Non-union Standard Rates: Help Set the Industry Benchmark

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Want to make a difference? Now’s the time for your voice to be heard! Leave a comment on this post to help develop the new Standard Rate Sheet for Non-union Voice-over work.

A few years ago, we polled about 100 non-union professional voice talent from North America and asked them what they were charging for specific services. After the initial feedback, we averaged the rates across the board and developed a Standard Rates Sheet with the purpose of educating clients and talent who needed help with budgeting and or quoting. Well, that was three years ago, and the current PDF Rates sheet needs some updating. We’ve heard feedback from many of you that we need to revise this document and raise the bar again in the industry!

I’ve included the current rates listed on the sheet and would like to ask you to comment on what you think needs changing, what may need to be added, and also, which rates need to be increased.
Here we go!

Radio: Local / Regional
:15 100
:30 125
:60 200

Radio: National
:15 200
:30 300
:60 400

Television: Local / Regional
:15 200
:30 300
:60 400

Television: National
:15 300
:30 400
:60 500

Per minute 100
00 to 05 minutes 300
06 to 15 minutes 500
16 to 30 minutes 750
31 to 45 minutes 1000
46 to 60 minutes 1500
60 + minutes Request quote
Telephone: IVR / On-hold / Voicemail
Per minute 100
Per page ( single spaced) 125

Rates are in US Dollars and include full buy-outs and session fees.
• Rates are for finished dry voice only. Any post-production required is additional (approx. $100/hr)
• All rates are for reference only. Each talents reserves the right to charge their own fees.

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  • Dave Mann
    July 7, 2006, 2:31 pm

    I have no standard rates. All over the board…whatever the client and I agree is fair…which is why my volume is so high.

  • Heidi Heyns
    July 7, 2006, 2:36 pm

    I’m a little surprised at the rates…but now I understand why I don’t get jobs through this resource…I was paid, on average, $175 minimum for spots TEN YEARS AGO…
    Your rates are so low or have I always been paid a conspicuously high amount?
    Heidi Heyns

  • Colin Campbell
    July 7, 2006, 2:49 pm

    Well, it’s certainly not what talent seekers generally offer. Some of the audio book “budgets” are so low it’s embarassing.

  • ari
    July 7, 2006, 2:53 pm

    National TV should be higher(double at least)
    A r i

  • Doug McLeod
    July 7, 2006, 2:53 pm

    Whatever the rates turn out to be, I really think potential clients need to be advised of them, even if they are only guidelines. Far too many possible clients have no idea what they will need to pay for quality talent so they take the first $50 offer they receive.

  • Craig Burnett
    July 7, 2006, 2:54 pm

    I always have the client tell me what they’re willing to pay. Quite frequently it’s much higher than what my lowest “fair” price is. Sometimes, their price is nowhere near my minimum. That’s when I tell them what they need to pay…if I scare ’em off, no biggie.

  • ari
    July 7, 2006, 2:54 pm

    I charge 60 cents a word for corporate — by the word is easier and more fair or everyone I think.

  • Stephanie Ciccarelli
    July 7, 2006, 2:54 pm

    Hi there,
    I thought I’d jump for a second 🙂
    The purpose of this post is to receive your feedback with actual numeric figures that you would quote for the work so that we can revise the sheet to better reflect the market.
    For example, you could say that the Television commercial rates need to increase from X amount to X amount.
    * Your comment came in faster than I could type Ari – thanks for the TV quote !

  • Shelly Callahan
    July 7, 2006, 3:00 pm

    One thing that should be taken into account is market size. I charge less for a local spot in Podunk, GA than I do for a Los Angeles spot. Audio books are a whole different ball game and can not be judged the same way. Union rates for audio books start at $142 per hour. I think IVR is a strange area too. Is it a Mom and Pop store or a big corporation that will get thousands of calls a day? I try and adjust my rates accordingly.

  • Julie Williams
    July 7, 2006, 3:00 pm

    Wow. Those rates are a bit low, aren’t they! I might do local stuff or phone systems for that – IF client pays IMMEDIATELY (within the hour) upon delivery of audio by paypal, VISA, or Mastercard. I give huge discounts for that because bookkeeping is a pain… so I usually have a pretty low account’s receivable.
    As for National spots–are there some zeroes missing? Isn’t $3000 more appropriate than $300?
    To encourage other talent… I do not work low budget, and I get TONS of work off this site, and others like it.
    Good luck!

