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I ask A LOT of questions. It's in my nature. I'm truly curious about how people's days are going? How their weekend went? What their favorite hard candy is? I can go on and on and on, and I often do. My friends have more than once said, "Todd, enough with all of the &^$# questions!"

As a video producer, I ask my clients a ton of questions, as well. But, there is a simple reason. I want to understand your video project, so I can get you the most accurate video production estimate that will result in the best possible video.

Here are five questions to answer in order to get the most accurate estimate from any video production company.

1. Who is your audience?

This seems like a simple question, but it's not. I've had clients tell me, "Everyone!" But that's not possible.

It's best to be fairly descriptive when identifying your audience. If your audience is mainly engineers, we might treat the video differently than if your audience is abstract painters. The engineers would probably need a more straightforward approach while the painters would need a more creative approach.

Here are some nuggets of info that help producers when budgeting for video:

  • What industry and job titles are you looking to attract?
  • Geographic regions? Where do your perfect customers reside?
  • Are they generally male or female?
  • Education levels of your perfect customer?
  • Where are they in the buying cycle?
  • How do your customers find you?

These are some examples of questions I ask. You don't need to have answers to all of them, but the more you know about your intended audience the more accurate I can be in your video proposal.

2. How do you intend to use your video?

This question plays a big role in deciding the budget for your video. Outward facing videos like a corporate overview (about us videos), product launches, etc. often require more resources because you're creating a first impression with your customers.

While other videos, like internal communications videos, often require a little less production value, which brings your costs down. One way to determine your intended use is to ask yourself, "What problem am I trying to solve?"

3. Where are you going to post your video?

Is it meant for social media? If so, which platform? Is it for your website? Is it a blog video?

All of these require different production techniques. Social media videos can often be less produced and more organic. That brings the costs down a bit. Website videos need to be more polished, which increases the production value and production costs.

4. What is your budget?

Sometimes, this is a tough question, especially if you've never done a video. For whatever reason, people like to keep budgets close to their vest. I'm guessing they think if they tell me their budget, I'm going to try to pinch every dime I can. That's not the case. Many times, I've been told a budget and exclaimed, "We can come in way under that!"

Having an idea and expressing that amount saves everyone a lot of time. For example, I recently created a proposal for a prospect and I asked, "What is your budget for this project?" They said, "We don't know." I put together a proposal in the $5,500 range. When I presented this cost, the prospect gasped. She said, "I was thinking it would be around $500." If I was presented with that number, I could have saved some time and offered up some solo videographer/freelancer options that would help her out.

(On a side note, I've changed how I respond when someone says, "I don't know" to the budget question. I now say, "We can do videos starting around $5,000 to $8,000. Does this number fit with what you had in mind?")

On the other hand, we can always suggest ways to get creative and strategic about their video if they have room in their budget.

5. What is your deadline?

If you have a short turnaround on your project and a video producer has to move projects around to meet your deadline, this can have an impact on the cost of your video. If you can plan a month or two (or more!!) ahead of time, you will generally save money.

When you first reach out to a video producer and you feel like you're being interrogated with questions, remember, we are just trying to get the most information we can so we can get you an accurate estimate.

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