Your boss has told you to find a video production company. Or maybe you’re the boss and you need to make a promotional video or have a company event recorded on video. How do you make sure you’re hiring the right company?
The purpose of this guide is to help you make an educated decision when hiring a video production company. Read the details below and sign up to immediately receive a free PDF of “Hiring a Professional Video Production Company: A Checklist”.
Hire a video production company with confidence!
This guide includes:
> Company Reputation
> Samples of Work
> Project Deadlines
> Communication with Video Production Crew
> And more!
Well, you got the first thing right already: you realize that you need to produce a professional video if you want to leave a professional impression with those who watch it. That’s important, because people equate the quality of your business with the quality of your video. And in order to produce a professional video, you need a professional video company.
So let’s get started with our checklist of things you should consider while hiring the right video production company.
How long has the company been producing videos?
Longevity means something. It means that they are reliable and successful enough and have pleased enough clients to have stayed in business for a certain length of time. College students can be talented and reliable, but an experienced company that has been around for a long time and has a track record is definitely a confidence builder that they know what they’re doing and will do a great job.
Who are some of their clients?
Look on their website and see if they have testimonials. They don’t necessarily have to be Fortune 100 clients. Rather, they should be very happy clients who are pleased with the process and results of working with the production company.
What kind of reputation does the company have?
Check them out at the Better Business Bureau’s website. See how they stack up. Google them. See if there are any online reviews about the company.
Ask for samples of their work.
Is their work in alignment with your objectives and your quality standards? Have they produced a video similar to what you are looking for? It doesn’t need to be exactly what you want, but it should have at least some similarities. Say you manufacture nuts and bolts and you want to produce a promotional video about your company. If the company you’re interviewing has produced a promotional video for another manufacturer of a product and you like what you see, most likely they’ll do a great job for you too.
How quickly can they turn your job around?
You don’t want to hire a company that’s too busy or too slow. You want a company that is busy enough to show that people want to use their services, but not too busy to be attentive to your project. Too much business can mean a company may be inclined to cut corners to just ‘get it out the door’ or keep you waiting a long time until you get your video. Either scenario is not good. Make sure that there is a timeline in the final agreement with the company. If necessary, you can even build in penalties for not meeting deadlines if it’s the company’s fault.
Are they friendly? Do they communicate well?
Talk with them. Do they seem concerned about your success? Does what they say make sense? Are they willing to work within your budget? Are they flexible enough to make this work for you? Attitude is vital. You need to have a positive experience with the company you work with, as the process definitely influences the final results.
Get a clear production quote.
Make sure that the production company prepares a concise quote for all of the services they will provide, accompanied by line-by-line pricing for each service.
Make sure that the video production company is willing to give you all of the materials and rights to the video that they produce for you.
Some companies give you the finished product with restrictions about how you can use the video. This is nonsense. You paid for this and are entitled to everything, including the right to use it any way you want. Make sure the video company gives you the raw footage files, graphics, project file, the final output file(s), plus the right to make any subsequent changes as you desire – with whomever you desire.
Make sure that there’s a clear deadline for the final project.
Sometimes a company will drag their heels in getting you the video unless they are driven by a deadline. Make sure the due date and other benchmarks are identified in the letter of agreement.
Make sure that the production company spells out what you’ll be getting in your production package.
How many camera people? How many cameras? Does this include lights and microphones? If so, what type?
Is the company insured?
Chances are that nothing bad will happen. But on the rare occurrence that someone trips over a cable or some other mishap occurs, you want to make sure that the production company will be able to handle the claim if it’s their fault. By the way, all cables should be taped down and no one should trip over anything. But accidents can happen. Also, the fact that the company has insurance in the first place shows that they are a responsible and prepared company. Having insurance says a lot about their character.
After your initial conversation and they send you a proposal, is it obvious that they have or haven’t done their research about your company?
This is another ‘tell’ about them. You need them to care about your final product as much as you do and not just go through the motions just to make a sale.
Are they good listeners?
Is the conversation about you or them? Yes, they need to convince you that they are good and can prove it but they need to be capable of listening to your needs, challenges and goals.
Are they an award winning company?
See where they got their award and determine if the awarding entity is a credible source. Quite frankly, anyone can get an award if they’re willing to pay for it. We’re not saying that every award is bought but it is possible to just pay some companies that issue awards as a business. Make sure their awards are legitimate.
What kinds of questions are they asking?
Do they seem germane to your goals? If they’re asking you questions that help you clarify and focus, that’s a good sign!
Is the letter of agreement easy to read and understand?
Or would it take a Philadelphia lawyer to understand all of the clauses and conditions? A proposal or letter of agreement should contain the following: Scope of the project, deliverables, video samples, rights to the work, budget, and background about the staff and company.
Make sure that you evaluate each company with equal criteria.
Sometimes the project evolves as you talk with other companies. So to be fair to the company that was first on your list to interview, let them know if the scope of the project has changed. This is good for you too because it will give you an opportunity to choose among equally competing companies.
Are they articulate? Is their proposal professionally prepared? How do they dress? Pay attention to the details because small things tend to grow once the project starts. For instance, if they gloss over or forget details, that same flaw may grow and repeat itself during production day. And once the footage has been shot, that’s it. You can’t manufacture a shot that was missed during the production phase due to a lack of organization or attentiveness.
Don’t be penny wise and pound-foolish.
Sometimes it’s wiser to spend a little more for a great crew than to save a buck in the short run, only to be disappointed in the end. We’ve done business with people who have had to redo their videos because the bargain basement company did an inadequate job.
Is the timeline and process clear and easily understood?
How do they make you feel?
If you have a good feeling about the company and everything else checks out, then you may have a winner. Just remember, this is an extensive checklist and one company may not ‘win’ for every criteria. Consider the big picture and the criteria that are most important to you. Maybe a company doesn’t have a sample video that’s the exact type of video you want to produce. Well, how do their other video samples look? If they’re up to standards, chances are that your video will be too. So maybe you can give them a little slack in this area. However, other areas might be deal breakers if they don’t measure up. One way to choose among companies is to give a numerical weight to each factor. Then add up the score for each company and see who comes out on top. Then put that aside and determine how you feel about them. This way you get the best of both worlds, your thinking and feeling self.
One final thing…
Even though you may be hiring a professional company to produce your video, you will still need to make some decisions. And if this is a new endeavor for you, you probably don’t know what you don’t know. So we’d like to address that issue by sending you a series of emails over the next few weeks that discuss topics such as: What can I do to keep my costs down? How many cameras should I use? Should I use actors? Can I or should I use motion graphics or special effects? On what level does the production value of my video need to be? And more.