6 Things to Ask Video Production Companies

6 Things to Ask Video Production Companies

Ben Cecil Best Practices

Video is a very powerful medium for cutting through the noise and connecting with an audience, but it can be difficult to choose the right company.  And if your choice seems to be between Good vs. Evil then you’re looking in the wrong places.  It should be about choosing between 2 or 3 great video production companies.

Here are 6 questions you should be asking when evaluating a video production or video marketing company.

1. How does your overall process work?

This is something any decent video production company should be excited to describe.  If the answer is vague or they simply cannot clearly articulate their client process adequately, don’t walk, but run, to the next candidate.  A clear process is essential to understanding what you will need to provide, how long production will take, and what you can expect along the way.

2. What’s your idea process like?

There is a difference between video production companies and video marketing companies. Typically, marketing companies spend more time working on ideas, and have a process for generating them.  On the other hand, production companies commonly excel at making an existing idea… better.  They do marvelous, creative things and can bring a great idea to life, but might not have the creative chops you need to develop a concept, starting from zero.  If they have not cultivated their process around idea creation, you should adjust your expectations.

3. What was your average project cost over the last 6 months or so?

Most people looking to hire video production companies want to know what video production will cost.  The budget question is a difficult one, often plagued by “it depends.” One way to remedy this situation is to ask about the average cost for the last several projects.  Armed with this information you should have a good idea what your bill will look like. Further, you can inquire about what factors will affect the cost.  If there is a limit on revisions, outside factors beyond the control of the production house, or additional resources required.  All of these can be reflected in the final price tag.  Also, ask them if they do “locked” pricing, meaning the price doesn’t change if it’s kept within the scope or contract.  Surprises are bad, mmkay.

4. Do you have insurance?

Another important question to ask before hiring a video production company is about insurance.  We rarely get asked about this… and that’s bad.  It’s important that any vendor you hire have, at a minimum, general liability insurance.  Ask for proof of insurance before signing any contract or agreeing to begin any work.

5. Can I contact some recent clients?

Ask prospective video production companies if you can contact some of their recent clients. They will likely list their best contacts, but you can still ask if the company sticks to their process, delivers on promises and comes in on time and within budget.  Even the happiest clients might have some good insight into the inner workings of the production house.  Also, don’t be afraid to contact other companies in their portfolio as well.  You can even track people down on LinkedIn if you have to.  It’s worth it, I promise.

6. What’s your payment structure?

Once you begin to narrow the field, and are homing in on the right company for your needs, it is a good time to ask about the payment structure.  Often companies request half upfront and the other half on delivery, but there may be other payment options available that are more favorable for your needs if you ask.

This is by no means a complete list of everything you might need to consider when choosing among video production companies.  Your particular project may have unique requirements, but armed with this list, you have a good place to start.