Q&A: Upcoming Changes to Fees

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Recently, we announced upcoming changes to our Platform Fee, as well as the introduction of our Processing Fee. For a better understanding of why we’ve made these changes, please visit this blog post from our Founder and CEO, David Ciccarelli. 

What follows is a list of answers to questions we think you may have a result of these changes.

What happened to the Platform Fee? What is the Processing Fee?

Moving forward, we’ve decided to charge talent (and not clients) the Platform Fee, and introduce a client-facing Processing Fee that is charged to clients only, in its place. The 3% Processing Fee replaces the 20% Platform Fee that clients were historically charged at check-out. Previously clients were not charged for this and Voices.com absorbed the costs associated with processing transactions on our marketplace. This new fee will help us facilitate your job and process inbound transactions and disburse payment to talent once work is completed. 

This change is happening because we’ve received feedback from both clients and talent about the Platform Fee, specifically, confusion surrounding who is being charged and when. Up until now, the Platform Fee was charged to clients and applied to the talent’s quote as an additional fee, increasing the cost to clients. However, the same Platform Fee is also shown to talent when they submit their quote, implying that they too are being charged the Platform Fee. This confusion has actually deterred some clients from wanting to post jobs with us. To better clarify who and when the Platform Fee applies to, we are shifting it to apply to quotes submitted by talent and additional payments. In other words, 20% of a talent’s quote, or of an additional payment, will be withheld by Voices.com as a Platform Fee. By doing this, we hope to reduce overall job costs for our clients, making Voices.com an even more compelling and competitive option for clients to post jobs and source voice over talent. We are confident that this will enable us to attract more clients, which will mean more jobs, more opportunity, and more earnings for our talent.

How is the Platform Fee Calculated?

The 20% Platform Fee is calculated against the ‘Your Quote’ field in the Job Response form. When a value is input into either the ‘My Earnings’ or ‘Your Quote’ field, the opposite field will be updated accordingly.

For example, let’s say a client posts a job with a budget of $500. When quoting, if you were to put $500 in the ‘Your Quote’ field (which is the final number the client will see when reviewing your responses), the ‘My Earnings’ field would be updated to reflect a take-home amount of $400. In this scenario the calculation is as follows:

  • Platform Fee: Your Quote x Platform Fee = $500 x 20% = $100
  • Your Earnings: Your Quote – Platform Fee =  $500 – $100 = $400

Alternatively, let’s say a client posts a job with a budget range of $750-$999. When quoting, if you wanted to earn $900 on the job, you would input $900 into the ‘My Earnings’ field, and the ‘Your Quote’ field would be updated to reflect a client-facing quote of $1,125. In this scenario the calculation is as follows:

  • Your Quote: Your Earnings / (100%-Platform Fee) = $900 / (100%-20%) = $1,125
  • Platform Fee: Your Quote x Platform Fee = $1,125 x 20% = $225

In the above example, the ‘Your Quote’ amount is higher than the client’s posted budget. While you may think this would automatically disqualify you from being considered for the job, we have quantitative and qualitative data, gathered by looking at past jobs and through interviews with clients, that shows that clients are willing to go above their budget if the audition and performance warrants it. It’s important that you not only consider the client’s budget when submitting a response, but also your own value – if there is misalignment then you have the ability to ignore the job or submit a quote that better aligns with what you feel your services are worth.

Why do I have to pay an annual membership and the 20% Platform Fee? Isn’t the purpose of the 20% platform fee to use your service? How does that differ from the membership?

Unlike other platforms, our Platform Fee is success-based. This means, the Platform Fee is only charged when you find work and get paid. In other words, Voices.com only makes money when you are successful. As a result, we have a vested interest in your success and are therefore motivated to develop a platform and build tools that help you get hired, as opposed to focusing exclusively on selling memberships. Alternatively, our memberships are feature-based, designed to unlock value-add features that enhance your experience on the platform and increase your earnings potential.

Will the price of the annual membership change since we are now paying the platform fee?

At this time we have no plans to adjust our membership fees. We feel that the value we deliver with our memberships hasn’t changed as a result of the changes to our Platform Fee. For a better understanding of the value that our memberships offer, please visit our new Talent Memberships page

If you have any questions about your membership or would like to discuss it with a member of our team, please email us at support@voices.com.  

Will clients see the breakdown of my quote? Will they see how much is the Platform Fee and how much I will be earning?

On the Responses page, nothing is changing. Moving forward, when clients are checking out after hiring or adding an additional payment, clients will see your quote amount (inclusive of the Platform Fee). For simplicity and to avoid confusion, we only show fees to the person who is paying those fees.

