December 13, 2022
The videography industry is a diverse and resilient one that brings in people with many passions. If you’re looking to turn a hobby into a lucrative pastime, you might be wondering about the ins and outs of starting a videography business.
For this, we’ve got some useful info coming up. We’ll also go into a brief set of tips to help promote your new business and get a return on your investment quickly. First, though, let’s take a look at the industry as it stands today, and where it’s headed.
The Videography Business: An Industry Overview
The film and videography market comprises sole traders, partnerships, or other organizations that produce and distribute video or TV, or other forms of motion pictures and their related products and services. This mostly involves film and video production, distribution, and post-production services, but also includes cinemas and private studios.
Video content varies across different industries, and can include:
- Feature films
- YouTube Videos
- Home movies
- Corporate marketing
Among many others. Each of these can be further subdivided into genres and specialties.
The market itself grew from $244.43 billion in 2021, at a CAGR of 11.4% to its current size of around $272.21 billion in 2022. This growth was influenced by a certain level of rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic responses of previous years and the industry is still facing the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, which has hit supply lines hard by way of economic sanctions in numerous countries.
However, the market is projected to continue its increase at a CAGR of around 6.9% to 2026, representing an increase of around $83 billion over this period.
Other Factors Affecting the Market
Mobile video viewing has been on a steady increase over two decades and continues to accelerate in growth. Internet penetration and the rise in smartphone usage drive this trend globally, as does the widening availability of video viewing providers and the decreasing cost of production.
It’s estimated that over half of the world’s population makes use of mobile internet and that the small majority of videos watched worldwide are done so on mobile devices. Statistics on the Average American’s mobile usage suggest that adults spend upwards of seven hours a day on devices, with mobile internet making up half of that.
This trend has created a vast market for attention-grabbing content, and is expected to continue as a rapid increase in mobile video consumption is expected to drive the market in the forecast period.
While the pandemic supplied a powerful suppressive force on certain parts of the industry as businesses were disrupted by lockdown restrictions in both 2020 and 2021, many other video markets were unaffected and some even took a significant boost as content consumption increased. Those markets that did struggle are expected to recover in the coming years, but the resulting ecosystem may remain altered.
Another market driver is the diversity of film-making technology available. As drones become cheaper and more popular, a new generation of independent filmmakers has access to cinematography previously restricted to high-budget production companies and aerial shots of various kinds can now be accomplished with budgets in the hundreds, rather than the tens of thousands.
This has affected multiple corporate markets such as tourist videographers, YouTube producers, and commercials; as well as classic filmmakers.
360-degree cameras are also on the rise, allowing for much of the detailed camerawork to be handled in post; this further reduces costs and expertise in human resources needed for getting good shots. Many major companies now offer high-end drones and cameras with applicable technologies for this.
In terms of region, the US and North America as a whole have the largest market as of 2021, and Africa is the fastest-growing region, with Nigeria and “Nollywood” representing the fastest-growing film industry in the world with an output of over 2500 movies a year.
So, starting a videography business looks to be a profitable venture for videographers, almost regardless of their niche. If you’re thinking of learning how to start a videography business of your own, keep reading to see how much it might set you back.
How to Start a Videography Business: Startup Costs and Revenue Streams
The range of options when it comes to starting a videography business makes it a good choice for any budget, but this same flexibility creates a huge range between the low and high-ends both in terms of setup costs and revenue. Revenue streams will also be determined by the business model, and whether your focus will be on filming, editing, production, or sales, for example. Starting up a company, regardless of its focus, will require a good strategy and a clear plan with goals to work towards. A quick look at video production company rates shows a range of fees from $50 to $300 per hour for the same fundamental service, which reflects the range of professionalism and quality available.
If you’re looking to start at the bottom and work your way up, it’s a great industry to do that, as initial costs can be small, and by investing back into your company you will be able to scale organically as your reputation and your customer base grow.
Let’s take a look at some of the initial overheads to cover when starting a videography business, listing the higher and lower bounds, covering the first three months of business:
- Office – $0 to $7000
- Website - $300 - $7500
- Startup registration - $600 - $4500
- Equipment - $100 - $5000
- Software - $200 - $5000
- Sales and Marketing - $200 - $2000
- Staff - $0 - $40,000
- Insurance - $500 - $20,000
So with these rough figures in mind, you could be looking at startup costs from just under $2000 to just over $90,000, depending on how large your operation will be, to begin with. At the low end, you’re looking at a sole proprietor company, possibly freelancing, offering videography services to small clients with jobs that can be handled by one person. These might be YouTube videos, ads, or private events.
At the high end, you’ll be offering a full package with access to audio specialists, CGI, directors, and other creatives onboard, and your clients will likely be larger companies looking to make longer or more in-depth videos.
But setting up the company is only one element of the costs involved. There will be ongoing expenses to consider too. If you’re starting small, most of the ongoing costs will simply be insurance-based and customer acquisition costs. If you’re going to have a lot of people working for you, these costs will include wages and the location of your production space and headquarters.
How to Start a Videography Business: Setting Up
Let’s assume you’re starting small and working alone for the first year. We can also assume that you have a background in videography, otherwise you will have to begin before this section and start on your education and formal certifications. Setting up a business starts with incorporating it so that you can then proceed to the legal requirements.
