Want to start a video production company but don’t know where to start?
You’re in the right place! This guide will teach you everything you need to know about starting your own video production company. From finding clients and creating a portfolio to setting up your business and marketing your services, we’ve got you covered.
With filmmaking becoming more and more popular, there’s never been a better time to start your own company. So, what are you waiting for? Here are all the details we’ll cover in the short guide to starting your own video production company:
What is a Video Production Company?
A production company is an organization that is accountable for the actual production of audiovisual material such as television commercials, training videos, online advertisements, product showcases and explanations, and a variety of other film-related needs.
Production companies typically work on two distinct types of projects: those that the company develops internally with the assistance of its own in-house creative team and those that the company is hired to physically produce but does not have any creative input into the process of developing the project.
What Does a Video Production Company Do?
There are numerous different directions that a video production company might go in. Some of the focuses that a company like this may have are local commercials, promotional films, or even wedding videos. As such, most video production companies enter the market with a niche or a specific type of audiovisual product in mind. This enables them to specialize and become very good at a specific type of video product.
A video production company may also create films, documentaries, or even television series. Though, this is generally less common and not really something typically in the realm of small businesses.
If you have your own video production company, some of the things you may do include writing scripts, casting actors and actresses, filming scenes, compiling supplied audio and visuals, or filming events that will be edited at a later time. After all, even commercials need strong dialogue and good actors in order to be put together properly.
If you’re the only employee at your company, you’ll need to keep your idea modest if you want to be successful. For obvious reasons, it’s difficult to create a movie with only one person on the team, but it’s not impossible.
Process for Starting a Video Production Company from Scratch
Having a business plan is critical to starting any company. After making a business plan, it is important to choose the type of business entity you’re going with. The options include sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, and others. The key to is choose one that makes sense for you from a tax and a liability standpoint. Then you will want to choose to optimal place to register your business after you make your decision.
After you’re done choosing the type for your new business providing production services, here’s what to do next.
1. Register your Company
The procedure that must be followed in order to officially register a corporation differs greatly from one nation to the next.
You should get your firm off to a good start by registering your corporation. It makes it simpler for you to manage the financial aspects of your firm, including its revenue and expenses.
You will also have an easier time dealing with debt and, in the worst-case scenario, filing for bankruptcy if necessary. You want to make sure your business structure will protect your personal assets as much as possible in order to minimize the amount of financial risk you are taking on in starting a new business.
Don’t forget to register the trademark and obtain the business license after you’ve settled on a business name. This will ensure your business is in good standing and able to operate without any hindrances moving forward.
2. Develop your portfolio.
It is essential that you compile a body of work of your video content that demonstrates your expertise and may be used as a portfolio. This will make it much simpler for you to market your goods to prospective customers. Unfortunately, video production companies really are not businesses you can just start without any training, knowledge, or prior experience. If you have a long history of working in the industry, you will be able to showcase your talent and credibility to prospective clients. Without the proper background, breaking into the industry will, unfortunately, be much more difficult.
By establishing a portfolio of past projects that you have worked on, contributed to, or produced yourself, prospective customers will have a point of reference about the types of videography you specialize in and in which you can assist them.
3. Find your specialty
Finding your specific audience requires you to first identify your specialty in the market. You don’t have to remain in the same field forever, but in the beginning, you should pick the activities or type of video formats that you like doing the most and put your energy into becoming an expert at those activities. The key is to build a reputation in your specialty. Word of mouth is often the best form of marketing and is typically more powerful than almost any other form of marketing. Particularly since video production companies tend to serve other businesses, obtaining future clients will be, in large part, based on referrals from satisfied clients. Business communities tend to be tight-knit and heavily focused on networking.
If and when your firm reaches a certain size threshold, you always have the option of expanding the range of services that you provide – but you will undoubtedly want to start small.
4. Make sure you understand the product top-down.
It’s possible that you’re a fantastic videographer, but you’re not up to par when it comes to video editing in a professional manner. Alternatively, you may be absolutely clueless about how to light your videos or how to capture the greatest audio.
All of these factors are essential, and the quality of the end product will suffer if even one of them is compromised in any way. You need to have a solid understanding of all of the steps involved in video production if you actually want to launch your own production firm and make money from it. This means that, even if you have been in the industry, if you only really understand one part of the chain of production you will need to start picking up knowledge on the rest.
This is where hiring the right people for your starting team or potentially bringing on business partners becomes critical. You want to surround yourself with competent people who will be able to help you deliver the best product possible. Just remember, if you bring on business partners, make sure you have a great operating agreement and a clear understanding of roles before starting up the business.
5. Focus on increasing the size of your network.
In the business world, the one phrase that will be repeated to you more often than any other will be “Network, network, network!”
As previously noted, if someone in your network knows that you are exceptional at a certain skill, they may think of you the next time they are planning projects and send business your way. This is just one of the many benefits of maintaining a robust network. In business-to-business (B2B) industries, networking is beyond important. This is where you will want to focus a great deal of your marketing efforts early on as the people who know the best will likely be the ones most willing to take a chance on you in the early stages of your business.
