Freelancers Vs. Video Editing Companies - Which Is Better for Outsourcing Video Editing?
Outsourcing video editing is a great way to save time and streamline your content production process. But who should you hand your editing work off to? Freelancers? Or video editing companies?
There are several common ways to hire a video editor, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Which is the best fit in your particular case? What does it depend on?
To help you decide, here are 5 central questions you need anwered: speed, availability, quality, customer service, and cost.
Speed: What's the turnaround time?
First off, turnaround time is a major distinguishing point between freelancers and video editing companies.
Freelancers are usually one-person shows. This means that editing speed will depend heavily on how professionally and efficiently that person works.
On top of that, though, freelancers also manage their own projects, juggle files transfers, acquire customers, and talk to clients. This limits the time they can spend actually editing your videos.
Video editing companies, on the other hand, usually have several editors on staff, as well as a separate team dealing with administrative matters. They typically also shell out for better hardware and specialized fast file transfer services. As a result, they often guarantee consistent, fast turnaround times.
Availability: How flexible are the editors?
Next, if you’re outsourcing your video editing long-term, you’ll want your editor’s availability to match your content creation schedule.
Freelancer have limited availability because they can handle only so many jobs at the same time. They’ll also take days off, or even get sick. A different time zone can make scheduling difficult, too – although this could be handy if you need work done overnight.
One way of making sure a freelance video editor stays available for your projects, though, is to pay them a retainer.
In contrast, video editing companies are usually more consistently available thanks to their team of editors. Of course, even an editing company can have a lot on their plate. In that case, however, they can simply hire more editors. That means you as a customer probably won’t even notice.
Quality: How good are the edits?
When it comes to editing quality, there are certainly amazing freelance video editors out there. Plus, they could even be specialists in your niche and platform – as YouTube video editors, for instance.
However, finding those people can be a major challenge. You will probably have to advertise on several job boards, get personal recommendations from your network, or comb through LinkedIn to find suitable candidates. Essentially, you’ll need to go where the pros themselves look for video editing jobs.
On the other hand, video editing companies have already selected their editors. You can therefore expect a solid standard of editing competence. Many of them also serve specific niches, such as real estate video editing, travel video, or weddings.
However, you will have to vet the companies themselves to make sure that they offer quality video editing services.
For both solo editors and companies, niche and video type matter: A business that does fantastically on corporate ads isn’t automatically good at editing your next YouTube short.
Customer Service: How well do you work together?
If you’re planning to work together with someone long-term, it’s crucial that they’re not just good at what they do, but also at how they do it. In short, that they’re good to work with, and handle your requests efficiently.
In the freelance world, this is down to the individual. There are eager-to-please freelancers who respond to your requests almost instantly, but also those who grudgingly reply days later. Freelance platforms often try to encourage interaction, but that only goes so far.
When we went to review an Upwork freelance video editor, for example, the platform prodded them as the deadline for the first draft whooshed by. (Want to see how that went? Check out our Upwork experience!)
On the upside, though, you know that it’s always the same person handling your projects. And if you find someone competent, and you click instantly, that can be worth gold!
If you opt for hiring a video editing company, in contrast, you can expect more professional, formal customer service. Most likely, you won’t be talking to the same person all the time, and different editors will handle your projects.
In this case, you usually depend on the company rep to accurately translate your requests to the editors. However, some companies have created tools to let you communicate with the editor on your project directly. This can help both you and them to clarify questions faster.
Cost: How much will you end up paying?
And finally, the big one. How much does it cost to outsource your video editing?
The answer, unfortunately, is: It varies.
Yes, you can find freelance editors working for $15 or less per hour. The quality of work in this price range, though, is often doubtful. On average, you can expect video editors to charge around $42/h for solid services.
In comparison, video editing companies usually offer different editing services, package deals, and subscriptions. A basic jump-cut edit for a YouTube Short might come in at $50, though you’ll rarely find a complete edit for under $150.
If you have a bunch of content to edit all at once – like during the video-a-day tradition of vlogmas on YouTube – then you might be able to take advantage of bulk discounts.
Subscriptions usually give you a set number of videos per month, and range from about $350 to over $2,000. Tip: You can see some examples for all this in our last video editing company roundup.
Generally speaking, video editing company pricing is more predictable, making it easier to budget. That’s because they can average out the time spend editing for their package deals. A freelancer, on the other hand, might need a few more hours than expected on a complex edit, and will charge you accordingly.
Video editing companies are the safer bet.
Overall, a video editing company is the safer choice, especially if you’re outsourcing your editing for the first time, or are just getting started in content creation.
Companies offer consistent availability and editing quality, standard turnover times, professional customer service, and predictable pricing.
However, if you get lucky and find an amazing freelance editor who’s taking on new clients, you might also want to opt for working with them. To ensure they’re available for you, though, consider paying them a retainer.