VOICE OVER RATES
What Rates Should A Voice Over Newcomer
Charge? Ask Yourself These Questions ...
By John Melley
Voice Actor & Coach
The subject of "Voice Over Rates” is a hot one, particularly for people new to voice over. After my recent article, Are Your Low Voice Over Rates Too Low? Maybe It's Your Own Fault, I received several questions/comments.
Here’s one from a new voice talent. My thoughts on his questions follow:
Dear John,WHAT TO CHARGE?
Yes, it's a "chicken/egg" question on rates for new voice over talent.
Most talent look at what they should charge for voice over rates from a clean slate – like they should start really low.
You need to ask yourself a few questions. For instance:
ANSWER MORE QUESTIONS ...
Same thing goes for voice over. You need to ask yourself a few more questions. And answering them honestly can help you determine your comfort level with your rates.
I have found that most discomfort about what people should charge comes from being unsure of something; be it experience, level of comfort with the material (do you know anything about the subject matter you're recording) or attitudes about money, etc.
So ask yourself:
BUT MOVE ON
Beware: You can get trapped. This can become a problem especially if the same client comes back to you for another project and they expect a similar rate.
It's only natural for them to do so. You'll need to up your rate or else you'll end up resenting the work. (Kinda what I'm hearing in your narration project.)
ASK CURRENT CLIENT FOR MORE?
Tim, as for "Going Back and Asking For More $," I'd stick with what you quoted for them on the narration project and do it for what you agreed to.
But at the same time, I don't see a problem with saying something after they've approved your work and give you a compliment on it. I'd say something like:
"Thanks. I enjoyed the project and learned a lot from doing it. I must say it took quite a bit more than I expected. I'm new to voice over and editing so I'm learning what different projects take in terms of time. I'd love to be considered for other projects, but I'll have to be more realistic in the amount of time it takes when I quote you a figure. I hope you can understand that."PLAN YOUR POSITION
Pricing can be a great positioning tool.
Higher prices impress people. "Gee they must be really good."
Here's the caveat. You've gotta be able to back it up. If you charge a higher fee and you deliver a so-so performance, you're cooked - and rightfully so.
CHARGE FOR EXPERTISE, TOO
Finally, to put a completely different spin on this: If you've had any work experience you're probably knowledgeable about something.
You bring that knowledge and experience with you. Don't discount that.
What am I saying? If you're an expert in candy making (or whatever background you come from), then consider doing VO projects in that arena.
In that world, people won't question you and you can get the rates you want because you're already an expert and you're expanding your product offering.
Then you leverage the voice jobs from those projects and build your rate base for other types of projects from there.
John Melley is the Commercial Production Director for CBS Radio Boston’s award winning Mix 104.1 (WBMX), and a nationally recognized voice over talent, having performed voice over for Irving Oil, Hewlett Packard, United Technologies Corporation and countless others. He is also a marketing consultant for business owners, specializing in coaching voice talent to grow their businesses. He believes a rising tide lifts all ships and helping other voice talent benefits the entire voice over profession.
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