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How to get an accurate explainer video quote that suits your budget

How to get an accurate explainer video quote that matches your budget.

You'll also learn how to avoid going over budget mid-project.

If getting the price right-first-time matters, then this is for you.

One of the PLAIN ANSWERS series by Producer Kevin Rossiter

  • plain answers


Today, we are going to look at how to get an accurate explainer video quote that suits your budget.



The first thing to know is if you get your quote wrong, you'll end up paying more mid-project when you overrun your budget.
Many clients do this. It's surprisingly common. It could easily be you.
For instance, you can end up with a cheap looking quote, but it's loaded with hidden extras and poor estimates.
So whatever you pay, ensure it isn’t you that pays extra.

There are two pieces of information that you need in advance before you can get an accurate quote from your explainer video producer.

The first piece of information is to know in advance the length or the run-time of your proposed video - how long is it.

The second piece of information you need to know in advance is the visual style of your video.

Run-time and style are the backbone of explainer video costs. Get either of them wrong and you'll pay more.

Here's how to get it right.



Many clients initially get run-time wrong in some way. Typically, they underestimate what they need.
If you underestimate your explainer video by just 30 seconds, then your cost will increase mid-project.

You'll go over-budget.



To solve this, we have the power of word count. Let me show you how. You need to get a word count of your initial draft script. This will enable you to estimate fairly accurately how long your video is going to be.

Anything else is guessing. This is how I do it.



We’ve got to relate word count to runtime. Explainer videos run about 125 words a minute on average.

Say your draft script is 250 words.
Divide by 125.
You get two minutes run-time. It's that simple.

Now, most explainer video companies give quotes nearest 30 seconds. So for our 250 word script, a request for a two-minute video will be about right.

But if you expect a two-minute video from a 325 word script, you're wrong.
You'll end up paying more.

Managers, unfortunately, make this mistake all the time. That's why I made this video.



The runtime calculation you've just learned is obviously based on a draft script, but what if you don't have one?

You need to write one, you have to have a go.

The key thing to remember though is you're not writing a final script. This is not written in stone. It's just an early content draft for estimate purposes.



The majority of explainer videos are animated videos. And the style of animation you choose affects the cost, often significantly.

For example, many clients initially ask for an expensive style, and then get a surprise over the price quoted. I do see this a lot.



How do you specify your animation style?

For practical costing purposes, there are four main animation styles. Although some production companies may say there are 6 styles or 12 styles, for this we'll stick to 4 because that works.

Each animation style that you'll look at is priced differently.

The four main styles are, and there's a video to follow in a second that actually shows you how they look:

Animated infographics which is text, icons, charts and images.

Simple animated characters with few scenes.

Complex animated characters and many scenes

Stock footage and stills with sophisticated animation. Strictly speaking, it's not animation, but it's so sophisticated it is.

Let's watch a one-minute video and see the difference.

Video: Which style suits your package best? The pictures say it all

Continuing specifying your animation style - there's no one best style.

It's what's fit for purpose for you.

A suggestion is:

Choose a style the competitors aren't using - differentiate between you and them

Or do the same thing but better

Or copy a video you already like that you've seen on YouTube.

You can mix and match styles, but you must be very clear about this in your spec.


Here are some price examples.

Consider a 90-second Home Page explainer video that's designed to win immediate engagement. It's the sort of video everyone's got on their Homepage.



An animated infographic style might cost you $4,500 for 90 seconds.

An animated character video might cost you $2,000 more.

A complex animated character style with lots of original characters and scenes might cost you double that.

An animated stock footage style costs around $5,000, which is about 10% more than the basic $4,500 for an infographic. These are very good value, these videos, they're worth looking at. More people should make them.

So how does style affect price? The price is dependent on the time that it takes your video team to make your video.

In other words, it's related to the amount of production hours that you need to buy to get the job done.

And of course, the day rate that they charge.

The simpler, less complex styles are obviously quicker and cheaper, and vice versa.

Need a price?

Marketing Filmed or Animated Video Prices
Training & Safety Video Prices

See actual project costs of our best-selling video products.

Why guess? See what we charge.



Here are some examples:

A low-end producer using Toonly or a similar automated video maker will have low day rates. There's bargains to be had - if it's fit for purpose for what you need.

By contrast, a big name downtown producer might charge double what I've shown earlier. They've got downtown overheads, and they've got expensive, talented, very talented people who don't come cheap working on your video.

On the other hand, a freelancer specializing in the style you like may be perfect. And they could cost you a lot less than what I've shown.

Now, hopefully, you can match visual style to your budget.



You need to calculate your run-time.

For that, you need a draft script and do a word count at 125 words a minute.

Then you’ve got to pick the animation style that suits your budget.

You can now tender for the best quote and day rate. And you'll know that your estimates for run-time and visual style are accurate, so there will be no mid-project tears.


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Now you know how to specify your explainer video and get an accurate quote that suits your budget.

Ok, back to work.


Author Kevin Rossiter has been producing business video for 30 years, won 14 awards, worked in many countries around the World, and is a regular blogger on business video topics.



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