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Getting Paid: Beware Of These
Red Flags & Wave Good-Bye ...
Note: The author is conducting a Voice Over Bootcamp in New York City, Sept. 24-26. For details, please click here.
By Susan Berkley
Voice Talent & Coach
The Great Voice Company

If you're just starting out in voice over, any work seems like good work, right?

Well, not really. Some clients are more trouble than they're worth and should be avoided at all cost because they suck your energy and waste your valuable time.
Here's how to know when you should steer clear ... 
Freddie Freeloader
This type of client will try to get you to work for free.
They usually will tell you a long story about how they're trying to sell a project that's going to make millions, and if you'll do the voice over for free now, you'll get a big paycheck on the back end.
Trouble is, that day never comes. 

'Your Check Is In The Mail'
It probably comes as no surprise that there are folks out there who hire voice talent and then can't or won't pay.
The best way to protect yourself when working with a new customer is to ask them to pay in advance, or at least give you a 50% deposit before you begin the work.
This can be done, for instance, through Pay Pal's escrow service.
If a large, recognized company has hired you, establish a contact in the accounts payable department so you are aware of and can follow their payment process when you send your invoice.
Mark all invoices "Payable upon request," and as soon as your invoice is more than 30 days past due, call weekly until you get paid.

Doesn't Respect Boundaries
These types of clients will call after hours and on weekends, expecting you to drop whatever you're doing to provide instant service.
Nip this one in the bud by clearly stating your hours and terms of service in writing before you accept the first job.
If you are willing and able to provide same-day rush service, stipulate a turnaround time, such as,
 If the job request is in before noon, we'll return it by 5 p.m. the same day.
Make sure you charge a surcharge for same-day service.
Has No Website
or Professional Email Address
Be wary of someone who calls you for a voice over but has no company website or company name.
It's also a red flag if their email address ends in
Most likely they won't have the money to pay you, or could be a fly-by-night operation.

By deciding what types of clients you wont accept from the start, you'll pave the way for great relationships with customers who will help you grow your business - as you help them grow theirs.
Susan Berkley is a top voice-over artist and is the voice of AT&T and Citibank. She is the author of Speak To Influence: How To Unlock The Hidden Power of Your Voice and president of The Great Voice Company, helping to turbocharge the careers of emerging and professional voice talent worldwide. For a free subscription to her weekly Inside Voice-over ezine and a number of free reports for voice-over beginners and working pros, please visit the website below.
Voice Over Bootcamp, Sept. 24-26: 


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Comments (2)
Debbie Irwin
9/11/2010 at 10:52 PM
Thank you for your succinct suggestions.

I'm dealing with someone right now who requested (and received) the job right away and I'm still asking for my $$. I did meet him recently, face to face, but that hasn't changed the situation! What kind of a surcharge do you recommend for quick turn around?

Best, Debbie
BP Smyth, Narrator
9/9/2010 at 8:20 AM
Great sound advice, Susan. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to contribute. Looking forward to your appearance on this site again soon.
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