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Production rates for strictly online vids

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Mark Alexander
Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 3:57:28 am

I'm thinking about the gazillions of very small mom and pop businesses out there as well as what I guess you could consider "small" businesses. These guys have very limited funds for marketing but most of them have websites. They need videos - short little 1 to 1.5 minute very simple (talking head/ B-roll) videos. I want to go in and shoot, edit and deliver the embed code in about 6 hours of labor total.

I could plug my rates into the amount of time I'm estimating to do these but I'm trying to do a little market research here so... in your opinion, what do you think might be a reasonable price point from the business owners perspective for a short and simple video that they could place on their sites?

Thanks


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 4:59:16 am

Mark,

You really must read the thread below. It discusses a big company with a business model similar to what you're contemplating, only they pay guys like yourself to do the legwork. As you will notice, very few here, myself included, care for that concept.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/17/868348

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Ryan Mast
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 8:12:03 am

Hi Mark,

Yellow Pages also has a company that does something similar, for mom-and-pop businesses -- they also sub out almost all the work to local/regional videographers. They pay something like $150 per vid, IIRC. Can you compete with that? If you're marketing this to a mom-and-pop business, they'll probably have a nephew with iMovie and a Canon Elura who will do it for $50. Can you compete with that?


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Mick Haensler
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 1:13:51 pm

[Mark Alexander] "in your opinion, what do you think might be a reasonable price point from the business owners perspective for a short and simple video that they could place on their sites?
"


IMO this is an irrelevant question if you haven't first committed to paper what YOU need to charge to make a profit. Figure out what you need to make first, THEN find out what the market will bare for a specific profit. If the market won't bare what you need to make than you don't do it, it's that simple.

But to answer your question specifically, everyone is different and will have a different perspective on what is reasonable. I would say most "mom and pop" shops would think no more than $200 would be reasonable and that includes getting it on their web site for them too. So let's run this out shall we:

1. Sales call average time .5 hours with a return rate of 10%(that's being generous) so that's 5 hours of time invested already.
2. Write up the contract and get the deposit - .25 hours
3. Write the script and get it approved and signed off on - 2 hours
4. Do the shoot - 2 hours
5. PP - 2 hours
6. Get client approval and get it coded AND online on their web site - 3 hours

Now let's say I'm off a bit and the thing only took you ten hours once you got your rhythm down and the client pays you $250, you're now making a whopping $25 an hour. If you were working for somebody else this might be OK, but to me this is not a sustainable or desirable business model.

Also, these are not much fun to do. I might as well go sell tires at Sears....



Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Mark Alexander
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 5:27:54 pm

Hmm, certainly am not interested in a "race to the bottom" that's for sure. The Demand Media model seems significantly different though than this one. Take a look at this if you will and offer some opinions. Basically they have you shoot and do one edit, they approve and then pay you $200. The idea being to knock these out in 5-6 hours or so.

See: http://www.turnhere.com/



Mark


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 5:56:20 pm

I've got some local "competition" here that regularly sends out emails to local businesses. They have been promoting their "promotional video for as little as $500"! Emotionally and physically, I just can't work at that level. I value my time and expertise too much. Add another "0" to that number and we can talk.

Jason Jenkins

Flowmotion Media

Video production... with style!


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Ryan Mast
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 6:04:36 pm

Yeah, YellowPages subs out their video work to TurnHere, who subs out their work to little regional companies. Couldn't remember their name at first.

It's easy work, and their standards are pretty low. And you don't have to put in the effort to go find clients. If you want to do cheap, local videos, it's probably best to plug into something like TurnHere who already has a marketing machine in action, rather than doing advertising on your own.

--
Meteor Tower Films
Video creations for music, art, & theater.
http://meteortower.com/


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grinner hester
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 6:08:14 pm

My hourly rate is what it is. While the mom and pop shops you mentioned want a flat bid, that's pretty easy multiplication. A grand a piece is pretty standard here, assuming I'll be done in the time frame you discribed. Some balk with an "oh my!" but that doesn't change my costs or worth. Others do the "oh my" the other way and wonder why they didn't start capitolizing on this long ago.
Truth is, a turn-key ad campaign can now be created for that flat grand I mentioned. This is how things are changing.




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David Roth Weiss
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 6:21:00 pm

[grinner hester] "Truth is, a turn-key ad campaign can now be created for that flat grand I mentioned. This is how things are changing. "

No one is suggesting that these campaigns can't be created. The question is, can they be created with a profit?

Grinner, do us a favor, figure out the actual net profit you make on a $1000 commercial. And please, don't tell us your camera is already paid for, that's just a form of denial. Figure in every single bit of your time and equipment please, then tell us what you're making per hour. I suspect that net, net, net your gardener is making more on an hourly basis.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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grinner hester
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 10, 2010 at 7:36:15 pm

800 bucks.
for 7 hours of work.
Thats fine by me today. My edit suite is in my house and, as you mentioned, all of my gear is paid for. I subtract 200 from that grand because I understand and agree with your point that it cost us a little for every production. It doesn't cost me more than that unless I travel though and the truth is, I just don't need more than a grand a day to make ends meet anymore. Passing these savings on to my clientele really is what keeps me busy every day.
Keep in mind the price example we are using is only an example. In many cases, I can work it to where I am making the same hourly rate I was when I had big overhead. That's the cool part of one-man-banding for a flat fee.



