Updated: Jul 28
Are you a small business owner trying to decide whether to hire video editor or continue to do it yourself?
This post is going to share some insights on freelance video editor rates, the behind the scenes cost of video editing, and I included a link to download my newest freebie, a Video Editing Cost Guide.
The guide breaks down the potential costs of doing your own editing compared to how much a video editor may charge and includes a time audit to help you decide if it’s worth it to outsource.
Video editing rates
Video editing rates will vary depending on the video editor’s experience level and the project scope, as well as location.
As a general scale, entry level video editors to experienced video editors may charge anywhere from $35-$150+ per hour.
Others may charge on a per-project basis, depending on your contract and what terms you both agree to.
You can find cheap video editing on freelancing sites like Fiverr or Upwork, but don’t let the lowest rate be the selling point. You get what you pay for.
Some new Fiverr sellers start out with low rates to get jobs and reviews and many are talented, they’re just establishing themselves on the platform so they have to set a low price for their services.
However, low rates can also mean they have less experience. This is not always the case, but something to keep in mind.
How long does it take to edit a video?
The time it takes to edit a video will depend on the complexity of the edit, such as how many transitions, how much text, whether or not you want closed captions reviewed, any animations or pop-ups, memes, b-roll, stock footage, color correction, audio improvements, etc.
A simple way to estimate how long it will take to edit a video, is to start by estimating the final video time based on how much raw footage you have.
Once you have that number you can expect it to take between 10-60 minutes, give or take, to complete one minute of finished video.
If you are brand new to editing, this may be longer until you get the hang of it.
As an example, let’s say you have a YouTube video with about 35 minutes of raw vlog footage and you have a medium amount of editing involving syncing audio, cutting out bad takes, filler words, and dead space, adding in some text on screen, and doing some small color adjustments. And we estimate the final video will be between 7-10 minutes as a good length for this vlog.
If we figure based on the complexity it may take about 25 minutes to complete each video-minute, we can calculate:
25 x 7 = 175 minutes = 2.9 hours
25 x 10 = 250 minutes = 4.2 hours
There may be some additional time spent on revisions so let’s say 30min - 2hrs for revisions.
This video could take approximately 3.5 to 6 hours to edit.
How Much Does it Cost To Edit a Video?
Looking at our example of a 7-10 minute vlog that takes about 3.5 to 6 hours to edit, an entry level editor may charge about $120-$210 and an experienced editor may charge $500+ for this project.
Some editors, myself included, offer editing packages that bundle services and can be less expensive than paying for one-off projects.
You can check out my video editing packages here.
So we talked about how much an hourly rate is to edit a video, but what costs go into learning to edit yourself?
You may already have some of these items, but here are some costs to consider:
A computer that can handle editing
Editing software (there are free options of course)
You may need training (could be free training, but again, costs you your time)
Noise canceling headphones
Local and cloud data storage
Comfortable desk and chair setup
Ergonomic keyboard and mouse
A big cost to consider is the cost of your time.
Next time you sit down to edit a video, keep track of your time and multiply that by your hourly rate.
Would it be more cost-effective to outsource?
Use my time audit in the Video Editing Cost Guide and use your hourly rate to decide if you are spending your time wisely by doing all your editing in-house.
Think about what business activities editing is taking you away from.
Should I Edit Myself or Hire a Freelance Video Editor
So, should you hire video editor or handle your editing needs yourself?
First things I would consider:
Can you afford to outsource?
Is it taking up too much of your time?
Do you enjoy editing?
Do you have more editing projects than you can keep up with?
If you can’t afford it AND it’s taking up a lot of your time, what can you do?
Outsource portions of your workflow. If setting up a project Library in Final Cut Pro and syncing your various cameras and mics will save you 15-20 minutes per video, outsource just that portion.
It will save you time and be a more affordable option than full-service editing.
You can also utilize free trainings to learn how to create videos and edit them faster. This does cost you time, but will be worth it in the long run.
Download my free Video Creator Workbook to get started streamlining your creation process.
Or enroll in the Video Editing Accelerator. My course teaches you how to edit in iMovie, Final Cut Pro and Canva. Read more about it in this blog article: "Online Video Editing Course for Dietitians".
The last option I’ll mention, if you can’t outsource quite yet is: batch create your content.
If you spend 10-15 minutes setting up every time, and it takes you some time to get into a rhythm each instance you open up your editing program, try to batch create.
Batching content is efficient and takes advantage of your flow state, where you fall into a rhythm and are able to power through a bunch of your work.
I hope you found this helpful!
Leave a comment below letting me know what you’d like me to cover next.
About the Author
Sara is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, artist, writer, and video editor. She holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Nutrition from Oregon State University. In 2021 she founded The Kerrminator LLC, which specializes in creative services for Dietitians including video editing, graphic design, and content creation.
Are you interested in starting a side hustle and want to learn more about the potential of video for your business?
You should check out my ebook, Embracing Video to Communicate Nutrition. It offers guidance for exploring your options and steps to get the ball rolling on your new venture.