Why Do Production Companies Quote Different Rates for the Same Project?

How Much Does a Corporate Video Cost?

Recently we had someone ask us to provide an idea of cost for their video project. During the conversation they shared with us that they had two other quotes and wanted to know why each quoted drastically different prices. They shared that one was nearly half our project price and the other was nearly double. What gives, right?

We completely understand and couldn’t agree more. Each production company can have wildly different pricing strategies, but they usually vary for different reasons. Here are several reasons why you might be getting different quotes for what seems like the same thing.

  • Experience. Yes, you probably knew this already. The more experience they have, the more projects they have, and the customers they already have can all illustrate the production company’s competence. If they’ve been doing it for 9 or 10 years (like us), they more than likely have encountered several issues that can come up on the shoot and they know how to prevent them. They probably don’t need to prove themselves because they have enough work to show they can do it already. We’ve said this before, but you can find a production company for ANY budget! You want a production company that can do the work for a few hundred bucks? No problem, there are several people out there who work from home who can do this type of work for that rate. They don’t mind building their portfolio by being highly aggressive in their pricing. If you want to hire a large, high budget crew, you can find them as well….and everything in between.
  • Equipment. Recently we lost a project because we didn’t charge enough. We were a couple thousand dollars less than who we were up against. We were surprised to hear this, but when the potential client shared with us that the other company was going to be renting their equipment, we were not longer surprised. When the company doesn’t own the equipment, they are forced to markup rental equipment to have a successful shoot. While this potential client couldn’t get over spending less for the quality work, don’t be fooled by higher prices…it doesn’t ALWAYS mean better quality. It might! But it also might not.
  • Approach. Each production company approaches their projects a little differently. We’ve heard one company say they want to allocate a full day for an interview (with B-roll shots) when it really only warrants a half day shoot. Their logic was that the person on camera would feel more relaxed and engaged. While we don’t think a full day is necessary to get someone to feel relaxed in front of the camera, others use this as an excuse to charge a little more (especially if the budget is large enough).
    • Approach (part 2). The more the shoot is planned, the smoother the shoot. Not all production companies approach their shoot the same. Planning the day should include time slots for each person on camera, shooting specific B-roll shots, allocating time for additional product shots (when appropriate), and much more. How important is a plan? It’s the most important part of the process. Without it, we won’t shoot because there’s nothing worse than shooting and trying to figure out how to put it together later. The client won’t be happy and we won’t be proud of our work.
  • Add-Ons. There are several features that can be added on in the shoot and in post production. Examples might include:
    • Drone & Drone Pilot
    • Additional Locations
    • Professional Talent
    • Make Up Artist
    • Stock Video (can sometimes be an extra)
    • Additional Equipment (due to specific needs of client)
    • Custom 3D Animation
    • Professional Narration
    • Location Costs & Permitting (sometimes free, sometimes not)
    • Additional Shoot Days
    • …and on and on.

Don’t be discouraged. Sometimes we feel like some companies treat the video world like the Wild West while others are respectable and forthcoming. Those that have been around for many years, typically have done the right thing for their clients. Do a little research, like this article about Questions to Ask a Video Production Crew Before You Hire Them or this follow up article that shares More Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Production Crew. Speak to their current clients, their past clients, people they’re connected to on LinkedIn. There are several ways to confirm the production company you are interviewing is right for you. If they don’t understand your project or concept, move on to the next company, there’s always one right for you.

Got a question? Want to know more or want to compare us to someone you’ve gotten a quote from, we’d be honored to help.

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