6. Exhibit some of your work.
When you have begun to develop your portfolio, it is imperative that you highlight the work that you have been doing up to this point. People won’t be able to learn about your production process if you don’t have any templates through which to disseminate it.
YouTube is a platform that is useful in many ways! Nevertheless, the site also has a frontier-like atmosphere about it. Because Vimeo is best recognized for serving as a venue in which artists’ work may be shown, the platform offers users the opportunity to reach a more targeted audience.
Creating company websites and registering a domain name according to the company name is another essential step to do in this process.
You have the option of choosing how to convey your services to the rest of the world, and you may choose to have all of your work, portfolio, and information collected in one location.
In today’s world, in order to launch a website, you do not need to have advanced knowledge of computers. You can use platforms like Wix or WordPress to build your film production company website. It’s never been easier to get started with a high-quality website for your business.
7. Utilize social media
Social media is one of the premier platforms for getting the word out about your business. It’s everywhere, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and that’s precisely the reason why you should employ it for your organization.
You can employ social media to exhibit your work to an even wider audience, and you can also more easily communicate with customers and other producers via these platforms. Social media functions like an extended portfolio. Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok place an incredible premium on well-crafted video content. As a video production company, you can display essentially all your work on social media so that prospective customers can engage with it. Make sure that when you take on projects, your contract gives you the right to post the products you create for clients on your website and on social media – that way, there won’t be any issues since your clients will technically own the videos you create. You want to make sure you will be able to use your past work to generate interest in your business and bring on new customers.
You may also use social media to serve as a point of contact for your company, enabling customers to get in touch with you using platforms such as Facebook Messenger, for instance.
8. Set your pricing
Putting a price on your work is one of the things that is the most difficult to achieve. Early on, you will likely want to sacrifice large profit margins in favor of getting as many customers as possible. Sometimes, it can even make sense to take a loss on a project if it means getting a client who you think will be incredibly valuable in the future. Being able to say you created the video content for a prestigious company with a well-known brand can actually be much more lucrative in the long run than the short-term profit you get from creating a product for them.
Researching what your rivals are asking for the same item or service is a smart move to do before deciding on your own pricing. People who have had a comparable amount of experience and who are located in an area that is comparable to yours will give you a decent notion of what to charge.
And don’t be afraid to get creative with your pricing options. One such creative possibility is to provide businesses with the opportunity to subscribe to a service. It is becoming more common for businesses to provide new video material on a regular basis. Some businesses need to make their customers aware of special offerings on a weekly or monthly basis, and some businesses like to use as much video content as possible on platforms like Instagram since social media platforms place a higher premium on video content than static photos.
You might make it simpler for businesses to acquire your services by developing a subscription package that includes a certain number of Facebook advertisements, for instance, a month at a fixed cost. Just make sure whatever contracts you allow customers to sign up for you will be able to sustain financially over the length of the contract. You don’t want to quote a price that is too low for videos and be stuck hemorrhaging cash for 6 months because you let a bunch of companies sign up for the service. It’s ok to lose money on projects, but as noted, you need to be strategic and careful about it.
9. Control your finances
When running a video production company, budgeting is critical. It is very easy for projects to run over schedule and over cost in this industry, which means you need to keep a careful eye on your finances and set up a series of KPIs and other indicators that will signal early on when things are going astray.
While many businesses only need to worry about their financial statements’ projections, staying cash flow positive, and staying in line with their quarterly targets, video production companies are a service business. And services come inherently with the risk of cost overruns. It may even be worth – depending on the size of your operation – hiring an individual tasked solely with monitoring projects and making sure they stay within the budget.
You will also want to set up a standardized procedure for budgeting for each project so that you can learn as you go how much each kind of product you offer will cost. Obviously, this will vary based on the needs of the client, but only with time and experience will you be able to ensure you are quoting your clients the proper costs.
10. Promote your product
You are now working on many projects, but business is beginning to slow down, right? It’s possible that now is the right moment to begin marketing your business. When it comes to marketing your business, you have a wide variety of options available to you.
“Cold emailing” firms is the method that is both the simplest and the most cost-effective. You might email them your portfolio and explain in detail how you can contribute to the expansion of their company via the use of videos. If your specialty is more in the field of something like wedding photography, for instance, you can find success by joining Facebook groups devoted to wedding planning. Be creative about your marketing and find ways you can set yourself apart.
Advantages of a Video Production Company
Saves Time and Money
A video production company can save businesses time and money by allowing them to outsource their video production needs. Only large companies tend to run their own in-house video production operations. As such, almost any business that wants video content has to outsource the work to a video production company. Indeed, the video production industry is expected to grow considerably throughout the remainder of the decade as the demand for high-quality video content by businesses and consumers continues to rise.
Professional video production companies can provide high-quality videos that meet the exact specifications of the client, as well as help to create content in a timely and cost-effective manner. As such, there will always be a need for video production companies.
Working with a professional video production company also gives businesses access to experienced professionals who have an eye for detail, technical know-how, and creative ideas.