As outlined in David’s CEO Series post, showing the Platform Fee to clients when they check out will only lead them to believe that they are paying the fee themselves. The purpose of this change is to avoid this kind of confusion and enable us to attract more clients by aligning the experience they get on Voices.com with the experience they are familiar with from using other online marketplaces.

Speaking of other online marketplaces, showing this kind of breakdown is not common practice. For example, when you order food delivery through apps like Skip the Dishes, when you book a ride with Uber, or rent a room on Airbnb, you (as the buyer) do not see how much money the delivery person, driver, or homeowner (as the seller) is making. The same can be said about purchases made in the real world. When you go to a retail store and purchase something, you aren’t shown the amount of money being made by every party involved in getting that item to the store (e.g. manufacturers, suppliers, retail staff etc.). While some transactions do include some kind of breakdown (e.g. quoting labor and materials or parts for construction and renovation work, or car repairs), the buyer rarely sees how much money the seller is ‘taking home’. By mirroring this approach, we are more aligned with the experience clients have on other online marketplaces, enabling us to retain and attract more of them, bringing more jobs to our platform and more opportunities for you to be hired.

If you would like to discuss how your quote is broken down with the client directly, you can do so via Messages.

Is the minimum amount a talent can make still $100?

With this change, a talent who submits a quote of $100 USD and is hired will earn $80 USD.

Should I now be bidding higher to have the client “absorb” this increased cost?

As a marketplace, we have given both clients and talent the tools, resources, and freedom to act as they choose, so long as it is within our Terms of Service and in line with our Content and Community Guidelines. This includes the ability for clients to post jobs within their own budgets and willingness to pay. On the flip side, talent have the ability to submit quotes inside or outside the client’s budget. If you see a job and feel that the value of the services you offer to complete that job are in excess of what the client is willing to pay, you are still able to submit a quote above the client’s budget. It’s then up to the client to make an informed hiring decision, balancing the quality of your performance against their budgetary requirements. We have quantitative and qualitative data, gathered by looking at past jobs and through interviews with clients, that shows that clients are willing to go above their budget if the audition and performance warrants it. It’s important that you not only consider the client’s budget when submitting a response, but also your own value – if there is misalignment then you have the ability to ignore the job or submit a quote that better aligns with what you feel your services are worth.

Also, in addition to the recent data-driven increases to our talent rate sheet, we are looking at other ways to educate our clients so they are posting and pricing jobs fairly. For example, we are actively working on our job posting form to ensure clients are given helpful pricing recommendations based on the details of their job and their talent needs. While we as a marketplace can’t force clients to follow our recommendations, we feel that giving them the right information at the right time will lead to jobs being priced at a fair level.

How will Voices.com ensure that my earnings per job don’t dip because of this?

While we can’t guarantee talent earnings won’t dip as a result of this, given there are many factors beyond the Platform Fee that dictate a talent’s earnings (i.e. performance, effort, number of auditions submitted, number of matches etc.), we constantly put considerable effort in ensuring our talent are paid fairly for their services. In addition to the recent data-driven changes to our talent rate sheet, we are looking at other ways to educate our clients so they are posting and pricing jobs fairly. For example, we are actively working on our job posting form to ensure clients are given helpful pricing recommendations based on the details of their job and their talent needs. While we as a marketplace can’t force clients to follow our recommendations, we feel that giving them the right information at the right time will lead to jobs being priced at a fair level.

Additionally, we’ve received feedback from both clients and talent about the Platform Fee, specifically, confusion surrounding who is being charged and when. Up until now, the Platform Fee was charged to clients and applied to the talent’s quote as an additional fee, increasing the cost to clients. However, the same Platform Fee is also shown to talent when they submit their quote, implying that they too are being charged the Platform Fee. This confusion has actually deterred some clients from wanting to post jobs with us. To better clarify who and when the Platform Fee applies to, we are shifting it to apply to quotes submitted by talent and additional payments. In other words, 20% of a talent’s quote, or of an additional payment, will be withheld by Voices.com as a Platform Fee. By doing this, we hope to reduce overall job costs for our clients, making Voices.com an even more compelling and competitive option for clients to post jobs and source voice over talent. We are confident that this will enable us to attract more clients, which will mean more jobs, more opportunity, and more earnings for our talent.

It’s also important to note that the Platform Fee will be calculated and deducted from the talent quote, not talent earnings. This, in addition to changes to how talent submit quotes, will make the auditioning and quoting processes more clear. By giving you the tools and transparency to see the breakdown of your quote, you’ll have even greater control over how much you earn on a job. 

