You can have rockstar content, but if your video editing is crap… you lose viewers.
If you don’t want to spend your time editing videos, the good news is you can always hire a pro to do it for you. But it can be challenging to understand what it’s going to cost you and how it all works.
So how much is video editing anyways?
Turns out, it’s not such a straightforward question. There are a lot of factors at play that affect the cost of your projects. A few of the big ones are:
- Length of your finished video
- Complexity and length of your raw footage
- Level of skill required from your video editor
At the end of the day, it mostly comes down to time. How long do your projects take to edit? Expect a wide range of video editing rates, ranging from $20-$150+ per hour. It depends on your project details and your chosen editor’s experience.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through what affects your project time and complexity, and how much video editing is going to cost you. We also examine your options to hire a video editor so you can get it right the first time.
Ready? Let’s go!
How Much Is Video Editing? The Factors That Matter
Several factors affect the price you pay for video editing. Here are the main ones to consider before you go shopping for editors.
How Long And Complex Is Your Raw Video Footage?
Your video editor is going to watch every single clip you send their way, at least once… before they even start to edit.
- So how many clips are you sending?
- How many different camera angles do you have?
- And how long is the total run time?
Also important – is your footage high-quality? If not, it’s ok. Your video editor can touch it up for you. They can correct colors, balance your audio, and even stabilize shaky footage. It’s just going to take extra time.
What’s The Target Length Of Your Finished Video?
A good rule of thumb you can use is that an average editing job should take about one hour of editing time for every minute of a finished video. So if your project is to create a 10-minute explainer video for YouTube, you can estimate the editing job to take 10 hours.
How Complex Of An Edit Do You Want?
Having said that, this is just a starting point for a rough estimation.
Do you make simple talking head videos (like a vlog)? Edits with few effects, cuts, or transitions are easier. They may only take 30 minutes of edits per minute of the final video.
More complex edits with multiple camera angles, action sequences, slow motion sequences, lots of cuts and transitions, animations, voiceovers, and text overlays are naturally going to take a lot longer. The more b-roll or stock footage you want to include also makes a difference.
Do you already have channel assets like intro and outro sequences? If you do, that saves time. If not, your editor can create them for you. They can also add subtitles, create thumbnails, and structure your video into chapters and key moments. Depending on your editor and agreement, these extras may come with added cost.
How Many Revisions Can You Request?
It’s normal for your video editor to complete a first draft and fire it back to you for feedback and approval. How many rounds of revisions you agree to can impact the project length and how much it ends up costing.
Your Video Editor’s Experience Level
You can find beginners at a much lower video editor rate. You might even find a new YouTube video editor who works for free in exchange for reviews. But ask yourself, do you really want to be their first customer?
If not, you should expect to pay significantly more for an experienced editor.
Rate structures are also different for freelance video editors compared to video editing companies.
Now that you have an idea of some of the factors that influence project cost, let’s look at some average prices.
Average Hourly Rates For Video Editing
You can use the following estimates as an hourly rate guide by experience level.
- Beginner – $20-$40/hr
- Intermediate – $40-$70/hr
- Expert – $70-$150+/hr
You can expect to pay around $50/hr for decent YouTube editing. If you want your videos to really stand out with advanced post-production work and storytelling, then expect to pay more for an expert video editor.
Fixed Price Per Project Rates
Fixed pricing helps because you know upfront how much a job is going to cost. However, fixed fee prices vary WILDLY.
You can probably find someone from a less developed country offering $20-$30 to edit your one-minute video. An average rate for the same one-minute video is likely closer to $100-$250. And you can easily find agencies charging $1000+ depending on the type of content you create.
Wedding videos cost more, as do ads, promotions, and corporate videos.
Average Cost For Video Editing Services (Fixed Monthly Fee)
The most common arrangement is to get fixed-fee monthly video editing. With this arrangement, you know ahead of time how much your bill is each month.
You are going to see a wide range of editing rates here, also. Expect to pay anywhere from \$400-\$2500+ per monthdepending on the type of content you produce and the service level you desire.
Be aware many of the lowest-cost providers exclude some popular editing options from their monthly package and charge an additional fee for them. If you aren’t sure about something, ask them before you sign up!
Your Options – Who To Hire?
