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How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Video Editor for YouTube?

How much does it cost to hire a video editor for YouTube? Freelance video editors typically charge a per-hour, or per-day rate. Professional rates are circa $30 to $150 an hour based on experience and specialism. Few editors charge per minute of edited video as production complexity varies so greatly.

Walter Murch Editing Quote. Hire a video editor for YouTube.
Original photo by Ron Lach from

How Much Do YouTubers Pay Editors?

YouTubers typically pay video editors far less than standard industry rates for video post-production services. Students and less experienced editors might well work for minimum wage, or even free of charge. Fair enough, that’s their call.

But professional editors—or specialists in a particular production style—can often command $30-150 or more per hour, and for good reason. A talented editor will have skills that extend far beyond mere proficiency with editing software, they understand how to construct a narrative from the disparate elements they are given; the have honed the editorial skills to tell a good story!

You should view the editor’s reel to get an idea of the style of their work, and the types of clients they work for. If you have a very specific brief it is fine to ask them if they can show you something similar they have edited. But—please—don’t expect to be shown a video that is an exact replica of what you’re hoping to achieve!

That said, if you’re going to be briefing an editor to produce a YouTube TrueView ad (which would need to hook viewers within the first few frames and end with a strong call to action) it would probably be sensible to select an editor with a track-record of cutting short promos, infomercials, or TV advertising. The avant-garde independent filmmaker with a reel filled with high-brow film-festival shorts might not be the one to hire.

How Much Should I Pay to Hire a Video Editor for YouTube Content?

Even a one-minute video could have a great many variables affecting the number of hours a freelance video editor might need to spend working on it. Whether you have found an editor on Fiverr or Upwork, or approached a freelance editor directly, their hourly rate (or their gig’s ‘starting price’) may be an indicator of their level of experience but is unlikely to give you a clear estimate of the ultimate cost of completing your video. What you are asking the editor to do might take longer to achieve than you anticipate.

Female vlogger presenting to her camera. How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Video Editor for YouTube?
What does it cost to hire a video editor for YouTube content? Image by

So, before choosing to outsource YouTube video editing (or not), it can help to better understand the true complexity of your requirements.

How much source material will the video editor be working with? Editing a one-minute video from 10 minutes of footage might be quite straightforward. Provided with clear instructions, an editor on a freelancing gig site like Fiverr or Upwork could likely deliver exactly what you’re hoping to achieve with minimal rounds of alterations.

Experienced editors are able to manage and navigate large volumes of source material in a highly efficient manner. Additionally, a large quantity of source material equates to more editorial decisions that might rely on your ‘hands-on’ input; you will find it much easier to edit a large project when you have open lines of realtime communication with your editor (for example Zoom or Evercast), or even better sit right alongside them while they edit!

However, if you are starting out with, say, four hours of source material—even if the required duration for the finished video is still only one-minute—it will likely take an entire day for the editor to simply view, sort, and become familiar with all of your footage. So, that is a whole day of preparatory work that needs to be done before your editor can even begin cutting your video!

To see an example of a complex production of motion graphics and researched imagery, check out this case study of a YouTube video I produced for a Star Trek fan channel.  

The more material you provide to your editor, the more detailed your instructions will need to be. With clear guidance on your objectives, an experienced editor will be happy to be self-directing. That said, complex productions will inevitably require more rounds of feedback and alterations, and a greater amount of ‘decision making’ time— for both the editor and you.

Do you require animated graphics? Many professional video editors are also able produce sophisticated graphics (but, if you’re looking to produce a video solely comprised of graphics, you’d be wise to engage the services of a dedicated Motion Graphics Designer). However, the time required to create a minute of motion graphics could well be considerably greater than the time to edit a minute of video. If graphics sequences require bespoke artwork, or the research and purchase of stock illustrations, this will require additional time.

Are you supplying music and a narration track? An experienced video editor will have a good ‘feel’ for selecting the most appropriate library music tracks and voice artists— but again, even if the finished video is only a minute long, you will still need to allow time for the editor to locate just the right track and voice artist.

Vlogger presenting to camera. Do YouTubers Pay Editors?
Photo by Mikael Blomkvist from Pexels

Need to hire a video editor for YouTube content? I can help! Drop me a message!

    Tom Vaughan-Mountford is an expert in TV advertising and the production of YouTube video marketing. He has more than twenty years’ experience in production and post-production for broadcasters, major advertising agencies, and name-brands. He is a regular writer on the media industry, and author of the Focal Press book ‘Managing a Video Production Company’. Tom is a senior creative at JMS Group, a Norwich video production company. You can follow Tom on Twitter @tomontv and Instagram @tomvaughanmountford

    Tom Vaughan-Mountford

    Author Tom Vaughan-Mountford

    Tom is a Television Commercial Director, Editor, Designer, and Author. He is the author of the Focal Press media studies textbook 'Managing a Video Production Company' and is also the Production Director of JMS Group, a television commercial production company in the UK. Outside of the media Tom enjoys sci-fi, gaming, fitness, hiking, and yoga.

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