  • Joshua Swanson
    July 7, 2006, 3:01 pm

    The rates are low and will stay low as long as there are people out there willing to work for low rates. $250 per spot per session should be the minimum for any spot and on television you shouldn’t even step up to the mic for less than $400. If we don’t band together and demand better pay we won’t ever get better pay. I dislike unions, but in regards to fair wages they have a point. It’s not worth anyones time to step up to the mic for less than $250 and if we would all stick to that the rates would go up.

  • Johnny George
    July 7, 2006, 3:02 pm

    These rates aren’t too far off. However, I have more of a problem with the narrative rates. I notice the rate goes down as the time increases. I usually charge a standard 1 minute rate of 150.00 and then 75.00/minute thereafter. THAT seems to make more sense than the value dropping so quickly in ratio to work performed.
    The radio & TV rates should be specified with a local, multiple-market and national rate. I charge one rate for markets under 1 million and more for markets over 1 million in determining market rates and length of run.
    A simple comparison to current union rates could give you an idea, not rule, for what to charge. Keep it close without going over.
    My important rule is to superserve my client and give them a good value for their dollar. It’s always easier to drop your price if you need to, but you’ll never get to raise it without possibly losing them. Negotiate with intelligence and foresight.
    All my best…

  • Valarie Grant
    July 7, 2006, 3:05 pm

    The rates for national TV and radio spots should at least be doubled. Also I appreciate that this site has a $100.00 minimum which is why I signed, but now I’m seeing “quote price” instead. I think clients need to state up front what their budget is. Let the talents compete with each other by their vocal abilities, not by snagging a gig because you drastically lowered your rates to get the job.
    PLEASE talents, don’t let them lower voice over standards by not following a standard rate sheet!

  • Trish Basanyi
    July 7, 2006, 3:13 pm

    Are these rates in US or Canadian Dollars?

  • Anne
    July 7, 2006, 3:15 pm

    I think these rates are good.
    And as an experienced voice over artist, I wouldn’t settle for less.

  • Sheila
    July 7, 2006, 3:16 pm

    Those rates are about right for here. Union rates are usually $300 for industrials and have been like 700 up to 1500 for national radio spots because the residuals that the client is saving are huge so they usually try to kind of compensate for that. I have found Atlanta to be ridiculous about spots. They pay $50 or $100 60 second spots. Highway robbery.

  • Bob North
    July 7, 2006, 3:20 pm

    The opening comment about doing bulk work sure makes me nervous, as it surely lowers the bar for talent in general. The national rates sound a low; and, making it a “buyout” is really giving it away. Add to this the fact that there are folks who work on the “bulk” theory and you are giving it away.
    Local and regional seem pretty good, though. Your rates for CD -DVD etc. ( I presume this is the Industrial category) seem pretty reasonable. I guess the big thing is to condition the client away from $50 per anything which I think is really an insult to the profession.
    Regarding the rate per word or page, I feel that it is important to remember that these rates per minute are, or at least should be “per finished minute”. This could mean that you the talent (given that you have your own studio) can wind up giving up a lot of edit/studio time away.
    Remember, if the producer goes to a studio to do production, there is an hourly rate for not only the studio, but also for the engineer.
    I would suggest getting some rate sheets from some respected studios and then re visit the industrial rate again. You have to be fair to yourself. Add to that the fact that sooner or later you may have to go to one of the studios you just undercut!! Yikes;(
    Just a few thoughts from someone who has been doing this exclusively (and there is another key consideration). Hobbyists can sure muddy the competitive water, huh?!?
    Bob North

  • Rich Roszel
    July 7, 2006, 3:21 pm

    First of all, I agree with the folks who charge more or less depending on where the audio will be used. For example, in Radio, I have one price for single market (other than top 25 markets), another rate for regional or top 25 single, and another rate for National or Top 3 single.
    Also, I rarely offer a buy-out on anything for Radio or Television. I get a lot of requests to voice spots for banks. If I offer a buyout, I’ve probably just cut off the rest of my potential bank work because, while the new bank client might not mind the fact that I was on another bank’s radio ad in the past, they don’t want me on that other bank’s ad at the same time theirs is running. That’s why union work includes a 13-week, 26-week or one-year buy. Your prices are in the ballpark for a non-union, single market, 13-week run.
    Something I’m trying to come up with now is rates for audio book work. I’m just getting into this and am having to make stuff up on the fly since it doesn’t fit into my narration rates and certainly not into my broadcast rates. I’ll look to see if anyone can tell me how they calculate these.
    Rich Roszel

  • Gene Tognacci
    July 7, 2006, 3:22 pm

    I’d like to see the rates be as close to union scale as possible. 2x or more on some of the local radio and tv and 10x or more on national.
    Industrial seems a bit high, but still fair.
    I’m non union because I’m in a right to work state with very few union shops. Not because my talent is worth less. I still charge scale or better, just not on a contract with pension and welfare.
    If we continue to work for less than minimum wage, the internet and desktop audio will have us continually lowering the pay bar.

