Wedding videographer service starting cheap?

northweddings's picture
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 09/22/2017 - 4:29pm

Hello this is my first time posting on here and I'm new to the site, so I hope its in the rite place?

Just a quick question on here for advice to other videographers.

I started a new wedding videography business this year in March and have spent a few grand in buying equipment. I've also come from a background in film production before going into weddings.

Anyway, I've had now around 6 weddings since March of this year; the first two were free, the third was for £450 for a full day wedding and edit, the forth for £300 for 3 hours work and the fifth for £600.

At the moment I have been busy building up my website and portfolio of work and have started to get great reviews and referrals from my clients. However I do know that building a business is slow at first and you have to gain a decent amount of recognition before charging the big bucks.

At the moment I've had to turn away some client as they were looking for a full day's wedding for £400 and I just didn't want to be seen as cheap so I kindly turned those clients away.

However I have been given some advice from some friends and family who have said that I should take any work that comes my way regardless of how much they're paying as its money. And until I'm getting clients constantly booking I can't higher my prices and should accept the lower payments.

Regardless today I had a similar customer contact me requesting my services for April next year. She wanted 2 days of filming, 6 hours on a Friday and 12 hours on a Saturday with 2 highlights reels and 2 main video's. The price she wanted that for was £500 and again I was advised to take it as its better than nothing, again I kindly declined and offered the two days for £750

Anyway to cut this down, I don't want to start been tagged as cheap or take on cheap jobs as I am now starting to get the reviews and recognition I need to get started. I've spent allot of money and time building up my career and on equipment and traveling and working for hours just does not feel rite if I'm taking on low paid work.

With the advice I am getting from other people its starting to conflict with my own initial beliefs in charging a client so I've decided to ask other professionals in the same field as myself

The question is do I take on low paid work and build my company up and then charge higher rates as business grows. Has anyone had the same with taking on cheaper clients? And if so when do you start building upon your prices?

I thank you for the help as it does help massively.

Thanks all
Liam


Jack Wolcott's picture
Last seen: 31 min 51 sec ago
Joined: 01/02/2008 - 11:51pm
Plus Member

You might do a bit of research to see what the range is in your neighborhood. In looking at wedding pricing in the UK on Google I found a handful at £695, but many started at around £1300 and went as high as £2600 to £3000. I judge you to be well under-valuing your services and your own worth.

Consider what your most recent bride wanted: 18 hours of your time shooting the events, plus travel time and time for equipment preparation.
To edit 18 hours of raw footage to a highlight reel and a main reel will take you another 35 to 40 hours, and you'll need to add in some hours for client review and changes. Perhaps others in the UK can comment on this: in the US I would expect to see a charge of $2500 to $3000 for this two day wedding.

I can say this with certainty: you will never build your company by low-balling prices and hoping to increase them a some later date. Cheap clients are just that. They will never pay more. Many years ago there was a notorious bank robber in the US named Willie Sutton. After he was captured he was asked why he robbed banks. "Because that's where the money is," he replied. Successful professionals are like Willie Sutton: they go where the money is.

Good luck.


northweddings's picture
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 09/22/2017 - 4:29pm

Hello Jack
Thank you for your kind words and advice there. Firstly sorry for the delay in response.
Secondly I agree with you there, and that my thinking has been conflicted by advice from a few people I know. That advice is to take any job that comes your way until you’re getting constant bookings and then raise your prices.
Meaning take as low as £300 or the £450 price mark until I'm recognized within my area.
My last few clients have given massive praise, shared and I've had requests from that, and I've had another who was happy to pay £600. But quite a few want a low pay wedding and will disappear if I say for example £600 for a full days wedding. I think I've learned to accept that some will not be happy and those clients I'm happy with not accepting.

I think personally if I continue with low paid weddings with the full works I'll only get that low paid client who's only willing to pay around that £450 or less mark.
I've already pushed away clients who want a wedding for less then £400 and I have been told of for not accepting them as I should be building up my reputation and portfolio. With that I think I'm learning now to take on my own advice and learn from what I'm doing rather then just taking on anything that comes my way.

I agree that you need to go where the money is and where the client is willing to pay for a professional instead of paying a low end fee for the hours involved in producing a wedding. I also agree that if you accept the cheap clients you'll only get those clients, that seems to be what is happening at the moment. I really love the work I do and I equally love making a client happy but I don't want to be branded as the cheap guy.

The options for what I am doing now is to run a competition and to get shares, likes and to get the businesses promoted but to keep my weddings at around £600 as a base price and to build from there.

Thanks for the advice there Jack, much appreciated and very helpful


paulears's picture
Last seen: 12 hours 38 min ago
Joined: 11/05/2006 - 8:36am

If you set a price based on the notion of being cheap to get work, it rarely makes it possible to increase prices. They select you from the others based on price, and they know the price is below the rate quoted by others, so you get tagged as the 'cheap video guy'. If you put the prices up you lose that tag, but then have to compete with the higher priced people on every level - quality, professionalism and experience. If your work is of that quality anyway, you were just too cheap and used the wrong model. It's not quite the same, but for over ten years on ebay I've been selling lots of budget end microphones, and done quite nicely, but shifting a lot of boxes to make the money. I tried to move upwards and sell less, but for more, and sales dried up totally. I was stuck in the cheap end of the market. My history showed loads of cheap products and few expensive ones. In the production side of my business I have repeat clients and have not been able to up the prices in about 5 years now. One I discovered had been doing the rounds of other suppliers, and discovered that my price for a week's hire was around 3 days of the competitors. I figured that I'd try to gently increase the price and discovered that the client then wanted more for the extra money, even though he knew I was cheap. This client uses me because he's realised it's a good deal. It doesn't mean he will pay more for the same thing.

What I now do is quote everyone at the higher price, but offer them an opportunity to save money by 'removing' some of my service. So I will quote £X for the entire job, but will offer them £Y pounds off if they edit the video themselves, or £Z off if they source and licence their own music, or want to arrange the hire of the lighting equipment themselves etc. I offer money off for things that I know they really won't want to do, which seems to help justify the higher package price.

Locally, to shoot a wedding (which I avoid like the plague because of the hassle) and edit it takes about 3 months, and costs well over £1500 minimum. £600 for a wedding is in my honest opinion far too cheap.

Jack's breakdown is important - what you shoot takes 3 times as long to edit. Just logging the shots and transferring to the edit machine takes as long as the shoot, doesn't it? A days shooting is what? at least 3 days editing? Probably more if the end product is a comprehensive one - so start to finish, a weeks work. A weeks work for a professional with expensive equipment.

How much would it cost for a painter, plumber, carpenter or electrician to work in your house? A painter just did some work for my mum - I provided the materials, he just charged for his time, a day and a half cost £350 and this was the lowest local quote. This is £230 a day. This is for a straightforward painting job. Tools supplied paintbrush and ladder. This is simplistic I know, but I would assume that an artistic and technically competent job must be valued at more than a painter? Your weeks work needs to be way above £600, or you are undervaluing what you do?
Paul