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What If You Accept A Voice Over Job, Then
Realize You Quoted Too Low. What To Do?

October 27, 2016

By Tom Dheere
Voice Actor & Coach

A couple weeks ago, a longtime client let me know a project was coming my way. Every few years I’ve done an update for this end-client’s benefits package video near the end of the yea,r so I thought this was more of the same.

I was at another studio when they told me the rate, so I didn’t have time to look up what I had charged in the past, and the number looked fine.

On a Friday, I got the script saw that theyd increased the rate because they needed it done by EOD Monday. The script was attached to the email, but since I was (yet again) not home and in the middle of a session with another client, I didn’t look at the script, told them the rate was fine, and that they would have it on time.

Over the weekend I finally had time to look at the script.

UH OH ...

Normally, this client's redoes are three pages long. This one was 16.

Hmm. Turns out it’s an entirely new benefits video for a different end client. Oops.

I emailed my client and apologized for confusing the end clients and for giving them a quote before I saw the script.

And I told them my rate for a project of this length.


In good faith, I started recording the project on Monday morning, uploaded the first third, and let them know I did so.

The client wrote back that they didn’t have the budget to accommodate my actual rate. So I had a decision to make. Do I:
  • Bail on the gig,
  • Try to squeeze them for more since they need it asap, or
  • Do the right thing by finishing the project using the agreed-upon rate -  even though it is about half what I would normally charge?  

I went with Do The Right Thing.

It’s not the client’s fault that I assumed it was for the same end client I have recorded for in the past.

It’s not the client’s fault that I approved their quote before I looked at the script.

I had to eat it.

So what do I have now? An eternally grateful client! It’s all about meaningful relationships, you know.

BTW, I will invoice them the full rate minus a discount to get the invoice to the amount they budgeted for. That way they will know the value of the work and they can budget appropriately for next time.
Over nearly two decades, Tom Dheere has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries and voiced more than 40 audiobooks. He is also a voice over business consultant, coach at Edge Studio, was the marketing consultant for the Voice Over Virtual online conference, and is also writer/producer of the new sci-fi action comic book Agent 1.22.

Agent 1.22

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Comments (2)
10/29/2016 at 3:41 AM
Yup, that's how you do it!
I have made that mistake myself. And what I have learned is - I AM responsible for everything I do. Many of my clients are using VO for the first time and don't know what is actually involved. Client education ahead!
But I don't quote without script or - at least - detailed information.
Thanks Tom, for sharing.
Rebecca Haugh
10/28/2016 at 7:14 AM
Perfect! Good topic to share, Tom.
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