Low – $1,000 or less for home-based operation
High – $100,000 and up for outside offices and acquisition of
Break-even time – 2 months to 1 year
Estimate of Annual Revenue and Profit
Revenue $30,000 – $800,000
Profit (Pre-tax) $20,000 – $250,000
A Market With Continued Major Growth
New video technology of recent years has created opportunities
for a new segment of professional videographers. While certain
types of video-taping will require a highly skilled videographer
in assignments such as sports events, or a stage presentation,
other assignments such as the taping of individuals for a dating
service, legal depositions, insurance matters, and most social
events will mostly require good knowledge of the equipment,
experience, and the ability to work with various groups.
The marketability and demand for various services is almost
unlimited. Video presentations are more commonly used now on
sales presentations of all types, various insurance claim
matters, real estate sales, all types of training material and in
a variety of other situations. The market is really only limited
by the ability of the videographer to sell his services for a
variety of purposes.
Finding Customers Who Need Your Services
The Individual who has a good personality and enjoys mixing with
people will have a marked advantage in this field. Since many
individuals, organizations or companies may never have considered
to utilize video for their event or presentation the trick is to
create the demand through the sale.
Networking your services through a group of friends and
associates will be most effective along with advertising.
Advertising may be used to reach the social event buyer as in the
case of wedding and barmitzvahs and advertising in business
publications for a variety of business services. Yellow Page
advertising will also be an excellent way to get known in your
community. Direct mail properly followed up in personal and
telephone sales contacts will also be quite effective.
Churches, hotels, restaurants, florists, jewelers, clubs and
other organizations and businesses servicing the social market
will also be able to generate new leads. Getting your name out to
as many of these companies as possible will be a major plus. It
is easy to track social events yourself. Check the social pages
in your newspapers for engagement announcements and synagogue
records for upcoming batmizah . You can then match names against
those in the phone book and will be able to mail your brochure or
You may even consider specializing in a certain market segment
as, e.g. legal videographing. Before you embark on this market
find out what laws are in your state pertaining to videotaping
for legal purposes. They differ substantially by state. An
excellent way to get started may be to try associating with court
reporting service. In states where it is legal, many of these
services now tape the deposition in addition to keeping a written
record of it.
Another fertile market may be to initiate a direct marketing
campaign to an affluent neighborhood to sell video-taping
services of valuables for insurance records.
In your sales presentations to various businesses, the time
savings that can be accomplished through video presentations
should be stressed. A real estate agent can save hours of time
which can be utilized to generate more sales by utilizing video
presentations of residences rather than driving potential buyers
all over town.
You may be able effectively use bartering to get your business
going. For example, you may want to video-tape one or more
catering events for a carter and in return have the carter
recommend your company. The free video-taping of a social event
for the owner of a graphic design business or for a printer may
get you a free brochure.
The Operation of Your Video-Taping Business
Operationally it will be rather easy to get started. Depending on
your budget you have the choice of buying equipment outright
which can be quite expensive, or you can finance, or rent it. If
you are on a relatively tight budget, or are not quite sure if
you want to pursue this business long term it would be
advantageous to go with the rental option. You will be able to
rent all the basic equipment required for the taping of most any
event, such as as camera, player, color monitor, lights and sound
equipment. You can even rent editing equipment, or you may want
to utilize an editing service in the beginning. A van or station
wagon to lug the equipment round will be very helpful.
Other expenses will be for basic office supplies, telephone and
answering machine, a professional brochure or 2 to 4 page flyer,
business cards, etc.
While specializing in a given area such as social events,
business services, or something else will probably make good
business sense over the long term, it may be advantageous to
pursue all markets during the first year. This will build revenue
quicker and you will be able to determine which market you enjoy
Working social events can be trying. Some knowledge of social
etiquette and how a certain event should be conducted will be
very helpful. Even more, be sure you know who is truly in charge
of the event. Each event will have is own little idiosyncrasies
depending on the participants. It may be that a given relative
should be taped more than someone else. Whoever calls the shots
will be able to direct you.
Surely this business is ideal to be started from your home. As
your business grows a design a design studio can be rented. Once
you have the basic equipment in place, most of your revenue will
go to the bottom line, unless you are renting equipment. It is
therefore often possible to generate a profit relatively quickly.
While it may be necessary to grant credit to established
businesses and organizations,it is not recommended that you grant
credit for social events. To do so is not commonly done even by
hotels and restaurants and is generally considered quite a risky
Books & Publications: An excellent book is: « How to Capitalize on
the Video Revolution », Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, NY
Videography Magazine, 50 West 23rd St.,New York, NY 10011
Broadcast Week, Box 5727, 2500 Curtis St.,S-200, Denver, CO 80205
Organizations: Women in Film & Video, 27 West 20th St.,New York,
Film councils can be found in most larger cities.
For additional information helpful in setting up your new
business, information about licenses, permits, the legal
structure of your business, taxes, insurance and much more refer
to the Business Start-Up Fact Finder Manual.