective clients a disservice. I am not sure they know what it’s like to be in a position where you feel like you are handing over a blank check to a vendor you’ve never worked with before. It’s unnerving to say the least.
The following are some specific, in-depth reasons as to why they aren’t displaying their video marketing costs on their website.
Video production companies afraid they’ll get burned by clients
In the spirit of truth, I’ve occasionally run into this: charging a client a flat upfront fee, and then having the project morph into something much more complex and time consuming than agreed upon.
It’s like agreeing to rake a neighbor’s front lawn, and then finding out they live in Sherwood Forest. Yikes, the price that was quoted might not reflect the actual work that needs to be done! All video production companies fear this, so I empathize with them being hesitant to display video production prices on a website. They don’t want to underbid a project ( hypothetically charging a client $5 dollars and ending up with $500 worth of work).
As a last point, some video production companies handle wildly different types of video projects. They may film a travel video in the Andes Mountains, and then film a new product video for a local small business. Let’s be fair: providing a cost range in these examples is tricky. However, video production companies that do have a large variance in project scopes could share price ranges for the different type of projects they do. It’s still tricky, and I wouldn’t expect that they would—just a thought, guys.
The video production work I do is generally corporate marketing video projects, so it’s much easier for me to quote a range. I’ve never been asked to film in the Andes, and I don’t plan to, so I don’t need to post a price range for that type of video project 🙂
Video production companies want the flexibility to charge as much as they can get
Unfortunately, there are video production companies who don’t want to disclose their prices because they want to charge a client as much as they can squeeze out of them. I’d hope that most of my video marketing peers are ethical, but the truth is, every profession has some bad apples in it—yours included.
It’s fair for you to know that some (not all) videographers withhold posting costs on their website so they can get you for as much as they can. They ask, “What is your budget?” If you do provide them a dollar amount, don’t be surprised if their quote is right around what you shared with them. Is this coincidence? Well, you decide.
Video production companies simply don’t know how much to charge
It’s striking how many creative professionals don’t know how to price their work. These are often artistically-gifted folks who just don’t have business aptitude, so it’s understandable. To be fair, some of the videographers who fall into this camp are new to the profession (some fresh out of school), so naturally they might be naive.
Scouting websites like this one to get an idea of what they should charge is common practice. The trouble with this approach is, what I charge for my video marketing work is almost always different from what others should charge for theirs. Copying others is flattery, but it’s often not effective.
Video companies don’t want their competition to know how much they charge
I can empathize with videographers not wanting other video professionals to know what they charge, but that train of thought leads me to wonder if deep down in their gut they feel like a commodity—like they aren’t any better (perhaps any worse) than other videographers.
Not that I am any better or worse than they are, but I don’t feel that way, and if “competitors” are underbidding me to get business, that’s okay. If a client who chooses a competitor over me simply because of price…well…maybe they were just focused on price (which is okay), or perhaps I could have articulated my value a little better to them (and that’s my fault).
The point is, while I understand why video production professionals are apprehensive about the competition underbidding them, I don’t worry about it. Clients choose me because my videos make them money, and because I am responsive, empathetic, and super easy to work with—not because I am the cheapest option out there.
What if you want a quote from a video production company that doesn’t share pricing?
Find one that does.
Okay, that was a terse answer, but you should work with video professionals who are upfront with you.
If, however, you find a video professional you like but can’t find any pricing on, reach out to them. Before you connect, consider a few things about your project:
- What is the video for?
- Where will the video be shown?
- Who will be in the video? How many people will be in the video?
- Where will the video be filmed?
- How long do you hope the video will be?
- When will the video be filmed?
- How soon do you need the video completed?
The above questions are of course an non-exhaustive list, but the point is, if you invest some time in planning out your video (as much as you can) it will aid you and your video production professional/company in determining what the costs will be for your video marketing project. Additionally, it will show the video production company that you’ve given some time and thought to your project—they’ll respect that, and it might even lower their quote.
If you have some questions about why videos are priced as they are, connect with me here. I’ll give you my honest take.
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