Rates: Why Insult With A Question About Client
Budget? Ask For Job Specs, Then Quote Your Fee
March 23, 2015
By Jerry Reed
From the conversations I have read and have been a part of, it appears to me that a lot of people in the voice over business are reluctant to quote rates for their service voice over - until they find out what the client has in the budget.
There are some who feel that the new client you have been talking to may have more to spend and that you should not be too quick to quote your rate for fear that you might be leaving money on the table.
I understand that.
But at the same time, I ask: Is that being a good business person?
WHAT OTHERS DO ...
Let's take a quick look a three scenarios:
1. You need to have some carpentry work done on your studio.
You call a contractor. He learns about your project, might even come for a visit, and then he gives you an estimate for how much the work will cost you. It's an estimate based on what work he expects to do for you, the time he will have invested and any supplies he will need to complete the job.
2. You call an audio engineer to install that pile of equipment you just bought.
She asks: What equipment do you have, and what do you need to have done? She will give you an estimate for the work that she will do for you.
3. You just backed into light pole across the street.
You didn't do any damage to the pole, but your car has a big dent and a broken tail light. You stop by the auto body shop and the fine folks there consult the flat rate labor guide. With that information and their posted hourly labor rate, they will come up with a price to fix the bumper and taillight.
YOUR BOTTOM LINE
In all the above cases, never does the craftsman ask you how much money you have to spend or "What's your budget?" No one wants to spend more than they need to for any service or item.
So why would a client risk having to pay more than necessary to get the job done?
If you look at your voice over business "as a business you should feel comfortable with your own rates. After all, if you set up the business properly, you have an idea what it costs to run your business and what income you need to generate in order to pay the bills and come away with a comfortable profit.
You set your rates accordingly. That's what the contractor, engineer and body shop did. Why should you be any different?
WHAT I DO ...
So when someone asks my rate for a project, I first ask:
This doesn't mean that you can't accept a project for less than your normal rate if presented to you. But I wouldn't publicize it. I'm a firm believer in knowing what my value is.
So if prospective clients find that my rate is less than they were ready to pay, then they just got a great deal. I'll be happy that I got my quoted rate and the client will be happy he got a good value. Everybody is happy.
If you constructed your rate card properly, you also built in a little room for a first-time buyer discount or a discounted long-term contract or retainer that will help seal the deal. And, you probably have a repeat customer in the works.
That's just good business.
Jerry Reed has been a professional voice artist all of his adult life. His early days were spent in broadcasting and he now works from his home voice over studio located in upstate New York. In addition to voice overs, his diversions include amateur photography and baking artisan breads.
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