Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on April 27, 2022 Updated on February 13, 2024
$4,550 - $10,100
$52,000 - $312,000 p.a.
Time to build
1 – 3 months
$47,000 - $94,000 p.a.
The demand for video content for marketing, and the rise in mobile video watching is driving the global film and video services industry, which is expected to expand 35% by 2025, and nearly 75% by 2030. Now is the perfect time to get in on the trend and start a video production company. You could start with a home studio for a relatively low investment, and eventually, grow and move to a commercial space. Money is there to be made in the video production business, with prices of $800 to $1,000 for a video that lasts just a few minutes.
But while video production is fun, it’s also a business, and you need to understand that aspect of it before you get started. Luckily, this step-by-step guide will teach you everything you need to know about launching a video production business.
Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.
Average level of education –The average video production director has a bachelor’s degree.
Average age – The average video production director in the US is 40.1 years old.
How much does it cost to start a video production business?
Startup costs for a video production company range from $4,500 to $10,000. The largest expense is the necessary equipment.
You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your video production business, including:
Highly portable camera
Video editing hardware
High-Quality Memory Cards
Setting up a business name and corporation
$150 - $200
Business licenses and permits
$100 - $300
Business cards and brochures
$200 - $300
$1,000 - $3,000
$2,500 - $5,000
$500 - $1,000
$4,550 - $10,100
How much can you earn from a video production business?
Prices for video production vary based on the time and the extent of the editing of the video. The average price for a short video is about $1,000. Your profit margin when you’re working by yourself should be about 90%.
In your first year or two, you could work from home and produce one video per week, bringing in $52,000 in annual revenue. This would mean $47,000 in profit, assuming that 90% margin. As your business gains traction, you could start doing longer videos at a price of $2,000 each, and you could produce three videos per week. At this stage, you’d rent a commercial space and hire staff, reducing your profit margin to around 30%. With annual revenue of $312,000, you’d make a handsome profit of $94,000.
What barriers to entry are there?
There are a few barriers to entry for a video production company. Your biggest challenges will be:
The skills needed to provide quality video production
Building a portfolio of work to use for marketing
Related Business Ideas
If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
Now that you know what’s involved in starting a video production company, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market.
Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.
Why? Identify an opportunity
Research video production companies in your area to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a film production company or a digital marketing video production company.
You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as corporate video production or explainer video production.
This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away.
What? Determine your products or services
Your services will depend on the niche you decide to specialize in. You can offer video editing or the addition of motion graphics as well as video shooting.
How much should you charge for video production?
Prices for video production vary greatly. The average short video costs about $1,000. Higher-end video production companies charge more, from $1,000 to $5,000 per minute. You should aim for a profit margin of about 90% when you’re working by yourself.
Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.
Who? Identify your target market
Your target market is likely to be business owners. You can connect with them on LinkedIn or find them on Google or Yelp and call them directly. You might also try to partner with digital marketing agencies to handle their video marketing production.
Where? Choose your business premises
In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out a commercial space for a studio. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.
When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:
Central location accessible via public transport
Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
Step 3: Brainstorm a Video Production Company Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:
Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
Including keywords, such as “video producing” or “video production”, boosts SEO
Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Visionary Productions” over “Wedding Reels Videography”
Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these.
Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.
Step 4: Create a Video Production Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:
Executive Summary: Summarize your video production company’s mission to create high-quality, engaging video content for clients ranging from businesses to independent artists.
Business Overview: Describe your company’s focus on providing video production services, including corporate videos, commercials, music videos, and event coverage.
Product and Services: Detail the range of video production services, such as concept development, filming, editing, and post-production.
Market Analysis: Evaluate the demand for video content, identifying target clients like marketing agencies, corporations, or entertainment entities.
Competitive Analysis: Compare your services with other video production companies, focusing on your unique strengths like advanced technology, creative expertise, or niche market focus.
Sales and Marketing: Outline your strategy for attracting clients, using tactics like showcasing a portfolio, digital marketing, or networking within industry circles.
Management Team: Highlight the qualifications and experience of your team, particularly in videography, film editing, and business management.
Operations Plan: Describe the process of video production, from client consultation and storyboard creation to shooting and final delivery.
Financial Plan: Provide an overview of financial aspects, including startup costs, pricing strategy, and projected revenue.
Appendix: Include supplementary documents such as equipment lists, previous project examples, or detailed market research to support your business plan.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.
Step 5: Register Your Business
Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.
Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business!
Choose where to register your company
Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to video production companies.
If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.
Choose your business structure
Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your video production company will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.
Here are the main options:
Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)– Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.
The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.
It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.
Step 7: Fund your Business
Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:
Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.
Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a video production business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your video production business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
Step 10: Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.
Here are some types of insurance to consider:
General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.
As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.
Essential software and tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
You may want to use industry-specific software, such as Monday, Yamdu, and Pipeline, to manage your projects, budgeting, scheduling, and contracts.
If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
Develop your website
Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.
You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.
They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.
Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:
Showcase a Compelling Demo Reel: Craft a standout demo reel that highlights the best of your work, emphasizing diverse styles and capabilities, to leave a lasting impression on potential clients.
Utilize Social Media Creatively: Leverage platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn to share behind-the-scenes content, client testimonials, and short clips, engaging your audience and creating buzz around your brand.
Strategic Partnerships with Agencies: Collaborate with advertising agencies, event planners, and PR firms to become their go-to video production partner, expanding your reach and clientele through mutually beneficial relationships.
Offer Educational Content: Develop informative content through blog posts, webinars, or YouTube tutorials that showcase your expertise, positioning your company as an authority in the industry and attracting potential clients seeking guidance.
Run Targeted Social Media Ads: Invest in targeted advertising on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, focusing on specific demographics, interests, and locations to reach potential clients who are more likely to be interested in your services.
Attend Niche Events and Trade Shows: Participate in industry-specific events, trade shows, and conferences to connect directly with potential clients and establish a strong presence in your target market.
Create Limited-Time Promotions: Generate excitement and urgency by offering limited-time promotions or discounts for your services, encouraging potential clients to take action and try out your video production expertise.
Implement Client Referral Programs: Encourage satisfied clients to refer your services by implementing a referral program, offering incentives such as discounts or additional services for successful referrals.
Optimize for Search Engines: Ensure your online presence is optimized for search engines by using relevant keywords, creating high-quality content, and obtaining backlinks to increase your visibility in search results.
Invest in Professional Networking Events: Attend industry-specific networking events, film festivals, or local business gatherings to establish personal connections with potential clients and industry professionals, fostering trust and credibility for your company.
Focus on USPs
Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that set it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your video production company meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.
Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your video production business could be:
High-quality video production to meet your digital marketing needs
Corporate video production to help you grow your business
Professionally produced explainer videos to elevate your website
You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a video production business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in video production for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections.
The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in video production. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership.
Step 12: Build Your Team
If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a video production business include:
Video Directors – provide direction for videos
Video Producers – edit and produce videos
Camera People – film the videos
General Manager – scheduling, accounting
Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media
At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need.
Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.
Step 13: Run a Video Production Company – Start Making Money!
More and more companies are using video marketing techniques, which is why the video production services market is set to grow nearly 75% by 2030. You may need to learn some skills first, but once you do, you could start your own video production company and get a share of that growing market. You just need a passion for what you do, a willingness to work hard, and you can build your business into something great.
You’ve honed your business skills now, so it’s the perfect time to fire up the cameras and get your successful video production company off the ground!
Video Production Business FAQs
Can a video production business be profitable?
Yes, a video production business can be very profitable. You just need to have excellent video production skills and a good marketing plan to reach potential customers.
How can I learn video production?
You could get a degree in video production online from places like the New York Film Academy. Alternatively, you could take inexpensive online courses through Udemy.
How do I get video clients?
Getting video production clients requires a combination of networking, building a strong portfolio, and effective marketing. Attend industry events, reach out to potential clients through social media and email, and build relationships with other professionals in the field.
How do I market myself as a video producer?
Marketing yourself as a video producer involves developing a strong brand identity, creating a professional website, and leveraging social media and other marketing channels to promote your services. Focus on showcasing your unique strengths and expertise, such as specialized niches, styles, or techniques.
What kind of additional services can my video production company offer?
These services can include pre-production services such as scriptwriting, storyboarding, and location scouting, post-production services such as editing, color correction, and sound design, and distribution services such as video optimization and SEO. Other additional services can include live streaming, virtual reality production, and drone videography.
How can I find and hire skilled videographers, editors, and other production staff?
To find and hire skilled videographers, editors, and other production staff, consider networking with industry professionals, posting job listings on relevant job boards, and attending job fairs or trade shows. Look for candidates with relevant experience and a strong portfolio, and conduct thorough interviews and assessments to ensure they have the necessary skills and fit with your company culture.
How to Start a Video Production Company
Decide if the Business Is Right for You
Hone Your Idea
Brainstorm a Video Production Company Name
Create a Video Production Business Plan
Register Your Business
Register for Taxes
Fund your Business
Apply for Business Licenses/Permits
Open a Business Bank Account
Get Business Insurance
Prepare to Launch
Build Your Team
Run a Video Production Company - Start Making Money!
Video Production Business FAQs
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