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When The Client's Offer Is Lower Than
Your Fair Voice Over Rate ... What To Do?
February 28, 2017

By Tom Dheere
Voice Actor & Coach

Is it just me, or have rates for voice overs been dropping even faster lately?

I’ve noticed it in particular from a distressing source: agent casting notices.

Does this mean all of our representation have colluded to pocket some of what they’re supposed to pay us? I’m pretty sure that isn’t the case.

What about the marketing companies, advertising agencies, recording studios, and production facilities? Have they conspired to skim off the top?

I don’t think so.

But if it’s not the agents or the producers then it must be the end-clients, right? Clearly a world-wide underground covenant was forged in an effort to keep those of us who do voice overs in the poorhouse .... Doubt it.


So what the hell is going on?  

I’m not smart enough to say for sure why rates for voice over gigs have been going down at an even faster pace over the past couple of years.

For those of you who want to blame it on the former presidency, the current presidency, SAG-AFTRA, Fiverr, pay-to-play sites, etc: save it. I’m sick of the blustering from all sides and nobody knows the truth.

What is important is how to deal with it when that offer hits your Inbox.

If you are being considered for a project and you think their quote is lower than it should be, ask yourself some questions ...


Did you do your research?

There are many resources available to determine if a quote for a voice over project is appropriate. I use my rate sheet, SAG-AFTRA Numbers, the Global Voice Acting Academy Rate Guide, and seek input from my fellow voice talents.
Did you educate the client?

After you did your research, did it match up within plus or minus 10% of the client’s quote? If so, great!

If not, don’t criticize their bid directly. Show them your research results as well as your source material so they can check it out for themselves. Some clients don’t know the value of their project, so explain it to them objectively and diplomatically.

Even if the rate isn’t great, should you take it anyway? In the abstract you should always get paid what you’re worth and turn down a gig when the rate offered isn’t commensurate with the industry standard.


There are times when you may consider doing it, though. For instance:
  • It’s a new client. That’s fine, but often you’ll never see them again so tread carefully.
  • It’s a student project or for a charitable cause.
  • It’s a good investment in your career. It may be in a genre you’ve been meaning to break in to or are willing to take less just to see if you like the genre.
  • It may showcase your voice and could be a good sample for one of your demos.
  • It may be for a fun or exciting new product or service that you’re getting in on the ground floor.
  • It could also just be a piece you can market the crap out of so you can get more work.
Whatever you do, make an informed decision with all of these factors in mind. Be smart, don’t get taken advantage of, and do right by you as well as the voice over industry.
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)
Gabrielle Nistico
2/28/2017 at 4:09 PM
I am trying to educate both talent and clients about this exact problem! Visit my site: and take a look at some of our resources and sign our pledge!
Earl Thomas
2/28/2017 at 2:29 PM
I recall giving a client a break, then reminding them it was a break. Then they said as I recall that
I was taking them. So I agreed to do it reminding them next project is full price. The original is to have them hear the value of my voice.
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