Ok, are you still with us? It’s a lot to process, and unfortunately… there isn’t one right answer to how much video editing costs. There are simply too many variables in projects, and providers charge whatever they can convince buyers is a fair trade.
You’re going to have to do your homework on this one. It really pays to shop around. Once that is done, the next item to tackle is who you want to work with.
Pro tip: We recommend you form a long-term partnership with your video editor. Your editor becomes your #2, helping you to produce great content with a consistent look and feel. The longer you work together, the easier your workflow becomes and the less you need to think about editing. Eventually, you barely need to talk to them as they get it. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is!
Your 2 Main Choices
Your first choice? You can do it all yourself. Or you could hire a full-time employee (the average YouTube editor salary is $58,000/year). We assume you want another solution.
That leaves 2 main choices for you to consider:
- Hire a freelance video editor
- Work with a pro video editing service
Let’s briefly examine both.
Find A Good Freelancer
Sites like Upwork and Fiverr are good places to start. You can find a wide range of price points, skill sets, and experience levels. The hard part is picking who to work with. Anyone can put a profile up and call themself a video editor, and price themself at any rate they decide.
Pros: Flexible, on-demand help. Pay for only what you need. Access to a wide range of skill levels and prices.
Cons: You have to hire, train, and manage a freelancer. They have other clients and may not be consistently available when you need them. Your cost per hour or job is more expensive than working with an agency on a flat monthly fee.
Do you have questions about how to hire a video editor? Check out our guide for tips to help you do it right the first time.
Team Up With A YouTube Video Editing Service
If you want a long-term relationship with a reliable and consistent editor, then a video editing service or agency might be your best bet. You get a dedicated editor assigned to your brand, with a team of experienced editors behind them who can fill in if they need a day off.
Video editing services have extensive experience and are up to date with the latest trends. They work with a variety of YouTube creators and brands.
Pros: You get an expert dedicated to your brand. Your cheapest option for ongoing work. Extremely fast turnarounds, usually 24-48 hours for simple jobs. Get unlimited revisions until you’re happy.
Cons: You don’t get to hire an editor directly. Less flexible as you are buying a packaged service.
Want to learn more about video editing services? Check out these helpful articles:
Tips To Help You Save Money
Regardless of who you choose to work with, there are some simple things you can do to lower your bill. What do they all have in common? They save your editor time.
One of the most fixable time drains for editors is getting a big pile of unorganized raw footage along with unclear instructions for how to proceed.
You can save hard cash by pre-sorting your own footage and labeling clips logically. Trim off any footage you know isn’t useful, cut your footage into component shots, and label them clearly.
The more detailed and clear you are with the instructions you give your editor, the less time they spend wondering what to do and can get to it. If you can give instructions with time stamps, even better!
On top of that, you can also:
- Use pre-existing templates for intros, lower thirds, thumbnails, and outros to reduce design time (especially if you often work with new freelancers)
- Record footage in high quality to reduce the time required for color correction, grading, and stabilization
- Use or request royalty-free music and footage to avoid licensing fees
Optional… But Worth It
You don’t have to do any of this. But if you want to maximize the value of your editor’s time, and keep your costs down, this is the way.
Pro Tip: This also helps when you pay a fixed monthly fee too. Your cost won’t go up or down, but you are always capped at a certain number of editing hours per week or month. So if you help your editor save time, they can complete more projects for you each month.
What if you are unsure how to do anything we just discussed? No worries, you aren’t expected to be an editing whizz. Ask your editor. They can tell you how to get the most out of their services. Every editor has their own process and workflow, so just have a chat at the start and improve as you go.
Where To Go From Here
There really aren’t standard video editing rates. There are simply too many factors that influence how much time it takes to polish up your footage. But if you carefully consider the variables in your project and you understand your options, you can make an informed decision and get it right the first time.
If you want to control your monthly editing spend, you can team up with a video editing service like Vidpros. For $700 a month, you get a professional video editor dedicated to your brand for 2 hours every business day. No add-ons, no extras, and there’s no contract to sign locking you in.
We turn simple jobs around overnight, and we won’t stop working on your project until you say it’s good to go!
If you have any questions about video editing, hit us up for a chat and we’re happy to help! Or, learn more about how we take a load off your plate and help you grow with more engaging content on our website.
Finally, here are some more great reads you might like. Thanks for stopping by!