XTR, Having started my Co’



Having started my Co’ in a small market, I’ve been down the road you’re headed. Small markets are a ‘female dog’ to make money in with a video biz, particularly if the town or city doesn’t have it’s own TV station. However, it can be done but you’re just going to have to be more resourceful. When setting your pricing, first go to your state’s business development website and find out what the standard rate for services per hour are for video camera work, editing, etc. Then do a cost per hour estimate for shooting & editing projects with the gear you have. If you don’t have a primary source of income to support you while freelancing, then you need to include your ‘survival costs’ (rent, utilities and stuff) into the estimated cost. Once you have your cost per hour then you’ll need to adjust it to what your market will bear yet still leave you with enough profit to cover operating costs.

Most likely, you’ll have to start really small then over time work your way up to larger more profitable projects. In the meantime, you may find it necessary to do some ‘freebies’ or ‘far less than cost’ projects to get your name and work out there. Do those projects sparingly.

As for 2step, you’re not going to get much ‘High Quality’ for $10k. You’ll spend that much just for a camera and a proper amount of support gear or a computer and software capable of handling ‘HQ’ video. For $10k you can get ‘Good Quality’ video. By virtue as a marketing firm, you’ll have higher requirements for gear. You won’t be able to get away with ‘guerrilla’ lighting and sound setups. Your clients will definitely cast questioning eyes upon you if you show up with a dinky consumer grade camera setup (“Why are we paying this guy all this money?”)

Now you don’t have to spend more than $20k to get a proper setup, but up front it may be cheaper to roll with Earl’s and Birdcat’s suggestion of outsourcing the production work. Company’s interested in adding such capabilities to their services immediately figure it’s cheaper if they do it themselves. It’s not. You have to pay for the gear which can get expensive doing it on a learning curve. Then you have to pay someone to do the work (thinking you’ll get a worker to double as a video producer will cost you more than just hiring someone to do it so you’re not getting out of it.) Whereas, if you outsource it you just include it in the cost of the project and when its done you don’t pay anymore for personnel waiting around for the next project, training and so on. After your firm has built a profit margin where it becomes a profitable option to start your own properly funded production dept. then by all means go for it.

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