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4 Ways To Get Paid More for Voice Acting Jobs

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There’s some mystique around the art and science of pricing out a voice over job. While many talent wonder how much they should quote, there are a lot of other talent wanting to get paid more for the work that they are already doing.

The only way to see that number go up is to get back to basics…that is to say, to price yourself higher by putting a clear value on your time, talent and training.

How can you get your rates up? Discover 4 great ideas to help put you on the path to financial freedom and create a successful voice over business for yourself.

1. Set a Minimum Fee for Your Voice Over Business

I once knew a voice actor who wouldn’t turn their microphone on for less than $250.

You may reason he’s missing out on a lot of work, but in reality, he’s only missing out on the work that frustrates him to audition for, if the ROI isn’t there for his time.

Set a standard for what you charge. Create a personal rate sheet for your business (see a good example for inspiration here), making sure that you properly account for the kind of work you’re doing (and for any additional services you can offer).

What do you think your time, effort and value as a voice artist are worth? You need to be confident in this regard and to stick to your convictions.

If you stray from your rate sheet, the only person you can blame is yourself.

2. Want a Thriving Voice Over Business? Quote Higher

This may seem obvious, but one of the fastest ways to make more money is to quote higher.

When a voice actor knows that a client is hiring based on brand fit, interpretation and audio quality, quoting higher becomes easier to do. Why? Because the client won’t jeopardize their brand for a cost savings.

If you are of the mind that working on volume is better (i.e. doing more jobs for less money), stop lowballing. Not only are you underpricing yourself, but other voice talent are eating your lunch in the long run.

Let it also be said:

Great voice actors who price their services too low look unprofessional to clients, especially those who know the value of a professional voice over and what it ought to be priced at. Pricing too low looks desperate.

When you quote a higher rate, you’ll still be a competitive force in the market. Your peers (at least those who have already upped their prices and are benefiting from that), are getting paid exactly what they want, and in some cases, are getting paid more than what the client initially had in mind because they are just that good.

3. Don’t Give Deals or Freebies

This may seem obvious, but one of the fastest ways to earn more money on a voice acting job is to ask charge your clients for the work you’re doing — all of it!

In the spirit of keeping a customer, some voice actors will throw in music, revisions and pickups free of charge. While these altruistic gestures may feel good in the moment, giving away too much can leave you in the red. Setting the bar too low sets an expectation that you won’t want your clients to get used to.

Train your clients to pay you what you truly want to be paid for your work.

Whenever you give something away to a client for free that actually costs you money to give away, you’re doing yourself a disservice. That, and they won’t value something as highly that they’re not paying for.

Does that sound like you? If so, you might want to start charging for something you currently do for free or at a steeply discounted rate.

I’m not saying that you can’t offer a discount here and there, or go above and beyond for your customers. We all do this from time to time and for good reason. What I am saying though is to give those deals where it makes sense.

If something you give away has a hard cost associated with it (let’s say it is booking studio time somewhere or running an ISDN session), you’re going to feel the cost of giving that away. It’s going to hit you in the pocketbook, and unless you have found a way to offset that cost, it may even hurt!

4. Add Value By Offering Related Voice Over Business Services

Do you have a background in copywriting? Add it to the list.

Are you able to translate from English to Spanish and vice versa as a fluent, bilingual voice actor? Add it to the list!

Just like how on-camera and stage actors have a list of skills they possess (horseback riding, chess, singing, etc.), you could create a menu of services like audio production, music composition, translation or writing ad copy.

Make a list right now of two or three things you can do that would be helpful to someone who is working on a project that involves voice over. Price those items out accordingly, bearing in mind the actual cost (there may be hard costs here to consider) and also what the cost of your time, talent and training is worth to provide that service offering.

Leave yourself some margin so that you’re not just breaking even on offering a service like that. Keep it as simple as you can. You want these services to be a joyful task that you naturally feel motivated to do, not drudgery that drains you of time, energy and resources.

Making more money in voice over is within your control. If you’ve found any of these ideas helpful, put them into practice! Let me know how you’re doing in the comments.

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Comments

  • Jane McIntyre
    May 8, 2019, 11:59 am

    Hey, Stephanie,

    This was really interesting and helpful. I have a question about additional skills. I spent over 20 years as an award winning (two Sonys) newsreader and producer for the BBC, writing and editing scripts for my own news bulletins, and scripts for presenters on the programmes I produced. These days I have my own blog and am part of a partnership writing a travel blog for empty nesters (round the world in 57 days…and more!)
    I get through a lot of auditions with voices.com and to be honest….in some of them, the English or grammar in the audition scripts is terrible, and sometimes doesn’t make any sense at all. Occasionally (being very British, and not wanting to offend……!) I just record it anyway.But do you think it would be worth adding the writing experience I have, to my profile?

    Reply
    • Stephanie Ciccarelli
      May 8, 2019, 12:14 pm

      Hi Jane, thank you for joining the conversation! It’s wonderful to hear from you. Definitely include your writing experience in your profile and also present those skills as another service you can offer. If you’re speaking specifically to localization (or localisation as it may be spelled in the UK!) of a script meant to be heard by a UK audience, that is a niche skill set that not everyone has. Absolutely include it. I’d love to hear if you pick up more work that way.

      Reply