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Hate Bank & Credit Card Fees?
Swallow 'Em. Even Think Discount!
By Rick Gordon
Voice Talent & Owner
Commercial & e-Learning
I’ve been asked many times by VO talents about bank charges and in general, the fees we all have to pay to operate a business, any business. Here are my thoughts on that, plus the value of offering discounts to your clients.
I agree that it seems unfair to have to swallow these, and I don’t like losing the 3% as well. But it is a cost of doing business.
So I suggest that when you quote on a job, you include banking charges - but don’t make them obvious. It is a negative to mention this to clients and indicates a small-time business.
For instance, when you buy something at a store and use a credit card, they normally do not add on bank charges, right? These are included whether it is a cash or credit card sale.
Yes, for cash the store makes the extra 3%. All plastic, whether PayPal, Visa or MasterCard, charge for their services.
I have to eat 3% of every renewal for and Even when a client writes me a U.S. check, I have to eat Canadian bank charges.
And when I pay a U.S. VO talent by check, I have to pay conversion and bank charges together - not fun, eh?
Did you pay for services on your cruise with a credit card? Did they charge you 3% extra because you used it? If not, did they discount your bill by 3% if you paid cash? Get my drift?
We have to eat it or hide it, but don’t let it show up on your invoices.
Speaking of business operation costs and charges, do you ever offer a discount to customers?
Have you noticed that on some check stubs there is a category for "Discount”?
I can’t help but wonder if we, as suppliers, are looked upon in a brighter light when we offer discounts. I offer discounts to long-time clients, and I really do think they expect it.
If you are going to discount, though, for Pete’s sake make it a valued one.
These days, 10% means nothing.
Here are some suggestions for offering discounts that benefit both you and your customers.
1. Reduce your invoice by 25% or more, but prominently show the regular value of your service, and keep it honest. Some customers will check if they are getting a true discount or not.
Of course, this should only be done if your customer has talked about additional voice-over projects coming down the pipe for you. Mention that in an email accompanying your invoice. In effect, you are offering an immediate discount in anticipation of future work.
2. Don't charge for engineering, studio or file breakdown, instead of reducing the total cash amount.
Again, put a value on these items. It looks good, and if you think about it, it is probably true. Not many people do something for nothing these days.
3. Credit this favored client with a percentage to go toward future projects.
Example: 8,000 word project, 10% credit = 800 words = 5 minutes.
This method will almost guarantee that you will receive future work.
4. For first-time clients, note in an email accompanying your first invoice that you will discount all projects beginning with project #4. Tease them with the value of your discount, noting:
  • cash discount,
  • production and/or studio discount, and
  • file breakdown discount.
Any or all will be appreciated. Don’t give them specific numbers unless they send you a positive response asking about your offer. Otherwise, they may request the discounts beginning with project #1!
Tell them your business policy is to build long-term relationships with "preferred or repeat clients” whenever possible.
5. Offer your client free retakes - depending on the size of the project - even if they change the script.
Usually this should be limited to 10% of the total word count.
Example: 8,000 word project earns up to 800 word count retakes or changed script, with no extra charges.
That’s a free 5 minutes.
Rick Gordon is a veteran voice talent based in Canada, and is also the founder and owner of two major online voice-over marketplaces: Commercial and e-Learning Commercial was created 10 years ago as the web site where voice talents are "hit and heard." e-Learning was introduced in 2008 specifically for e-Learning voice-over projects.
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Comments (2)
Rebecca Michaels
2/10/2010 at 5:10 AM
Rick - Nice pointers with terrific practical examples. I realize I do some of this already, but your article clarified and solidified the concept for me. It's amazing what we VO folks have to 'be' for ourselves - artists and entrepreneurs!
Thanks, Rebecca
BP Smyth, Narrator
2/9/2010 at 8:10 AM
Thank you for presenting methods for discounting services. This is something all VO talent need to be aware of, to help secure additional work with preferred clients. We need all the help we can get in this highly competitive business we are in, especially today, where the profession is experiencing advertising budget reductions across the board.
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