Clients want a professional Video at an amateur price.

What is going on in the world today? I am meeting a lot of people who want me to produce professional videos for them and they want to pay $400 - $500. I'm talking preproduction, production and post. Now I mostly work as a cam op and inform them that is my rate for just that service and they reply with "I just want a 5 minute video". I don't know folks, is anyone else experiencing this? And how do you handle this?


  • If they are saying it's "Just" a 5-minute video, they clearly don't understand what goes into video production and the cost of crew/equipment. You should educate them as to what it takes to make a professional video and break down, dollar by dollar, what you'd be making after all the time is put in. If they don't understand why you can't do it for that cheap, they are not the client for you.

  • I'm in the same situation as you. I make videos (contract job) for a fitness startup company in San Francisco. I only get paid $100 per video (pre-production, production and post-production) as a director, editor and videographer. I wanted to get paid more (I almost quit), but the CEO/founder said that he'll only pay $100 maximum. Due to the startup having problems and low income, I can't request more than $100. Due to this job being very challenging/rewarding/looks good on my resume, I'm keeping it until I move to Los Angeles. He'll pay me more in the future though. I just have to deal with it, yet I strongly feel that I'll do a better job if I get paid more.


  • People use their phones and think they are professionals. It's more than just point and shoot.

  • edited February 6

    Know your worth and don't settle for less.

  • Send them to me, Ill deliver professional quality at armature prices as I am just getting started in the industry.

  • I once had a bankruptcy attorney tell me that he wanted to film the video on a cell phone, because he didn't want it to look too professional. I had to educate him that his potential customer base won't want him to represent them if he doesn't look extremely professional. Sometimes I just don't understand it.

  • edited April 29

    Know your CODB, and stand tough! you may think others will cave and therefore you should as well, but that's not true. I am constantly having my proposals rejected due to unreasonable budget expectations. I believe the saying is two thirds of your proposals should be rejected or you are not charging enough.

    Having been in the creative field for many, many years my experience is you will never raise your rates with a current client - they will always see you as a $500 production. (anyone charging $500 does not know their CODB)

    You have to remember a lot of companies are just now for the first time exploring the option of video in their marketing scheme. It is more important now than ever to educate all the production work a video requires. Put together a thorough pricing proposal where you've line itemized all the cost to come up with your number so they see the work required.

    I've done projects that were re-shoots in that they had hired someone and couldn't use the work because at the very end of the day quality images/video communicate to the companies branding. I can't charge less because they've already wasted a chuck of their budget.

    One final thought: In the video world the prices and job titles get skewed a camera operator working for a production may charge $500 because their equipment/post/script is not their concern. If however you are a cam op who is making a company video then really you are the producer and all the costs should be charged such as, equipment, editing, crew, and licensing.

  • You MUST learn the power of the qualified NO. It's hard when you need the money, but that is when you MUST do it. Cheap or inexperienced clients will continue taking more ground if they are allowed to. I've been in this business 30 years and what happened when digital came out and everyone tried to get in the game... they all sold their services cheaply and killed the real pro rates. Stop it. You cannot sustain your life on these prices. Do the math, figure out your hourly. Make sure its AT LEAST equal to $50 per hour if you are an amateur but doing a project for a company or client's business. They want to earn money with your video after all.

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