Strategies for Offering Low-End Commercial Services

Gwinnett Family Promise helps homeless families in my county transition off the streets into jobs.

Today is my fourth and final entry in the pricing series I started last week. Thursday I wrote about “Setting Your Rates.” Friday I touched on some strategies for raising your rates as you grow. Yesterday I addressed the popular strategy of high end wedding studios offering services to low-end brides. Today I want to offer a simple strategy I use to offer lower-cost commercial services.

The strategy I employ is essentially strategy #1 I mentioned yesterday: a lower end service marketed under my main company brand, Dare Dreamer Media. Even though I’ve been blessed to have my studio do work for companies like Apple, Adobe, Kodak and QuickBooks, my specialty, the focus I put most of my energy, is cause-driven and inspirational films. That means many of my clients are small non-profits who don’t have 5-digit video budgets. Or, are small mom-and-pop companies with great stories to tell, but just can’t afford my normal rates. So this is what I’ve come up with. Admittedly it’s still kind of a work in progress. The key ingredient in both strategies are very specific client qualifications, and/or specified project parameters.

Small Business Packages

For local small businesses who want my company to create a powerful and engaging film about them, I will produce a 1-2 minute promo film for a fraction of what I normally get from commercial clients, assuming they meet certain criteria. They must be within a 30 minute driving distance from my studio, and they must have $500,000 or less in annual sales. Frankly, even my small business package rates are too much for many small companies in my county, but there’s only so much I can do. I have to make a living too. Ironically, I’ve given this service to clients on the west coast. I still do a decent amount of business in the Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay Area (employing contractors for gigs where clients cannot fly me out personally).

Non-Profit/NGO Solutions

For 501c3 organizations with a $500,000 or less annual budget, I offer our services either pro-bono or “almost” pro-bono (i.e. a really, really inexpensive rate) so long as the scope of the project is simple enough for a 1 or 2-person crew to tackle it. These projects are ones that I assign my apprentices or mentees to perform. My mentorship program is designed for filmmakers looking to break into this business (or expand their current business) by learning from my experience. I offer training in both the creative and business aspects of running a successful video company, in exchange filmmakers in the program do work for us. Much of the work they do will be for these worthy causes. It’s a win-win-win. They mentees/apprentices get hands-on training and keen business consulation. I get extra help. The non-profits get a killer video. I oversee all the work before it goes out.

For projects larger in scope, or for 501c3 organizations who don’t meet the annual budget criteria, I may partner with them on a project if it’s worthwhile. In essence, I’ll agree to produce it, but will work with them to raise money for the project (e.g. reaching out to their donor base, using crowd-sourcing sites like Kickstarter, etc.)

As I mentioned, these programs are relatively new, but I’ve done aspects of them in the past, just without giving them a formal name. I’ll perhaps do an update at a later date on how they are working out. So stay tuned.

That’s All Folks

Okay. That’s it. There’s a gazillion more topics on pricing I may address. Either here, in EventDV magazine, or some other blog as a guest post. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll always be apprised of when they hit. And for shorter insights into life, the creative arts, business, etc., follow my “random ramblings” at ramblingron.tumblr.com.

3 thoughts on “Strategies for Offering Low-End Commercial Services

  1. I love this post & I can’t wait to get started Ron. I’ve already put into practice what you’ve told me w/ recent projects. Looking forward to the side-by-side on the crew!

  2. Segmented or tiered level service pricing has become a norm for some of the people I know due to the recessions or those working with new businesses starting out. Just the like the Vera Wang example with her difussion range be able to supply high tag and affordable tag pricing for her wedding dress.

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