1. Form your business entity.
If you want to have full liability for your business, you might register as a sole proprietor. This is the easiest and least expensive avenue for a small startup. Your legal fees here will be limited to permits and licenses, and you’ll have lower tax rates. On the other hand, if you want to take on shareholders, you’ll need to register as a limited company. This will allow you to sell stocks to raise money for the business but you’ll lose a certain level of control in the long run, as you’ll be obliged to please those shareholders. Look into the differences, assess the pros and cons of either, and incorporate your entity accordingly.
2. Get your licensing and permits in order
This will vary depending on the type of company (see above) and the state you’re operating in. While video production companies don’t need anything special in terms of permits and licenses outside of those needed to run a business, there might be local permits required for shooting in some locations. If you hire employees, you’ll probably also need to get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS.
3. Establish your Location
If you’re a small entity, you can probably work entirely from home, unless you’re going to need specialist audio production space or a large room for shooting in. You’ll need to have a budget for this, wherever it is before you go looking for funds, and you’ll need to know how you’re going to pay for it too. This is where your business plan will come in.
4. Fill out your business plan
The urgency of this document will depend on whether you’re paying for everything yourself or if you’re planning to find external funding to get you started. Regardless, starting a business without one will likely leave you rudderless and greatly hamper your chances of succeeding.
Your business plan will be most useful early on if you have done a thorough investigation of your competition and know exactly who will be paying you for what, and why. Identifying your ideal customers will be part of your market research, and from there, you’ll learn how much they’re willing to pay, and what it is that you can do for them that they can’t find anywhere else.
These figures will populate your early financial papers and projections. Since you won’t have a lot of historical income to draw upon, these projections need to be based on detailed and honest findings from your research. ProjectionHub has specially-designed templates for photography & videography that can be entirely customized to your circumstances. The result is a set of professional-looking projections for the next five years of revenue and profits based on your plan of action.
Take these with you as part of your robust business plan document when you go to lenders or prospective investors and you’ll be in with a much better chance of acquiring your startup capital to get you going.
5. Purchase your gear
You should know exactly what you need, and now that you’ve figured out your budgets and sourced your funds, it’s time to start spending money. This is the fun part: video cameras, lenses, spares, editing software, hard drives, memory cards, and all of the things you’ve been looking forward to buying can all be collected and insured at this stage.
If you want to try out some kit first, consider renting for a while before you commit to buying. The good news is, second-hand video gear is readily available and can be sold on without too much depreciation if you decide it’s not for you.
6. Put your team together
This is only applicable if you want a team. You should know whether you’ll be hiring full time or leaning on freelancers for each job. The latter might save you substantially if you only need them for specific jobs once in a while. If you’re hiring, you need to put the word out and start interviewing.
From here, it’s simply a matter of letting people know you exist.
How to Promote a Videography Business: Getting off the Ground
The type of service you’re providing will determine who you’re aiming your content at, and what will go into making it. Luckily for you, you’re a videographer and you have all this new gear kicking around, so it should be a very simple matter to put together some promotional content for your website and social media, regardless of what it is you’re offering.
But making content isn’t the only part of marketing your business. You need to work on a strategy that sets you apart from the competition and resonates with your prospects. You can outsource all of this, of course, and if you choose to do that you might find it’s the fastest way to turn a profit, but if you’re on a tight budget, consider the following basic marketing principles:
1. Be consistent with your branding
People need to know exactly what it is that you do. If you’re not clear about your company message, not consistent with the image you’re putting out, or otherwise confusing in your content, you’re going to lose appeal. Use your logo and your colors in a way that is recognizable across all of your platforms. Be sure to show your vision and the quality of your work in all of your promotional content.
2. Use a website with good SEO
Your website should show up when people are looking for “videographers near me”, so get to learn some basic search engine optimization principles to maximize the visibility of your site on search engines. When people arrive at your site, don’t let them get lost or confused.
Optimize your website for mobile viewing and make sure that all the relevant information is easy to find for visitors.
3. Show the work you want to do
If you don’t have a huge portfolio yet, make one! If you’re working in trailers, you can always design and shoot your own. If you’re looking for ad contracts, shoot an ad for a product that doesn’t exist. The key is to make the kind of content that you want to be paid for and put it up for everyone to see.
Try not to flood the page with your coursework from college that has nothing to do with what you’re looking for, even if it’s good work and you don’t have much else. Focus on relevant content, and make use of the platforms that best show it off, such as Vimeo and YouTube.
Knowing how to promote a videography business is about knowing who your customers are and what you’re offering to them. Then, it can be a very cost-effective way to market a business, since the very art of promoting yourself involves a lot of the skills you’re selling. This is doubly true for corporate or ad-based videography models, as the content you’re making can both serve to promote your company and its services in the same video.
Starting a videography business can be a very low-cost endeavor. On the other hand, in terms of investment, you can put as much as you like into it, too. Ultimately, what you get out will depend on your niche and the scale of your company, but given the current market trends, it shouldn’t be hard to turn a profit on either a small or a large investment relatively quickly.
Simply set up your company and promote your services well and you’ll be able to keep your ongoing costs low while quickly recovering the costs of your initial expenses. From there, growth can occur organically as you channel profits back into your company, or you can reach out for large capital injections to boost your presence and reach new markets.