Choose an Explainer Video Production Company or Agency [How-To Guide]

For a convincing and engaging result, you must choose an explainer video production company or agency carefully and strategically.

For most businesses, budget is the main factor affecting your choice.

Animated explainer video production companies may charge roughly $1000-2500 per minute of video, or $8K-15K per project, depending on how hands-on they are. You will get a quote from your partner when scoping out the project.

How much time an energy you have to manage the explainer video production process is another important factor.

If you have a vision and prefer a hands-on approach, having a lot of back and forth with a production company or a freelancer may be what you’re looking for. If you need an explainer video quickly and want to rely on your production agency’s expertise to guide the process, keep that in mind when looking at partners too.

At the end of the process, the explainer video has to be good enough to engage your audience and produce the result you’re looking for in terms of sales, leads, and interest in what you are offering.

Explainer Video Production Methods

There are three methods of video production that have the biggest impact on your costs and the amount time you will need to invest in the the explainer video production process. They are:

  1. Using a freelancer
  2. Building off of a template
  3. Creating a fully customized video from scratch

Each of the above methods has its merits and downsides.

Hiring a Freelancer to Produce Your Animated Explainer Video

Explainer video digital animation production

Typically the least expensive way to get an explainer video produced is to hire a freelance animator to do the entire video for you. In this process, you go to a website like upwork.com or freelancer.com, find an animator, and work with them to produce your video.

Instead of charging by the minute for video production, on most platforms freelance explainer video producers charge by the hour, ranging from $15/hour to $80/hour, with most freelancers falling in around $30/hour. If you’re doing math in your head right now, you’re right, $30/hour versus $1500/minute sounds like a steal. If they can make a great video in less than 50 hours, there is money to be saved.

That money comes with a few tradeoffs. The first is that this isn’t a professional operation overseeing the process. There aren’t writers, animators, storyboard artists, art directors, voice talent, and account managers. There is just this one person who is probably in a different country and time zone than you are. The consequence here is that you are very reliant on this person to understand your needs and execute well. They don’t have any help to guide them other than you.

You can also hire a freelance team to cover more of these areas of expertise, but project managing that team can quickly become a nightmare.

The freelance option for explainer video production is good for startups on a shoestring budget, or for areas where you are experimenting and trying to prove out an idea.

Explainer Video Production Companies That Use Templates

choose an explainer video production company with a great team

Many affordable explainer video production companies have a library of templates that they modify and re-use in order to quickly and inexpensively put together explainer videos.

It’s important to ask if the company you are thinking about hiring uses templates. There are benefits and drawbacks to this method. Of course, a template is a tried and true framework, and if you’ve read our advice on using frameworks for scriptwriting, you know there are upsides there.

An animated explainer video is a story, after all. Good storytelling requires an arc, so why not use a template that has that arc predefined?

The problem with choosing an explainer video production company that uses a templated approach is that they may not have a template that works well for your specific business or explainer video needs. The more specialized or unique your company is, the harder it may be to bend a template to work for you.

The template approach is a great way to balance budget with the benefits of working with a production company, just keep in mind what you’re trading off if you go this route.

Going the Custom Route When You Choose an Explainer Video Production Company

video producers at work

The highest cost, highest quality choice for video production is getting a fully customized video. Good production companies will work with you to understand your unique value proposition, storyboard out a video that highlights exactly the right information, and animate the video with assets specific to your company.

You may consider this method if you’re not great with storytelling. You might also go this route if you want your animated explainer video to really shine.

How to Evaluate Your Video Production Partner

evaluating a video production partner

There are a lot of agencies and production companies out there that can make your explainer video. How can you choose between them?

The simplest way to see the quality of their work is to view some sample videos that they have made for other clients. Watch some of these examples and ask yourself:

  • Are there a variety of visual styles? This is usually an indicator of a very creative/custom shop
  • Is the story memorable? A few minutes after watching the video you should be able to remember what the business does
  • Do you know what the target customer is for this product? A good explainer video quickly shows you if you are a potential customer
  • Are there any red flags? Did you spot anything strange in the video, like too much information on the screen but with not enough screen time to read it? Were there any weird jumps or problems with the audio? These usually indicate quick production or shoddy craftsmanship

Keep in mind that example animated explainer videos that production companies provide are likely to be their best work. Even if they are great, calibrate your expectations.

If you’re ready to start looking, we compiled a list of over 80 of the top explainer video production companies to help with your search.