How to hire a great video production company — 10 Steps to Success.

So many Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and non-profit organizations are producing videos of all kinds these days.  Whether its a sales and marketing video, a trade show video or web video, you want your video to be a professional and polished reflection of your brand or service.  So, how do you find a great video production company?Here are a few tips:

1. Start with friends and professional associates.  They may have a preferred vendor they can recommend.

2. Google search for video production companies in your area, for example, “San Francisco video production companies”, and look for the top few organic listings (not paid ads).  This said, don’t discount the second page of listings. There may be some fantastic smaller shops that didn’t make the first page but that would be a better fit for your project.

3. Before deciding who to call, visit their websites and see who their clients are.  Check out their social media profiles (Linked In, in particular, has lots of client recommendations that you can see).  Many sites offer free quotes, so you can email them with pertinent information to get an idea of cost.

4. Pick up the phone.  You can tell so much by actually talking to the company.  Is it a huge operation where you feel you’ll be lost in the shuffle? Can you talk to the company principals about your project?  You want to make sure that the person you’re talking with will have a direct impact on your final project.  Sometimes sales people are awesome but then you end up with someone completely different for your production.

5. Get a written quote.  If you can, share your budget parameters to serve as a guideline.  For example, if you only have $5K to spend on production, let them know up front so they can make the right recommendations.  Conversely, if you got a larger budget, let them know that as well.  Again, the more information you can provide about the scope, timeline and budget for your video project, the better and more accurate quote a video production company can provide for you.

6. Find out as many specifics as the production cost quote as you can.  For example, are they using broadcast quality equipment or low end handicams?  Are they using state-of-the-art post production equipment and graphics.  Ask them what, on their site, would be a representative sample of the budget they are proposing for your video project.

7. Compare.  Its worth getting a second quote from a competitor of a similar status & experience.

8.  Arrange a meeting. If they’re in your local area, its nice to have a face to face meeting, if possible.  Again, you can tell so much about a company by meeting the key people in person.

9.  Once you’ve chosen a video vendor, get a signed deal memo which outlines the production agreement.  Make sure that any production overages will be approved by you in advance. Make sure that you own the final product and the footage and that the company will secure appropriate talent and music licenses on your behalf.

10. Trust that, if you’ve followed the above steps, you’ve hired a fantastic production partner who will lead your video project to success!!

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