What sets you apart from your competition? Is it the fact that you shoot with a RED and your competition shoots with a T3i? Is it that you use Pro Photo flash lights and your competition uses Alien Bees? Or maybe you edit on an Avid and your competition uses Final Cut Pro X. While having better equipment is a reason to add more to your rates, for your sake, I hope that’s not all that sets you apart.
In the world of professional photography and film production, perhaps more than anything else, your ideas should be what sets you apart from other companies. Ideas will help define your style. Ideas are behind great storytelling. Ideas come in many forms:
When sharing ideas with potential clients, you need to carefully balance how much you reveal with how much you don’t. You want to get a prospect excited enough to hire you, but you want to hold just enough of the cards where they need YOU to do the job vs. taking your idea to someone else.
When I changed the name of my company a few years ago, one of the other things I changed was how I described what it is we do. I stopped saying we were a “video production company” and begin referring to us as something that was much closer to reality: a new media marketing and production agency. That is how I wanted my clients to see us because we are more than just “camera jockeys”. If you were going to hire us, you knew you were paying somewhat of a premium because it is our ideas that separates us from a contractor who has a fancy camera and a steadicam.
So when you set your rates and when you communicate to the world what it is you do, make sure they know 1) you’re a studio of great ideas, and most importantly 2) you can actually execute on them.