7 Signs Your Video Company Values You

Remember the days when the customer was always right, even if they were wrong? No? Don’t worry. Your memory isn’t failing. The system is the thing that’s failing, so it’s no wonder those halcyon days of good service and attentive response seem to be just a hazy dream.

Nowadays more companies treat customers as if they’re never right. In fact, some act as if you’re the most despicable person in the world for presuming to offer them your business and your money. And if they do consent to take your business, more of them feel they have the right to call all of the shots. You? Well, what does your opinion matter anyway? Do it yourself if you think you can do it better.

This might be the reception you get at some video companies. And if you do, it’s time to look elsewhere. Here are seven things you should look for when scouting out the production house that’s right for you:

How do you know a video company is the right fit for you? Here are 7 giveaways

How do you know a video company is the right fit for you? Here are 7 giveaways

  1. The Company Encourages Your Feedback

    This isn’t just on the finished video. The company should actively seek your feedback from the moment the pre-production process begins until final delivery of the video. Two of the most common things you should hear from them are: “What do you think about this?” and “How do you feel about…”, or variations on the above. Graphics, location, casting, even craft services—all of these are areas where your feedback should be solicited, along with the more obvious ones like scripting. Video companies generally offer a set amount of do-overs for each phase, including graphics packages, music selection, and editing. it may, however, be only one free revision. After that, you’ll be charged, so it’s in your best interest to look everything over carefully and be sure you really want those revisions. Of course it goes without saying that when your feedback is solicited, you should actually respond, and do so in a timely manner. The company has other projects, and waiting for you to respond to a simple feedback request could add unneeded burdens to the company’s staff.

  2. The Company Takes Time With Preliminaries

    A discovery meeting is standard whenever you’re hiring a video company, whether your project is a commercial for a luxury car or simply capturing your niece’s bat mitzvah. But the discovery process has to be much more involved if you want to ensure that you get what you want. Concept development should result in a concise summary of the video, as well as a production schedule, so that everyone is on the same page. Storyboarding will help ensure you share the same vision as the production company. Otherwise,  one of you may have a vision and the other may have a hallucination. The result can be quite amusing but hardly effective in getting your message where you want it to go.

  3. The Company has an Active Client List…

    You should be able to ask for recent examples of the company’s work. Of course it’s nice if the company has an extensive portfolio going back several years, but you need to know those clients were not just one-offs. How many videos for each client did the company produce? Did a client sign up for a multi-video package (a sign of trust) or did the client just ask for a single video and never come back? Can you find that video on the client’s website or an outlet like YouTube or Vimeo? If not, the client may have been dissatisfied with the result and taken it down.

  4. …But Not Too Active…

    A video company that has a lot of clients certainly has earned their trust, but it also may not be able to give you the attention you need for your video. Sometimes it pays to take a chance on a smaller, newer operation with a few solid clients rather than a larger company that’s got a dozen or more projects going at one time. The more clients a production company has, the less  time it will have to focus attention on your needs. It’s only reasonable that they give preference to clients with whom they’ve worked over the years. You probably do the same thing in your business all the time. Do your research to make sure you’re not wasting that time barking up the wrong tree.

  5. …and The Clients Are on Your level, or The Level You Want to Reach

    Selling wedding cakes? Then it’s probably not a good idea to try to work with a video company that has a preponderance of clients that create athletic wear. There’s nothing wrong with a video company that specializes in servicing a particular industry, as long as it’s your industry. But a company that produces reality TV shows probably won’t have time for wedding cakes. Unless the reality show is Bridezilla.

  6. The Company Weaves Flexibility Into The Production Schedule

    Of course you want to get your video on time, but delays can and do happen during video production. This can be caused by anything from equipment failure to a crucial team member, such as the editor, being out of commission due to uncontrollable circumstances to to weather being bad for an outdoor portion of the shoot. If the shoot and the post-production phase seems to have a lot of time allotted when you see the production schedule, understand that some of that is pad time, in case unpreventable circumstances delay those phases. The good news is, most companies don’t want to leave projects sitting around just because they have extra time. So despite what the initial schedule says, you may actually get a completed video earlier than you anticipated.

  7. You Have Options for Delivery Services

    When your videos are finished, the production company should be able to help you deliver them to multiple platforms, be it YouTube or Vimeo, your website, and your social media. This is an area you should clarify during the initial discovery process. Having a finished video in your hands is a great feeling, until that annoying little “Now what?” pops into your head.

    The bottom line is, ask the right questions during your initial meeting and you’ll quickly discover whether a video company is right for you. If you see any red flags in the areas above, think carefully before committing to work with a company, even if you’re tight on time. Deadlines come and go, but a bad video lasts forever.