Bidding commercials and video production can be a very frustrating process and can feel sometimes like it’s hardly worth the trouble. Usually this is because the one party hasn’t communicated enough about expectations, don’t have solid goals or expectations yet, or they just haven’t asked enough questions.

Some clients give us a script and detailed expectations about they want the bid process to work. This makes our job easy. Others don’t really know exactly what they want and have not committed to a budget. This makes it a lot harder for us to bid. It’s like someone shopping for a car and they haven’t decided if they’re buying a used Mitsubishi or a Mercedes Benz S Class.

Having worked as both a producer on the production side of the business and as a creative on the advertising agency side of the business we’ve seen both sides of the process and easily sympathize with our customers.


Best practices for many companies dictates that they blind bid 3 vendors with a focus on cost. This can be the most difficult to bid because there are many ways to control cost, most of which don’t provide the best quality product. These are the ones many of us in the business don’t really like to participate in. We get the least amount of information about specifically what were bidding on and we’re somehow supposed to win an apples vs oranges bid. In the end this rarely works out best for the client because the focus has been on the cost and not what’s the best quality creative that can be achieved for the available budget.

I think the best way for a company or agency to get the best out of a vendor is to give a production company a budget range, be very specific about what you’d like the end product to be and ask them for pitch and not just a tally of numbers. Then you’ll actually get to see the company’s problem solving, creative ideas and how they will innovate to get you the film you were hoping for produced. Good luck on your next bid. Below is our how to to bid a commercial production in five steps

How to bid a commercial production in five steps.

  1. Locate companies and directors

    Find one or more companies with the required talent to do the job well. Don’t focus on cost at this point. You’re just looking for ability.

  2. Provide boards or a brief

    Give the company a detailed description of what you want to accomplish. Then give them time to think and come back with a treatment. The better the understanding communicated during this phase the better the outcome at the end.

  3. Listen to pitches

    Listen to what the company has to say at this point. You’ll get a strong idea of how they want to help bring your story to life or if they have a completely different track they want to pursue. Let them lay their cards on the table.

  4. Pick a company to bid

    Pick the company or two that you most want to work with and then start the process of seeing what they can do for the money you have to work with. Asking for the lowest bid at this point will likely cause them to slash needed equipment to realize your vision and compromise the end product.

  5. Award the job

    The bidding process, rather than being adversarial has hopefully helped to tease out the best management of funds. Now you’re ready to award the job to the most trustworthy and creative company.

Want to learn how we’d approach your next project? Feel free to reach out to us and learn how we’d like to create something awesome for your next commercial.