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How Much Should You Charge?
Part 2: After Booking The Job ...


By Paul Strikwerda
Voice Actor

In Part 1 we discussed what voice over professionals should ask clients before quoting on a job.

Now, here's what you need to learn from the client once you’ve accepted the job.

In the following, I will assume that you’re recording in your home studio without SourceConnect or an ISDN connection.

1. Is the script you received the final and officially approved copy?

Just like people, some scripts are a work in progress. Certain clients believe it’s perfectly okay to present you with a new and improved version after you’ve recorded the original.

What’s more, they will ask you to re-record it at no charge.

Advice: Let the client know that if that’s the case, they will be billed for a new session.

Otherwise, you’ll end up recording versions 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 for free, thereby creating an expectation for the next time this client wants to work with you.

Sometimes a re-recording is necessary because of something you did (or failed to do). In that case, the client shouldn’t have to pay for your mistakes.

2. Pronunciation: Ask the client to provide a pronunciation guide.

If you’re reading a script  - for instance, in Spanish or Danish with an American brand name - does the client want you to pronounce it the Spanish or the Danish way, or the American way?

Don’t guess. Always ask!

3. In which audio format does the client want you to record (e.g. MP3, WAV, AIFF), and what’s the preferred bit depth and sample rate (e.g. 16 bits, 41,000 Hz).

Advice: High quality recordings can always be converted into recordings of lesser quality.

It does not work the other way around.

4. Does the client want processed or unprocessed audio?

If the client doesn’t mind you adding a bit of compression and equalization, make sure you save a copy of the original, unprocessed audio. If they don’t like what they hear, you can always send them the unsweetened version.

Advice: Most voice over clients prefer unprocessed audio. Always add effects afterwards on a separate track.

5. Does the client want to listen in and/or direct the session?

It’s often very helpful to get some feedback during the recording because you’ll be able to get a clear sense of what the client wants to hear. There are different ways to set up a simple phone patch.

6. Do you need to sign any forms before you start working?

Think of a Non Disclosure Agreement, tax forms, Policies & Procedures and all that boring small print you really don’t feel like reading. Do it anyway!

7. Do you want the client to sign any forms?

If you have a working agreement or a formal contract, this is the time to send it over. As long as your terms and conditions are reasonable (and legally sound), your client should have no problem signing it.

If you detect resistance, something might be going on and you need to address it.

8. How does the client wish to receive the audio file(s)?

These days there are many options. To name a few, you can:
  • use a digital online file delivery service such as
  • share your files using 
  • use an FTP host to upload your files
Advice: Many of these services will send you an automated confirmation, letting you know that your file has been downloaded.

If that’s not the case, always ask your client to confirm receipt. That way you have proof that your goods were delivered and received.

9. Ask your client: Is there anything else you need me to know about this project that we haven’t covered yet?

And that’s exactly the question I’d like to leave you with.

I think I’ve covered the basics, but I’m sure you can add things I have overlooked. That’s what the comment section (below) is for.

And I’d like you to promise me one thing: No more blind bidding. Be a pro and come up with an informed quote!

Paul Strikwerda is a 25-year veteran of the voice over industry whose Nethervoice service features German and Dutch voice overs, translation and evaluation services. Born in Holland, he has worked for Dutch national and international radio, the BBC and American Public Radio. Although 90% of his work is in English, Strikwerda also records in Dutch, German and French. Clients include Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, and the Discovery Channel. He also publishes an informative and entertaining blog, Double Dutch.

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Comments (1)
Ken Budka
3/27/2012 at 12:27 AM
Thank you Paul - I appreciate your professional approach to business and the voiceover industry.
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