Finally, as a marketplace, we have given both clients and talent the tools, resources, and freedom to act as they choose, so long as it is within our Terms of Service and in line with our Content and Community Guidelines. This includes the ability for clients to post jobs within their own budgets and willingness to pay. On the flip side, talent have the ability to submit quotes inside or outside the client’s budget. If you see a job and feel that the value of the services you offer to complete that job are in excess of what the client is willing to pay, you are still able to submit a quote above the client’s budget. It’s then up to the client to make an informed hiring decision, balancing the quality of your performance against their budgetary requirements. We have quantitative and qualitative data, gathered by looking at past jobs and through interviews with clients, that shows that clients are willing to go above their budget if the audition and performance warrants it. It’s important that you not only consider the client’s budget when submitting a response, but also your own value – if there is misalignment then you have the ability to ignore the job or submit a quote that better aligns with what you feel your services are worth. 

Will I be able to claim the 20% Platform Fee as an expense for tax purposes?

Voices.com is not able to provide our talent or clients with advice regarding their specific tax situation. If you have questions about how this change impacts your taxes, we recommend and encourage you to speak with a licensed tax professional.

Will Voices be making any changes to the talent rate sheets?

Yes. In addition to the recent data-driven changes to our talent rate sheet, we are looking at other ways to educate our clients so they are posting and pricing jobs fairly. For example, we are actively working on our job posting form to ensure clients are given helpful pricing recommendations based on the details of their job and their talent needs. While we as a marketplace can’t force clients to follow our recommendations, we feel that giving them the right information at the right time will lead to jobs being priced at a fair level.

What happens to responses submitted before and after this change?

For responses submitted by talent to Self Service or Professional Service jobs after the change, the 20% Platform Fee will be applied to talent quotes at the time of submission and charged to the hired talent upon successful hiring. At the time of hiring, the 3% Processing Fee will be applied to client subtotals. 

For responses submitted by talent after January 1st, 2020 to jobs that have not yet been hired prior to the change, we will conduct a one-time adjustment to responses to ensure that the talent’s earning expectations do not change. In other words, if a talent submits a response prior to the change and expects to earn a specific amount, but is hired after the change, the talent will earn the same amount they were expecting to earn at the time of submitting their response (achieved by increasing the talent’s quote amount accordingly). 

For example, if prior to the Platform Fee changes you submitted a $100 quote as part of a response to a job with a budget of $100, your earnings would be $100 and the client would have been charged $120. After this adjustment, your quote would now be $125, to ensure your earnings continue to be $100 (20% of $125), and the client would be changed $125, plus the new 3% Processing Fee. 

If your response has not yet been seen by the client, you can edit your submission to reflect a new quote amount that you are more comfortable with, if you so choose. If your response has been seen by the client, you can make a change to your submission up to three times.

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Comments

  • Tom Albright
    September 9, 2020, 5:22 pm

    Okay, I am certainly not a top earner on Voices, but I think I understand.
    Voices just increased their portion/take/profit from 20% to 23% to cover something that you previously absorbed. Is that correct? And…we, as talent, must quote higher rates in order to make the same amount as before. I get it, but I don’t remember responding to any survey about this. Just my first reaction. Maybe it will seem different in the light of day.

    • Oliver Skinner
      September 10, 2020, 3:16 pm

      Hi Tom,

      Thank you for your feedback. Prior to these updates, the 20% Platform Fee was charged to clients as an additional fee on top of the talent’s quote. Now, to reduce confusion surrounding who is being charged, that 20% Platform Fee will be calculated and deducted from the talent quote, but not the talent earnings. By giving you the tools and transparency to see the breakdown of your quote, we hope to provide you with even greater control over how much you quote, and ultimately earn, on a job.

      Like other online marketplaces, we have also introduced a 3% Processing Fee that will be charged to clients at the time of checkout. This fee helps us facilitate a client’s job, process inbound transactions, and disburse payment to talent once work is completed.

  • Stan Robinowitz
    September 13, 2020, 6:15 am

    Why not split the platform fee to 10%client 10% talent or better yet reduce the platform fee to 10% with the client paying 5% and the talent5%.

    It seems talent is being it very hard.

    Thanks

    Stan

    • Oliver Skinner
      September 14, 2020, 3:25 pm

      Hi Stan,

      Thanks for your comment.

      To answer your question: we introduced the Platform Fee to keep up with industry standards. When you book a ride with Uber or rent a room on Airbnb, you (as the buyer) do not see how much money the driver or homeowner (as the seller) is making. By mirroring this approach, we are more aligned with the experience clients have on other online marketplaces.

      We also hope that by giving our talent the tools and transparency to see the breakdown of their quote, that they are able to gain greater control over how much they quote, and ultimately, earn. We encourage talent to quote based on what they feel their services are worth, and they are welcome to discuss how their quote is broken down directly with the client who has chosen to hire them via Messages.