It costs HOW much??

A tall latte at Starbucks costs £2.60 and lasts 15 minutes.

Two pints of beer at a freehouse in Hertford costs £9, and (depending on how quickly you drink) might last anything from 30 seconds to 30 minutes.

A dinner for two at Pizza Express, with starters, mains, desserts and one alcoholic drink each, will cost you the best part of £50, and might last for one and a half hours. And consider that Pizza Express has all the benefits of being a chain: bulk ordering; centralised management, and group advertising clout.

A week’s package holiday to the Mediterranean for two people might run you £1,000.

You can’t rent a decent two-bed apartment in Hertford for less than £900 per month. That’s £10,800 a year, before you’ve even considered council tax or utilities.

A new medium-spec family hatchback, which you would be advised to replace after two years to keep up the equity, will probably be in the ballpark of £19,000.

The average house price in the UK is now £250,000.

The cost of living’s pretty high, right?

Now let’s look at what goes into the process of Pearldrop creating a video for a client.

Before we even find a client to work with, there are some pretty hefty costs to consider.

Studio and office space: £1,000 per month AT LEAST.

Staff: someone’s got to shoot and edit the videos. Good talent isn’t cheap. Add a couple of salaries into the mix. Plus Employers’ NI, which is 11% on top of the wage bill.

Insurance: big companies and government bodies sometimes ask for £10million public liability insurance, and £5million professional indemnity. The average camera insurance company will have trouble finding an underwriter for that amount of cover. Add £1,200 per year.

Equipment: this is one of the biggies. Gear is cheaper than it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s a give-away. A decent camera (body only; no lenses): £6000. Lens collection: £5000. Light? Sound? Tripods? Steadicams? Monitors? Flight cases? Computers for editing (Macs starting at £2400). Software. Sheesh. Pearldrop has sunk over £100,000 into equipment since 2010. That’s £25,000 per year. And don’t forget that gear breaks and gets worn out.

Training: three years at university on a film course. Ten years in the industry doing every job in filmmaking. Reading blogs and instructional web sites in bed EVERY night (to the distraction of Denise). Paid courses in filmmaking and management. How much value can you ascribe to this? It’s an intangible, but it’s got to be worth many thousands of pounds.

Experience: you only get it by doing the job. How much would you pay to get 14 years’ industry experience overnight? To get the judgement to be able to make just the right video for the right client, and to know what’ll give the client the best ROI?

And then let’s talk about the actual job.

Marketing: how much did it cost to find the client? An ongoing investment of, say, 15% of turnover.

Initial consultation with client: two hours for two people: 4 man-hours.

Internal creative meeting to come up with ideas for the pitch: two hours with three people: 6 man-hours.

Pitch meeting with client: two hours for two people: four man-hours.

Storyboarding: maybe two hours for a simple job, two days for a complex one.

Production planning: booking venues, performers, staff, client representatives. Doing paper work. Filling out risk assessments etc. Three hours.

The shoot: four hours for two people for a simple shoot; many more hours and three or more crew for a big job.

Upkeep for the car and travel: fuel costs £1.30 per litre right now, and our car costs £55 to fill up. A full tank gets us to Plymouth and back (just).

Editing: six hours for a 2minute video including powerful graphics.

Time on the phone with client arranging amends: one hour.

Amends: two hours.

Uploading and implementing in client’s site/social media: two hours.

Accounting and invoicing: one hour.

That’s 35 hours of work. And don’t forget wear-and-tear on the equipment. And opportunity cost: when we’re working on your job, we’re not able to work on anything else. And what about HR management for the staff? And accountancy fees? And the bookkeeper? And the bank’s fees?

So when we give you a quote for £849+VAT for a 2minute video – which might help you to make many thousands of pounds in sales – don’t ask, “How come it’s so expensive? It’s only four hours’ work”. Rather, ask, “How on Earth can they provide this level of service for such a low price?”

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