Do you need an office? This is a question that comes up time and time again when people are looking to transition into owning a video production company
Maybe you’ve seen videos on YouTube where people are running video production companies from large, plush, Facebook-like offices in downtown LA. Maybe it’s always been a dream for you to have a team around you working in a quirky little office with everything you need right there?
But do you really need an office?
This article will explore what you need in an office, how to work in an office as a team, and other topics. It also seeks to answer the important question of whether you even need an office away from home.
Your home office, or that kitchen table, might really be all you need. Especially when you’re running a video production company, out and about filming all the time.
What type of work situation do you need for your video production company?
With the advent of keeping a home office, and the need to be on the go constantly, many people like to be more mobile when it comes to setting up a work space. Working in the video or film industry is no exception.
Let me help you with some pointers that you may want to think about when considering how to work, and if setting up an office is a good idea for your production company.
Let’s be practical here. Do you have enough money to set up a permanent location?
This means, do you have regular income to support a fixed rent, as well as utilities that will be due every month?
If you are working on regular projects, this is good, as you will have a regular inflow of income. But, if not, do you at least have an adequate amount set aside to pay the rent on an office? If you don’t have regular video production clients, do you have another source of income that could cover this?
As a startup, it may be easier to save on your resources, and work at home or in a cafe, until you are able to confidently say that you are more flexible with the income you get.
Another option to be looking at, are co-working spaces. They usually come out to be cheaper than renting your own work space, but it may mean potentially compromising on space. This may also be a bit challenging if you are unsure if your production company will expand quickly.
2. Team Permanence
Many video companies starting out, usually hire freelance people to work on a per project basis. This works especially if the money isn’t rolling in so freely.
In line with the first point, you may want to keep overhead low, and having a temporary pool of people may also decrease the need of having an office.
If you also have remote based workers/freelancers who all have their individual spaces that they are comfortable with working in (such as coffee shops, kitchen tables, etc), perhaps it wouldn’t be necessary to have everyone in one location all together all the time, anyway.
It really depends on the kind of company you’re running, as well as the kind of company you want to be running in the future.
Productivity can also be improved with less distractions this way, and less time to commute, allowing for more work time to happen.
3. The Collaboration Effect
Do you have people who regularly collaborate with you? Are they as committed to generating a high quality output as you?
Do you completely trust the people you are working with, to make sure they will also be able to produce within the time frame you ask them to?
Some people are able to work independently. And that’s great. But some people need someone to look over their shoulder once in a while, to make sure that they are able to stay on track.
Having a production company office would let you be able to check up easily on what everyone is doing. Many times it also works as a great means for collaboration, since talking face-to-face is the best for sharing ideas, without much intervention in between.
You can only really get so much from emails, calls and virtual conferences. Being in a physical space together can help get things done.
But, sometimes that quirky little coffee shop down the road can also have the same effect. And, you know what, it’s a lot cheaper, too. You buy a drink every hour to keep the staff happy and you have free Wi-Fi all day long.
With your company and particular circumstances, it may not be necessary to meet every day. You could have meetings once a week, rather than everyday. Or a couple of times per project.
It may turn out to be more cost-effective to just pay for coffee, than for an office.
But I don’t mean to scare you away from investing in an office. Let’s look at some other pointers:
4. Flexibility of shoot locations
Do you have regular (or semi-regular) work with a client or two, that are based near each other, and expect regular work from you?
If so, it may be good to set up an office in a location that is also quite close to where they are, so that regular meetings are easy. If they are looking to have regular sit-downs with you, then having an office with a conference room may also have plus points.
Do you shoot a lot of product video? This kind of work is perfect for a studio. You create the perfect studio and the clients bring their products to you to be filmed.
Having a space with a built-in studio, and having your production company work on the shoot and do post-production nearby, may be helpful. Having a more permanent location may be the way to go, especially if there is a quick turnaround time for these shoots.
But, again, this is all dependent on the kind of monetary resources you have.
If, however, you’re part of a team that is always on the go, going to Europe one week and then Asia the next, then perhaps setting up a temporary work place may be better. Or just no traditional office environment at all, as you’re on the go most of the time anyway.
5. Security of assets
When I say assets, I mean all the video production equipment you have, including post-production equipment.
Laptops to work on, also costs thousands of dollars, and most production studios have multiple computers. Sometimes more permanent work stations are necessary just for the kind of power for processing post production work, not to mention the power needed for rendering.
You want all of these assets secured in a location that gives you peace of mind as to the relative security of the place you’re leaving them.
Speaking of security.
It’s massive priority when you consider getting an office for your production company. Any office locations that you hear about, look into the area and its crime rate. That super cheap office might just be cheap for a reason!
6. Speed and efficiency
Considering that video files need to be transferred from one place to another, like from the director to the video editor, to sound editor, to the client for reviews and edits, and so on.
We know that film files don’t come in small packages. They are large files taking up lots of hard drive space and this can definitely slow down workflow if you’re in an area with terrible internet service.
You want an office in an area with great internet coverage. You certainly don’t want to wait 10 hours to upload a 3 minute clip to Vimeo. Or have to go to someone’s house to upload the footage because, “The office internet is down again!”
Yeah, I speak from experience.
It may help with gaining more traction for your company if you have an address in a location that is reputable.
Do you want to be the person saying, “Please deliver it to the broom closet at that address”?
As a production company trying to gain more traction in the industry, having an official location that is nicely set up, with a secretary at the front door, may increase the value and interest in working with you.
This can also boost brand appeal and reputation. As does a “known” address in the posh part of town.
Again, however, if the kind of film production you do does not need some constant reassurance to your clientele that you are a reputable company, then you can eliminate this section.
Likewise, if no one ever needs to visit your office (if you’re making wedding films, for instance), then you probably don’t need to worry about this. Just meet with clients in cool cafes and bars.
With people outsourcing their work to other places anyway, sometimes having an office with just a staff of two people who collaborate together frequently, you may not need to think about having a brick-and-mortar kind of establishment.
Perhaps, a co-working space may be more ideal for that matter. A co-working space also has an address or mailbox that you can have your mail sent to. A bit of prestige without the expensive price tag.
In Conclusion – Do you need an office or not?
Overall, I don’t think there is one good answer to the question of whether you need an office or not. It really depends on the overall profile of your production company.
I hope the list I provided helps with helping you decide whether you want to have a home office, rent a location, sign up in a co-working space or simply work in a coffee shop. Perhaps, just going from hotel room to hotel room will work, too.
It really depends on your own individual circumstances and situation.
The truth is, some people dream of having their own office for their company. And they have since day one, long before they even got their first client. The problem is that sometimes they put that ahead of all logic and end up spending a small fortune on office space before they even have enough clients to keep the business going.
Don’t be one of those people who goes bankrupt before they even start because they spent all their savings on office space and employees that they don’t even need!
I hope you’ve found this article helpful. Do you have an office? Let us know in the comments below.