Why I’m Not in Competition with Other Wedding Filmmakers

In this day and age, I still get a few couples telling me that someone else offers lower rates for their wedding video and films or someone else offering something different than me and that I should match what they’re doing.

And that’s fine, ..…I don’t care what others are offering and doing.

Wait, you don’t care Josh? Are you crazy?

Well no I’m not crazy and today I want to explain why I’m not competing against some of the other wedding filmmakers herein the region of Roanoke and SWVA.

Different Mindset

Every full-time wedding professional tries to make a living at what they do, no matter what part of the industry that you’re currently in, be it video like me, wedding venues, dresses, rings, flowers, wedding cake, etc.

Every person that you meet is trying to maximize their sells through various tactics, through packages, front end or back end sales or after though sales, but not me.

You see, as I got back into the wedding video business after being out of it for a couple of years, I learned something valuable, I don’t need to charge an arm and a leg for my services like I once did and I’m not filming to make a living at it, this time, I’m doing it part-time and for fun.

My competition is trying to make it in this business, me, I’ve already done that. My mindset is one of being able to have fun while I film and provide couples with an amazing experience at a fair price.

Think of it this way, I have a full-time job now at Roanoke College. I don’t need to charge $2,000-$4,000 a wedding film. I no longer have employees, I don’t have a studio in Roanoke anymore, I don’t have huge amounts of overhead like I once, did.

I’m also not taking on lots of work either, my max number of clients is 15.

After that, I turn people away and I actually help my competition by providing them the leads that I get.

Stacking That Paper

Here’s something to think about. I’m only working with 15 couples a year and my average price for my services is about $1,400. That’s about $20,000 a year give or take.  I’ll take about half of that for the business in purchasing new gear, advertising and some other expenses. The rest is what I make.

My gear is fully paid for and what little overhead I have is paid off each month.

Those that are starting out in the business will find out after a few years of doing video production how hard it is and how little we actually make at the end of the day too.

Take a competitor of mine for example, I won’t use real names here.  They’re trying to make it full-time and they are wanting to take on as many high paying gigs as they can in order to make it each year.

Say they take on 20 weddings at $3,000 each average cost. That’s $60,000 annually which is awesome, stacking that paper.

But then you have the overhead.

You have a couple of part-time employees, massive amounts in gear and replacing broken gear, high end computer systems with redundant hard drives,  office space, insurance, power and internet, taking clients out to coffee or dinner, couple of trade shows, social media advertising and a magazine or two, everything starts to add up.  My first few years of filming weddings as an owner I took in more than $60,000 but made less than $20,000 a year after all my expenses were taken care of, it was kind of embarrassing actually.

Here’s my point. My competition NEEDS to book you in order to stay afloat. I WANT to work with you and I do it for fun. That’s a HUGE difference and it comes across in my experience and my films too.

The Long Term Model

One of the things that I’ve learned over my years of being in the wedding business is that most people get out of it after about 3-5 years of being in it. Why is that?

Well, it’s simple really, they are not making any money at what they’re doing.

After a couple years of breaking even, people start to realize that you can’t really large sum of money at filming weddings. I mean you can, IF you know how to run a business.  Studies from WEVA, the Wedding & Event Videographer’s Association have done studies where nearly 70% of wedding videographers will not be in business in 5 years and of those left, only 3% will be standing after 15 years.

Staying in Wedding Film Business

It’s a hard job and it can be extremely rewarding, but people just don’t know how to make money at what they’re doing.

Another factor is the technology, things are getting smaller and more affordable for people wanting to get into the business. 20 years ago, you couldn’t touch a pro camera for $8,000, today you can score a modest mirror-less camera system for $1,500. I’m also starting to see wedding photographers dabble in wedding video to a point, but many are giving up on that after a couple seasons because there is far more work involved and we’re typically paid less than wedding photographers.

As people get into the field more and more, the overall cost of what you can get for a wedding goes down, it’s simple supply and demand. Those that offer $400 wedding films don’t last long at all in the business and find themselves in deeper financial debt than they did when they got into it.

If you treat your business as a business first and then your abilities second, you’ll make it in the industry long term and you’ll have great success and grow accordingly.

I’m More Selective

Since I’m doing this on a limited client basis and I don’t really need the cash-flow to pay my bills, I can be more selective on whom I want to work with and what I want to charge. I sat down with a former client just recently and he was a bit skeptical over why he was only charged $1,800 for his wedding film instead of $3,000 like some of the others.

Well, again, I film for fun today, not because I need your money. There is a HUGE difference in that. Now let me also tell you that when I was operating full-time under my “Weddings In Roanoke” brand, yes, I needed every penny I could get.

Today, I build great relationships with the clients and I have a no sales pressure attitude too. Hey, you want to spend $1,000 with me, cool. You want my full-blown Luxury Collection at $2,300, nice.  You want a no-frills wedding video of just the ceremony for $500, hey, happy to do it.

And if you meet with me and choose someone else for a wedding film, hey more power to you! I know that there is only one of me and clients that hire me value me for not just my quality, but my honesty, my love for filming and my knowledge about the wedding business.

If you leave the article today with just one thing it’s this:

I want you to hire a wedding videographer, it could be me, it could be my competition, that doesn’t matter to me, what matters to me is you being able to relive your wedding day on a professional video or film and not regretting it like 97% of the couples that skipped a wedding video altogether at their first anniversary.

Couples of all walks of life seek me out and if I can offer a great quality video/film at a fair price, then I’m happy to do it.  For me, it’s not about getting as much work or as much money as I can, for me today, it’s about having fun and providing couples with great content they’re pleased with.