  • Mario Mora
    July 7, 2006, 3:22 pm

    Those figures should be used only as a reference for minimum rates, because in many cases higher amounts can be charged according to the specific client and potential use. Additionally, I believe many colleagues are willing to work for whatever quantity the client will give them.

  • Ande
    July 7, 2006, 3:27 pm

    I see they’ve dropped a bit in some areas, but others are the same. The challenge is clients are not willing to pay for services to that degree. Production studios offer commercials for $40 and that includes script writing , sfx and bed. Rates should be negotiable, yes. However, It’s getting to be so bad with people under cutting everybody, it’s putting a blemish on the talent. I like Joshua’s comment about banding together, it’s so true. I’d rather have a few less clients and provide superior service to them, than do too many and sacrifice quality. At $40/ spot, what’s your time really worth when it’s all said and done?

  • Robert Jadah
    July 7, 2006, 3:30 pm

    My, but don’t those paltry figures point to one reason for my dust-covered mic…offering solid talent for those amounts is trading champagne for cola. Phone messages, in-house videos, family films and other non-market work is one thing, but any commercial broadcast – including buyout?!? – should start at twice the amount posted and increase by equal increments for each 100,000 population.

  • Bob
    July 7, 2006, 3:31 pm

    I question why a difference between a :60/:30 or :15? It seems our job is HARDER the shorter the spot, not easier. Does the customer pay less for the car if they heard it on a :15? I charge a standard $250 per radio local market, $450 for regional, and if it runs LA/NY/CHI try and get $750-1000. I remind clients, these are non-union BUY OUT rates. No residuals, holding fees or P&W. TV I charge $350/$600/1000-1200.
    Industrials up to 7 min, $400- over that I negotiate something reasonable. If a client asks for a discount on a group of companion spots of different lengths…no problem.
    ‘Blinks’ are on the horizon-:01 sec ads appearing at the end of a stop set. They’ll be placed hundreds of times more than a :30. Want to charge a client $25 for that kind of exposure?
    What we do has nothing to do with length…it is our ability to convey a message they are paying for. And don’t get me started on the fact we are expected to buy gear, engineer and dust.

  • Bob Green
    July 7, 2006, 3:36 pm

    The nice thing about is, of course, there’s no pressure to accept an audition when the rates are too low…which, unfortunately is often the case. In fact, how many clients use the rates given here as a standard… not many I fear.
    When someone asks for a James Earl Ray sound alike for 50 bucks, and 300 people answer it…it destroys everything we’re all working for.
    I’ve considered top 10 markets the same as “National” when it comes to charges. As for radio…consider that 30s or less is the way it’s going.. so perhaps:
    Local radio:
    15- $ 100
    30- $ 150
    60-$ 225
    National Radio:
    15- $ 225
    30- $ 325
    60- $ 425
    As for TV- about a 20% raise at least.
    For Video/CD Rom etc..a flat rate for up to 10 minutes, and an additional rate for each 5 minutes thereafter.

  • Robin Rowan
    July 7, 2006, 3:57 pm

    I’ve been in this business for 25+ years and rates are always a problem. TV and radio stations do production for FREE so they can get the air buy; where does that leave us?…”You mean you CHARGE to do a commercial???…”
    Many clients will never tell you if a spot is regional or national; I have to ASK so I know what to charge.
    We might also consider setting a limit on the amount of time a spot can run. I did some radio station IDs that ran for–gulp!–15 years! and I got paid for a local spot.
    I have seen several clients asking for audio books read for $500 or less. DON’T ANSWER THESE LEADS!!!!
    If we are willing to work for peanuts, it’s all we deserve.

    • Lisa
      December 15, 2017, 10:50 am

      2017 and I see one of those today. 90,000 word audio book Budget $500.
      I think there is a zero missing! bahahaha.

