One and two-person video aping services around the country are
reporting gross earnings of $50,000 to $100,000 per year. One
operation we looked into, reported an income figure of $80,000
during the preceeding 12-month period. They were accepting taping
jobs from all quarters and keeping 4-hired teams busy.
Marketing imagination, organization, and attention to detail are
the keys to success in operating this business. Ideas and request
for a new things or events to tape and preserve for later
playback/viewing, are coming in faster than one can list. Then,
there are so many things to remember and minor details to take
care of, that the only way to operate successfully is with a
series of checklists..for the person selling the service as well
as the man or woman on the recording camera.
But don't let mentioning of details to remember, scare you off.
On the contrary, you'll find video equipment easy and inexpensive
to practice on, especially when compared to attaining a
comparable degree of expertise with film. You can use the same
tape over and over again, and this is definitely a business where
the phrase "practice leads to perfection," applies without
qualifications or reservations.
To start a video taping service,You'll need a video "porta-pack"
recorder, and at least a half dozen tapes. Check around in your
area. Start by "reading up" on all the available equipment used
for video taping. A trip to your public library and few hours
browsing thru the periodicals on video equipment should give you
added interest and a basic indoctrination. Next, check out the
suppliers listed in the yellow pages of your telephone directory.
A few phone calls to those places listed, plus a few in-person
visits, should supply you with enough catalogs and "idea
material" to keep you plenty busy for a week or more. These
elementary learning steps are necessary as the foundation of your
You should be able to buy a good quality video porta-pak recorder
for about $850, with blank tapes for $20 or less. When you buy,
always dicker with the dealer--explaining to him that you're in
the process of establishing a video taping service, and if he
will include a supply of tapes with the recorder, or at least
give you an especially good price on them, you'll probably buy
all your tapes from him. It may not be your regular way of buying
things, but when you're starting a business, every dollar counts,
so always shop around for the best prices.
Once you have your video recorder, take it home and start
practicing with it. Think of yourself as being on a job for a
homeowner or an insurance company, taking a photographic
inventory of the house and/or the occupant's possessions.
Practice by making a tape record of your own household
furnishings. Make a tape, then play it back and critique your
work. Then do it again, and again, until you have a tape you can
use in sales presentations to homeowners and insurance companies.
Video tape recordings of this kind are becoming extremely popular
with homeowners and insurance companies alike.
Then, look thru your weekend newspaper and make a note of the
girls announcing wedding dates. Open your telephone directory and
call these girls on the phone. Ask them if they'd mind if you
came to their wedding and make a video tape of it, without any
obligation to them of course.
So you go to the wedding, introduce yourself and practice making
a video tape of the wedding ceremony. Take the tape home and
critique it. Keep this up until you have a tape you're
reasonably proud of, and then call the bride. Ask to come over
and let her see the tape. Explain to her that you're just getting
started in the business, and you simply want her comments and
suggestions. Chances are, when she sees the tape, she'll want to
While you're in this learning phase of your new business, visit
an apartment building and arrange with the manager to make a
video tape of her showing the apartment to you as a a potential
renter. Contact, a couple of property management and real estate
firms, and do the same thing with condominiums and houses for
You might want to listen in on the police radio frequency, and
make tapes of auto accidents, particularly those involving
injuries. Another idea might be the taping of golfers practicing
at the local driving ranges. Other ideas include any kind of
sports practice session, birthday parties, special anniversaries,
baptisms, bar mitsvah's, publicity stories, sales presentations,
and "fireside chats" by company presidents or general managers.
These are just a few idea suggestions you might want to pursue.
You may find a certain kind of video tapping assignment
especially enjoyable and want to specialize in that area. Or you
may want to leave the door open for any kind of assignment and
handle each as the opportunity presents itself.
Whatever you decide, there are a few "sure success" points to
keep in mind as you begin to sell your services. Remember, the
idea of having a video cassette system in one's home, is gaining
in popularity every day. There area already some two-million
videocassette recorders in American Homes, with an estimated
100,000 being sold to new customers every month. Further
estimates indicate that by 1990, at least one half of all U.S.
households will own either a videocassette recorder or a
videodisc player. All this means your market is growing and is
expected to continue growing thru the end of this decade.
