The Wrong Questions

If there’s one question, or variation of a question that we get the most, it is “what do you charge for video production?” or “how much does one of your videos cost?”

Being honest, these questions are often very telling of what a potential client expects from the working relationship that could develop. Let me explain why.

What do you charge for video production?

Yesterday, I was talking to Jacob about this. While this isn’t a bad question, when it’s the first question it’s the wrong question at the wrong time.

Why? I think I ought to know what I’m getting myself into.

Fair enough, but, you will always get the same answer from us: it depends on what you want. Are you looking for something simple, like a basic introduction video to you or your business while you’re sitting in your office, or are you looking for a television commercial to run in the Super Bowl?

Until we have a discussion with you on what your needs and goals are, we can’t accurately give you a cost.

How much does one of your videos cost?

Seems innocent enough, right? Out of the two questions, I like this one the least. Most of the time, whether you realize it or not, this tells us how you are viewing video production in relation to your business.

Our conclusion: You’re looking for the bottom dollar deal because you see video content as a cost of doing business. Chances are, whether you know it or not, you are going to end up choosing price over quality.


Let’s look at some examples of the differences in video types so you can see, for yourself, how the costs are different.

This is a simple, quick, interview video. Cost is going to be relatively low on something like this.

This was a commercial that was produced for the 2017 Super Bowl. As you can see, this took a lot more involvement, and, as such, the cost was significantly higher. For more details check out our project post on this: Affinity Overhead Door Co

The Restaurant Equation

Huh? I know, but, just follow me here. I really like to use analogies and Jacob brought this one up while we were talking yesterday and I think it puts things in perspective:

You walk into a nice restaurant, the host seats you at a table, and your waiter comes up and the first question is, “What do you charge for your food?”
The waiter, kind of gives you a blank stare. “Uh…”
“Well, can you at least tell me what one of your meals costs?”
With a continued look of confusion, the waiter responds, “That would depend on what you order, sir/ma’am…”

Seems silly, right? The cost is obviously going to be determined by a number of things: are you drinking a soda or water? Or perhaps a cocktail drink? Are you having the soup of the day, or are you having steak and lobster? Appetizers? Desserts?

Sounds really stupid when I point all of that out because you already know this. Even if we simplify it from there, you already knew that this restaurant was going to cost more than a fast-food dive and you were willing to pay more for a better experience and better quality food.

Hmmm… It’s almost as if he’s making a point here…

Sadly, local television stations have used production as a bait to get businesses to buy air time and it has really devalued the service. They’ll give you cheap or free production just to rope you into buying time on their station(s). Even if they charge for it, you can bet that your television commercial is going to look the same as the next guy they shoot for.

While I can’t speak for this in all markets, I know it to be true here, in the West Texas area.

The Right Questions

The Paradigm Shift

The obstacles we’ve faced, time after time, are that we have to educate our clients, and potential clients on the way they view production. If they view it as just a cost of doing business, much like printer ink or paperclips, then they will never gain any satisfaction or return on the money they spend on video production.

So, what do we do? How are we supposed to view it?

As simple as the answer sounds, it’s complicated to rewire the brain to think of it this way: view video production as an investment. It will change the way you approach getting production done, it will change how you perceive the value of video, and it will change the questions you ask and how you approach asking those questions.

What’s my investment?

Ooooo… Sounds fancy! But, seriously, think of what this means. This means you are taking a vested interest in the prospect of video production for your brand. It means you want to know what all is involved in the cost of the video product and what value there is in placing your money in production for your business. It means that you take it personally. We relish in the thought of our clients being as excited about our production for them as we are because they understand what the production says about how seriously they take their business.

What’s my return?

Any time you invest your money in something, you are expecting some kind of return. With video production, we can’t exactly put a dollar value or a percentage on it. What we strive to do with our video production is to help you use it to build relationships. Be it a funny commercial, an introduction video letting people know who you are, or a testimonial that shows people what they can expect from doing business with you, it all starts with the relationship.

The bottom line, people will want to work with, or hire a service from someone whom they have a good relationship with, and, ultimately, that turns into money for you, which, let’s face it, that’s why we’re all in business. Sure, you may love your business and enjoy your work, but, you can’t pay a house payment with love and you can’t eat joy.

So, now that you’ve soaked all of this information into your brain-sponge, let it cook and simmer and see what changes about your thinking.

If you’re curious about what all sits behind your investment in a video project with Hamil Bros Studios, please check out this series of articles that explains the process, step by step.

We would love to know what you think or how this post has changed the way you think about any services that you hire out. Let us know in the comments below.

Hamil Bros Studios is a high quality video production company based in Lubbock, TX. Their work spreads throughout West Texas, Eastern New Mexico, and beyond.


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