One of the most common questions that videographers and photographers have when trying to start a business is, “how much should I charge for my work?” Of course, the answer varies, so we’ve created this step-by-step guide to figure out what to charge for videography.
1. Find out what other videographers are charging
This is relatively easy. Search in your area for videographers doing the type of work you do or would like to do. Many videographers will list their pricing on their websites, but if they don’t, it’s completely reasonable to ask.
Now, I wouldn’t lie and pretend you’re getting married or anything, but I would have no problem shooting an email to someone asking for their price sheet or package list. If they’re being secretive or weird just move-on to the next business and be excited that your competition is difficult to deal with (bonus!).
Once you find the range for your area, compare your work against theirs. If it’s way below the quality of even the cheapest videographer you need to work on your product offer. If you’re here reading about DSLR videography, don’t worry, there are still thousands of ‘professionals’ who are charging decent amounts for videos with crap audio, slow zooms, goofy graphics from the 90s, and are shooting with a camcorder at 30 fps (instead of 24 fps which gives it the ‘film look’).
For me, I knew the product I was offering was way better than one of these guys, so I matched their price at $1895 – and booked half my year in a matter of weeks.
2. Charge on the low side at first, and over-deliver
In the beginning, it’s about building a portfolio and getting amazing reviews and referrals. I knew the product I was able to produce was better than what I was seeing for $1,895, so I booked 3-4 gigs at this price and blew them out of the water for the price they paid. Doing this impresses the clients so much they feel compelled to recommend you to their friends and write fantastic reviews.
Also, everyone wants to share their wedding trailer on facebook, thus exposing you to thousands of their friends; many of whom are in your target market, may be soon, or may tell their friends who are getting married to check out the great video they just saw.
In the very beginning (if you have no portfolio) I suggest you work for free. One of our free weddings turned into at least 3 other paid gigs from their group of friends alone. But, you have to be strategic about your free work, so check out the post: The Secret to Attracting High-End, High-Paying Business Fast.
3. How many inquiries are you getting?
Sure, the number of inquiries will also have to do with your marketing, positioning, and advertising. However, if your website is getting traffic but you’re getting very few inquiries and none of them are contracting with you, it may be that you’re priced too high for what you’re offering.
On the flip-side, if you’re getting 5-10 or more inquiries a week and you end up contracting with one or two, you’ll have enough to keep you busy all year long.
For us, we wanted to do wedding videography completely as a side gig, so when we were booking left and right we knew it was time to raise our prices.
4. Don’t be afraid to raise prices
You can be the best videographer in the world and not make a dime if you suck at marketing or aren’t charging what you’re worth. Don’t be afraid to raise prices, especially if you’re turning away clients or booking more work than you actually want to perform.
Lots of people are scared to raise their prices because they fear the bookings will drop. That’s completely alright. Imagine this, would you rather have 4 clients at $4,000 each or 8 at $2,000 each? Easy – four clients, because eight is twice the work. At some point, you’ll find the price point that keeps you perfectly booked given your desired workload.
5. Test the market
Ultimately, you’ll never know exactly what people are willing to pay for your work without putting it out there with a price tag and seeing if people buy. Videography is creative. It’s an art. Everyone sees it and values it differently, and while these steps will get you close, there will never be a substitute for publishing what you do, what you charge, and seeing what the response is.