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Why Bids From Video Production Companies Vary so Much

A sometimes confusing part of video production is sifting through the bids from different production companies. It’s not unusual to find yourself with estimates from three different contractors for the same project – but with entirely different price levels. 

So, why is this? And how do you know which one to choose?

Tempting as it may be to simply go with the lowest bid, that’s not always the best strategy. A number of factors weigh in when companies bid on projects, and to be able to make an informed decision it’s good to be aware of the dynamics that are at play. 


The Bidding Process 

A classic way to pick a production company for your video project is to let several companies pitch on the same brief. 

One common scenario is that an ad agency agrees with their client to put the production work out for competitive pitching. The agency prepares the brief, and production companies will then bid for the assignment and provide a price. 

Based on this, the ad agency will go ahead and recommend a production company to their client, a decision that will be based both on creative approach, production scope, and pricing.

Other times, which is more common when the client has their own team of in-house marketers, the client’s marketing team or marketer will reach out directly to video production companies and handle the bidding process themselves. 


Why Do Bids Often Vary So Much? 

Many factors will affect the bids from each company, and it’s important not to always just go for the cheapest offer. A cheaper proposal may mean that the production company is less experienced, not very busy, or hasn’t dug into the details. 

In comparison, a more expensive proposition could indicate a higher level of experience, a full pipeline, and a higher level of ambition for the finished product. 

In this article, we will outline some of the factors that typically affect bids so that you can make a more informed decision based not only on price – but also on quality. 

Related reading: How Much Does Video Production Cost?


A Clear Brief Is Essential For Accurate Price Estimations

How to craft a production brief deserves an article of its own. A clear and well-thought-through brief is a prerequisite of a fair and efficient bidding process. In addition to the creative goals of your project, the brief should indicate exactly what is included and excluded in the scope of work. Examples of things that may or may not be included in the scope of work can be: 

  • Production Fees
  • Insurance Fees
  • Talent Casting
  • Production Prep 
  • Hair, Makeup and Wardrobe Styling
  • Catering & Meals 
  • All Equipment
  • Art, Props and Set Dressings.
  • Talent and/or Talent-Related Costs 
  • Post Production (Editorial, Sound Design/Mix, Vfx, Color, Finishing)

To be able to bid on a project, production companies need to know in as much detail as possible what the client’s expectations are and entail.


4 Factors That Will Affect The Cost Of Your Video Production

The more you understand about the process and the business of video production, the easier it will be to choose the right supplier for your project. Let’s have a look at four factors that will impact the bids you receive. 


The need for preparation

Preparation is a big part of every video production project, and this is something that needs to be included in the bid price. The more preparation and research a project will entail, and the more pre-production days will be needed, the more money it will cost.


The level of experience needed

The complexity of your project will also affect the price point. If you need more experienced talent behind the camera and more technically proficient people for the editing and post-production process, that will mean a higher price point.


The scope of the shoot

If you get a low-priced bid, it may mean the production company is aiming for a short and quick production where they just show up with a camera and capture what is there. A more expensive bid may be factoring in longer days and spending more time crafting the story and making magic happen. 


The size of the crew

Crew size affects the budget, and what size of a crew you need depends on your project. While there are many projects where you can get away with a small and lean production team, other productions will require more staffing – which means a higher cost.

Related reading: Corporate Video Production: Strategies, Costs, and Things to Look For



If you are receiving pitches from similar-sized production companies with the same experience level, the prices will probably be similar. Then it’s more a matter of choosing the right fit in terms of personal preferences and creative outlook. But if the bids you receive are at very different price levels, that can be for a number of reasons.

If one production company is offering a much lower price than the others…

  • That company may need work and is price-cutting to win the job.
  • That company may lack the experience to know what it actually takes to execute the job.
  • That company may be planning a less ambitious and thorough execution. 


If one production company’s bid is much higher than the others…

  • That company may have misunderstood or overestimated what it takes.
  • That company may be busy and is only interested in taking on the job if it pays more than average. 
  • That company may demand a higher price because they employ top-tier talent that is more expensive.

Letting your choice of production company factor in all those aspects, and not just price, will mean a better end result.

At Covalent, we’re experts in brand video, corporate video, and video ads. Get in touch to learn how we can help you make your brand come alive with video!


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