Professionals are able to provide the best quality work, which may include special effects, motion graphics, and other post-production activities such as editing, color grading, and sound mixing. It’s simply not possible to produce high-quality, specialty video products in-house when you are a small to mid-sized business. Video production companies are a critical resource for these businesses.
Disadvantages of a Video Production Company
The biggest disadvantage of video production companies is that operating one requires a lot of skill, networking, and experience in order to set yourself apart. The video production market is a somewhat flooded market, and while the top firms do incredibly well, it can be hard to set yourself apart. It’s not an industry you can just jump into it. You will need to have a strong portfolio, experience in the industry, and, preferably, a good network you can tap into for your first few clients. This is definitely a disadvantage of the market if you don’t possess all of these attributes before starting.
It’s also not an easy industry to work in. The hours can be long, and you will have to run multiple projects – all with different deadlines and budgets – at once. This means you have to be both good at creating audiovisual products (which is not easy) and a savvy business owner with real financial acumen. Indeed, often these companies have multiple ongoing projects across different potential clients. Thus, demanding enough lead time for them to plan efficiently plus accommodate unforeseen circumstances is critical.
How Much Will the Startup Costs Be?
Beginning a firm that deals in video creation requires significant financial investment. Video production inherently relies on expensive equipment that has to utilize cutting-edge technology. When the time comes for you to launch your own company, you will need to own a significant portion of the equipment required. Some of the equipment that you may only need from time to time may be able to be rented, but by and large, you’ll need to own the important pieces of film equipment, etc.
The startup expenditures for a video production company can easily go into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the quality of the equipment you are purchasing and whether you are purchasing new versus used equipment.
It can be a good idea to consider purchasing secondhand equipment in order to save on expenses; not only is this option better for your wallet, but it is also healthier for the environment (environmentally healthy business practices are becoming a big draw for bringing on new clients in today’s business climate – you can use these practices as a selling point for your services).
The kind of video production you specialize in will determine whether or not you need to have a studio and what equipment you will need in that studio as well. For example, if you conduct a lot of audio recording, you’ll need a space that is soundproof (or you may hire a studio for an average of $100 per hour).
Before starting the business, you should outline all of the expenses you expect to incur to start your operations and then project potential business cash flows based on realistic estimates to determine if the venture will be worthwhile for you.
Which financing options are available?
It’s possible that you’ll have access to a number of different funding alternatives for your small company, such as business loans, grants, and the ability to raise venture capital.
Term loans are one of the best options for businesses trying to get off the ground and running. These are typically fixed-interest rate loans (though they can also have variable interest rates) for a specific amount of money that lasts for a specific amount of time. These can get you the cash you need early on to cover your startup costs.
Term loans can be acquired from a wide range of lenders, including traditional brick-and-mortar banks, alternative likes (like Biz2Credit!), and through programs like the SBA loan program. All of these lenders will have different requirements. For example, traditional brick-and-mortar banks are notoriously difficult to get loans from, though they do offer some of the lowest interest rates typically. Alternative lenders, on the other hand, can provide funding fast, requiring fewer qualifications from borrowers while allowing riskier individuals to access cash in a fast and timely manner. That said, interest rates are typically higher with alternative lenders on account of the greater risk.
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) is a participant in a variety of loan programs that are meant for business owners who may have difficulty qualifying for a regular bank loan. SBA loans are backed by the federal government, allowing lenders to take on borrowers who would traditionally be considered riskier. The most common SBA loan is the SBA 7(a) loan. SBA loans feature some of the best interest rates available at any given time, making them quite appealing. Unfortunately, the process for getting approved and getting the cash can take several months or longer, meaning that you will likely have to wait a while before being able to get your business running.
The United States federal government does not provide financial assistance to individuals who are beginning a company or growing an existing one.
On the other hand, there are programs at the state and municipal levels, as well as non-profit organizations and other types of organizations, that provide grants to businesses. Nowadays, there is a wide range of grants available to immigrant business owners and minority business owners. With the proper research, you may be able to take advantage of these programs to help get your business off the ground and running.
Money from Personal Savings
You might utilize the money that you have put away for yourself over the years. This is almost always necessary, and typically you will want to supplement your personal investment with a loan so that you have enough cash to get the business up and running. Remember, if the business fails, you will lose whatever money you have invested. So, you should invest cautiously and consider what the ramifications on your personal financial situation will be if your business is not able to make it in the long run.
There is no doubt that starting your own video production company is a lot of work. It takes a rare combination of videography and production skills combined with business acumen – two things that are not easily learned individually let alone together. However, there are thousands of successful video production companies – so there is no reason that you can’t start a successful one as well if you have the right skill set.
The above tips and steps obviously only scratch the surface for starting your own video production company, but they can be a good starting point. You’ll want to try to reach out to others in the industry as well to see how they got their start and see if they would be willing to share any tips and tricks. After all, experience is by far the best teacher.
In the end, if you’re passionate about and experienced in creating film and video products, then starting your own company can be a great way to turn that passion into a career. But, like any startup business, it will take long hours, hard work, and perseverance.
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