Whether its marketing, training, or even a few animations for a social media video, comparing prices and deciding on a video production company can be downright confusing.

Here’s what to look for when shopping around:

  • Quality of Work
    • Immediately dig into their prior work or reels. They should have it front and center on their website. Are you wowed? Floored? Don’t really care? Pay attention to the reaction their video work is getting from you. Chances are, others will react the same.
    • Try to find out if they were just using a template, lots of stock footage or someone else’s work. Unfortunately, a lot of people like to say that they can do things, but when it comes time to deliver, they oversold and underperformed. We use templates and stock footage, but only when necessary. Sometimes the budget is just too small to justify original artwork. But we let you know up front and avoid showing it off as our own work. Concerned you might have the wool pulled over your eyes by an artist? Check out videohive.net, it’s where a lot of creatives buy templates.
  • Customer Service
    • Updates and communications. What will you use to communicate on the project? Email? Phone? Skype? Slack? Where does all of the communicated information get archived? Is it convenient to reference? How hard is it to get in touch with the creative team? How are you tracking the changes we’ve requested? Make sure you choose a team with responsive producers and directors who keep a finger on the project’s pulse. We use a combination of methods gained from working in software, hospitality, service and manufacturing. Our method has been so effective that we offer it as a consulting service to shape up your existing media department. 
    • Deliverables with dates. How long is X going to take? When will they post the updated version of the video? When will the final version be ready? Make sure you have confidence in their ability to deliver and decide on dates together.
    • Clear scope of work. Deliverables always lead us into scope. As the client, you should be prepared to clearly define your video’s scope of work. This doesn’t mean you need to prepare a creative brief or be an expert in 3D, but you should know what you want when asked. You might be asked to describe something with example art, or say things like “I want it to flow like video Y but I like the color of video Z”. Or if you’re developing a technical training video, it would be helpful to hear more concise descriptions like “This wrench needs to deliver 24ft-lbs of force in this particular clip.” If the production company seemingly feigns attention of the scope of work on the front end, don’t expect your bill to match your estimate.
  • Price. My favorite analogy so far has been to compare it to pricing a house. How much house do you want to build? Do you want a mansion? A McMansion? A luxury condo? A utility shed?
    • First you need to know what you want, then they can tell you how much it is going to cost. See our own tool for determining on scope of work.
    • Now you should price shop. Only price shop after you know what you want.

TL;DR – Know what you want. Shop around. Judge prior work. Don’t be afraid to negotiate once you have all the information.

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