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Mick Haensler
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 6:23:20 pm

[grinner hester] "A grand a piece is pretty standard here, assuming I'll be done in the time frame you discribed. "

Yep, that's about right for me as well.


Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Mark Suszko
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 8:32:36 pm

The sample videos on the Turn Here site look surprisingly good to me. Well, of course they are going to only show you the best ones. But are you telling me each one of those demos only paid the creators $200?


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Mark Alexander
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 9, 2010 at 1:54:04 am

As far as I'm aware of, yes they pay $200 for these. Turn Here is pushing the model of quick and efficient - 4 or 5 hours total. It looks like the clients can subscribe to a $20 month hosting fee for the videos after 3 mos. free trial or buy the embed code for $600. This last number is what I'm wondering may be competitive enough to interest the mom and pops. It could, if done efficiently, be enough to make a little money. The main thing I'd be looking at though is getting "in" with the businesses that would have other video needs.

If they are having the videographers do the selling by going out and offering a "free" video with no obligation to purchase - well, that's pretty hard to go up against.

Mark


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grinner hester
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 10, 2010 at 7:38:45 pm

thos ecompanies are not created to pay freelancers. They milk students and offer experience... as advertised.
You'd be surprosed how many kids are happy to make a quick video for 1oo bucks. It's 100 more than they would have made that day and they get to make videos instead of flip burgers.
win/win for all involved but you'd only frustrate yourself if you tried to do real work for them for regular wages.



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Jeff Bonano
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 8, 2010 at 9:03:13 pm

I had looked into TurnHere and thought it was pretty decent. But not for making money. TurnHere hires you like a retail store contracts out local service repair businesses to come to your home and fix your Console TV. To start it's exactly how it's been described. You are assigned businesses that sign up for a 1 minute video. (They also have a program right now where you can go door-2-door and offer their first promo video for free, and you still get paid to do the work). You go out, have them sign release forms, film the interviews, shoot your B roll according to their interview(s) then do a quick editing job.

Apparently they score your work and if you constantly do good work, then they assign you to Bigger clients. You get paid $200 for the small work, and I have no idea what you get paid for the big ones. I actually haven't gotten a call from them to do any work yet, but they did say I can promote my business as long as I don't take their client away from them to finish the job I was contracted to do. Which is pretty common terms in my experience in the sales world.

Again, it's not much money, and I see it more as a way to promote my business for other things. While you;re there tell them, "I think this will really help your business and we'll take good care of you, but have you thought about your other video needs? While TurnHere can get you started and fulfill your online video needs, (hand them your card) I can show you some other ways to utilize video to help promote your business! When would be a good time to come back and share with you some other options? Let's shoot for next Tuesday?"

I don't condone this as the best line of work, in fact I can't see anyone making a living off just this unless you sell your butt off!! But when it comes to playing the numbers game...it's another resource for getting business.

Remember, when the economy is good...Promote your business.
When the economy is bad...Promote your business even more!

Jeff Bonano
http://www.bonanoproductions.com

"I want to have a cool quote at the bottom of my signature, just like everyone else on the cow forum!" -Jeff Bonano


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Mark Alexander
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 9, 2010 at 1:56:35 am

Thanks very much for your thoughts and opinions on this. I don't post too often but when I do ask a question this is where I come to. You folks are the best!!!

Mark


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Ned Miller
Re: Production rates for strictly online vids
on Jan 24, 2010 at 1:38:47 am

The bottom has fallen out of this business. I have been doing this for 33 years, mainly as a DP and I have two kids graduating college. If they said they were going to enter into the video production business I would drown them.

Unless one is from a wealthy family or marries someone who is or making a great steady salary, it is now financial suicide to offer freelance creative services, especially in video. Us old pros here on Creative Cow have client bases and networks, but these young kids will never be able to support themselves financially.

And it's not just small companies that are going cheap, I shoot for many Chicago area Fortune 100s and they actually want me to "dumb down" the look so it doesn't appear we are wasting money. How can they justify a slick video when they're laying off people? Sometimes I'm given my full day rate to use their in-house mini DV camera! And that includes filming the CEO.

I also produce quick turn around online videos for small companies and thank God I have the office in the home during these times. With minimal overhead I can do a half day shoot/half day edit and make the same money as a full day DP shoot. I think we are all working harder to make less...

The internet is a double edge sword, and with the low entry price of getting into the biz, the ease of use of cameras and the digital media savviness of young kids, this was bound to happen. On the other hand, the internet has increased the amount of desired professional looking video for websites, so if we can ferret out these clients we can survive.

The Golden Age is over. Only the Johnny Hustles will survive, especially when you lay a recession on top of all this. Viva Low Overhead!

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
http://www.bizvideo.com


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