Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. You want to make sure you only pay for what you need. We try to steer clear of "package deals" because, quite frankly, everyone's need is different. We like to spend time getting to know our clients and their specific needs, and build a custom service plan that provides them with everything, and ONLY, what they need. Even if you don't use us, this principle should be relied on heavily - that's how much we believe in this practice. You shouldn't have to pay for something you won't use. Always ask exactly what your money is going towards, and make sure it's worth what you're spending on it. This way, when you compare different creative companies, you can compare apples to apples. In the same way you compare car insurance plans, creative services should be done in the same manner.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. In the creative industry (film, photography, graphic and web design, etc.), the sky is really the limit. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that although a good creative designer should be able to fulfill your hopes and dreams, it's not always as easy as it may appear, and will often require more time and resources than you might imagine. I personally like to make sure my clients know exactly the amount time and effort that goes into completing their project so that they could rest assured that their time and money is well spent.
Another industry hint: The same way a handcrafted wooden rocking chair will compare with a mass produced nice chair at a local department store, the same standard holds when comparing creative companies who offer what appears to be the same product. Some creative companies offer those similar services very cheap, but keep in mind, they are typically cookie-cutter and not one of a kind, and the degree of quality may be very different. 99% of the time, you will get what you pay for.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. A well prepared customer would ask questions concerning the experience of the company in providing a service specific to what they are needing. For example, if you are wanting a promotional video of your son's soccer game, and you go to a creative service that say they specialize in sporting events, make sure they've filmed soccer games, and not just other sports like basketball or football. There is a special skill to every type of film, and you want someone who will be able to handle the type of product you want in a professional manner.
You should also ask the type of equipment used (both hardware and software) and the quality of that equipment. Even if you don't know much about it, you can generally tell if someone is being genuine or not about the quality of the product they are even capable of providing. For example, if a company says they provide high quality video work, but they are still filming with a standard definition camera, then as far as industry standards go, they are not providing you with a high quality product. This, however, isn't to say that their work won't turn out well or that they are inexperienced, but just know it's not going to look like a Blu-Ray movie.
Lastly, you should always be aware of the estimated turn around time of a project. I can tell you that quite often, a project may take longer for various reasons, but a good creative professional will explain the potential time delays if those situations arise, and they would keep you in the loop on the project's progress and not leave you guessing.