Virtually everyone would like to see himself as a star in home
movie. Thus, when you show him a video tape of himself in the
starring role, he'll either buy the tape on the spot or want you
to make a similar tape for him. Regardless of false modesty,
everyone likes to show pictures of himself, and explain to his
friends the different highlights of his or her life. With this
understanding about your prospect in mind when you make a sales
presentation, your closing rate should be quite close to 100
The best way to sell your services is to run a regular ad in your
area newspaper. Such an ad might be similar to this one:
VIDEO TAPPING SERVICES
Whatever your idea or assignment, we can
handle it for you! No job too large or
too small! We're experts at taping weddings,
anniversaries, birthdays parties and other
special occasions. Commercial assignments
also welcomed. Your satisfaction is guaranteed,
so give us a call---123-4567,right now!
When you receive calls in response to this ad, your objective
will be two-fold: Find out what kind of taping job they have in
mind, and set up an appointment to show them an example of the
kinds of tapes you can produce for them. Show them an example of
your work. Once you've met with them, and shown them a
demonstration tape, you should have the sale in your pocket.
Never meet with a prospect in a selling situation without some
sort of demonstration tape to show him. Try to match the tape you
show them, as closely to their wants and needs as possible.
Wedding tapes you have made for prospective wedding clients, and
shots of golf practice or instruction to golfing prospects.
Besides an ad in the newspaper, and the yellow pages of your
telephone directory, make copies of the ad and get it up on the
bulletin boards in your market area. Send news and publicity
releases to all the media in your area, definitely whenever
you've got an unusual or special kind of assignment.
Have some impressive business cards printed, and hand them out to
whomever, and as often as you can. The slogan on your business
card might read: Have Video Tape Recorder,Available for ANY kind
of assignment--You name it and I'll tape it...
Radio and/or television advertising will probably be more
expensive than the resulting job assignments will sustain, so be
very cautious when considering this type of advertising. However,
it will very definitely be advantageous for you to pursue guest
interviews on just about any kind of broadcast talk show. Talk
show appearances and free write-ups about your business in your
local newspapers are promotional angles to reach for at every
opportunity. Always be on the lookout for promotional ideas and
gimmicks that will result in area -wide publicity for your
The bottom line is simply this: Don't be adverse to creating a
story or set of circumstances if it results in a talk show
appearance or newspaper write-up for you.
How much should you charge for your services? Basically, the
going rate in most large metropolitan area is about $50 per hour
you spend on the assignment. Thus, you're going to have to learn
to estimate pretty accurately just how long each job is going to
take you to produce a quality recording. It's always a good idea
to check out what other video taping services in your area, or in
a comparably sized city in your neighboring states are charging.
Newsletters and trade publications serving businesses of this
type are available, however we don't know of any that have
attained national prominence as of the date of this report. Check
with your equipment supplier on any that he might know of...
Success with a business of this kind does not require an office
set-up or any special education or training. You can start it on
a part-time basis from your home, and parlay it into a full-time,
very high profit profession. The prestige this business will
afford you is similar to that of a doctor.
Starting with a young couple's wedding, if you follow up on each
sale properly, you'll probably end up making tapes for the
birthdays of each of their children, school graduations,
anniversaries, more birthdays, family histories, last wills &
testaments, and into a whole new cycle with each generation.
You will need imagination, an affinity for people and selling
moxie. Imagination is important because in many instances, you'll
have to suggest an idea for your taping services. Although just
about everybody would like to have a taped record of some event
or part of their life to pass along to future generations of
their family, most will not be able to decide what to tape until
you suggest something to them. You'll also find that almost no
one is aware of even half your capabilities until you make
Taking pictures of people requires an ability to get along well
with people--get them to relax, and immediately feel comfortable
in your presence. You've got to be persuasive while exercising a
great deal of tact and diplomacy. Make friends easily and
quickly. Be aware of, and understanding of wants, desires and
Actually, selling and getting along with people, are almost
synonymous. Life is and on-going program of selling yourself to
achieve your own wants and ambitions. Read a few good books on
the art of selling, such as: HOW TO SELL YOURSELF by Steve
Girard; and HOW TO SELL ANYTHING TO ANYBODY by Tom Hopkins.
remember, selling is really just a matter of recognizing
someone's needs and then satisfying those needs with a product or
Your customer will automatically accept it as fact, that you have
the professional knowledge and equipment to fulfill their needs.
All you have to do is reassure them, listen to their reasons for
these needs, and in closing the sale, become a good friend to
And that's it-- the plan can enable you to get started with your
own Video Taping Service. By following our suggestions, and with
a bit of energy as well as persistence, you should be able to
begin with very little start-up investment and quickly begin to
realize the fruits of your own profitable business.
If you have any questions, or run into special problems feel free
to call me or drop me a line. Having laid it all out for you, the
rest is up to you---Your future is in your own hands...