  • Gordon Gibb
    July 7, 2006, 4:05 pm

    I’m with Dave, in that the standard rate is an endangered species. At least in my camp. I have a standard rate card, but invariably each job comes down to negotiation.
    I found the site rate sheet to be similiar to the level charged through standard production houses – and I’m affiliated with an agency in Toronto, so I’m conversant with the subject. But in most instances, most lead providers have no idea. Only those corporate clients with past, or current experience with mainstream production houses suggest budgets in the same league as your rate guideline. Most providers are far, far lower……and have no problem finding a talent.
    It leaves me wondering, therefore, if the suggested rates should be lowered, rather than raised, to reflect the reality of the marketplace. And that reality is the ease with which the internet has allowed all of us to market, and to deliver our services. The convenience of a home studio should not diminish the value of our unique skillset, but it does succeed in allowing for a compression of rates during the negotiation process. I’m also a freelance writer, and we have the same problem…..we try to maintain, and raise our rates – only to find that publishers are ultimately, save for a select few, more concerned with filling space between the ads, than with quality….and there is a sufficient and growing supply of wannabe writers who will submit editorial for next-to-nothing, or even nothing. Just for a byline. The remainder of us holding out for standard rates…aren’t working.
    In raising the bar on rates, given the technological environment, are we being realistic – or idealistic?
    If I hold out for my $200, for example…a prospective client with a bottom-line mentality (and they all have it) will be tempted by the talent(s) willing to do the same work for $75. How do I compete with that? It’s a case of ‘if you can’t beat ’em….’
    The only way raising the bar will work is if everyone online, on the planet, adheres to it….then there are no alternatives. And that’s just not realistic.
    We could all agree, as members of this site anyway, not to work below a certain threshold…..but then we are all entrepreneurs and there will always be the temptation to dip below the threshold floor to secure a client in a heated bidding environment. Then there’s everybody else out there.
    If there’s a viable solution, I haven’t found it yet. But I don’t think we can support production-house rates, on-line. The on-line marketplace, at least from what I see, does not reflect such rates, and will not support them.
    For what it’s worth…… just playing the devil’s advocate, for reasons of debate.

  • Anonymous
    July 7, 2006, 4:12 pm

    Education of the client is one of the things I would expect from Interactive Voices.
    The fact is that very few union people go out for as little as scale. It’s usually some multiple of scale. So why not use the union rates (Actra, Aftra & SAG) as a benchmark and price at half that rate or some such fraction?
    If these clients knew a little something about the business they’d know that union scale is still a big fat bargain.
    It’s the people who will work for pennies who kill the business. Maybe they just don’t figure they’re worth a proper price.

  • Trish Basanyi
    July 7, 2006, 4:17 pm

    Sorry……..i missed the “Note” at the end. US Dollars. my bad.
    To answer Stephanie’s question, I think these rates are fair for the most part. I agree with Ari though, the National rates should be at least double.
    As for “raising the bar”, I remind many of my clients that you get what you pay for in this business. If you want to pay $50 for a spot then you’ll get $50 talent. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I was there once, as a beginner.
    But if we all charged the same amount, we give the illusion that we’re all THAT good. Sort of like in the corporate world, being paid for the amount of schooling you have, getting a $10,000 salary raise for a master’s degree and so on. If you’re a talent that’s done national work, then you deserve $400 for a local cable spot, if the client will pay it.
    However, when you’re a beginner you have to start somewhere, and I agree also with the point that the market size should determine the rate. There’s no shame in taking $50 for a small market local radio spot that’s only going to run for a week, as long as the client knows they’re getting local small market talent.
    I’ve many times done spots for small businesses, letting them know I was giving them a break on the price. When business picked up, they paid me my asking price the next time around.
    I could go on about this but the bottom line is there will ALWAYS be talent out there to do it for cheap, so it’s darn near impossible to “raise the bar”, so we deal with what we’ve been given.

  • Jon Terzis
    July 7, 2006, 4:37 pm

    In regards to your poll I think it’s way past time to update our rates.
    The product is the same, regardless of whether or not it’s done by a union or non-union performer. That being the case, remuneration is expected to be similar.
    It is understandable when a new talent wants to build their client base, and charges less to do so. Unfortunately, that hurts the industry as a whole. I would like to give the “newbie’s” a firm pat on the back, saying to them that if they’re in the game, be confident with the product they’re selling, and sell it at a fair market price.
    If someone opened a fish stand and sold his seafood for 1/4 to 1/3 of what the other guy was selling it for, we’d probably wonder “why”. Many would likely conclude there’s something wrong with what he’s selling and not buy from him.
    We have a product that we must value ourselves in order to expect clients to value it, too. Therefore I see no reason that our rates should be any lower than standard AFTRA contract. The savings for clients wishing to use non – union talent comes from buying out the services without residual fees.
    Of course every talent must make these decisions for themselves. But Interactive Voices is certainly not helping it’s talent base if it’s announcing to potential clients that $300. Is a decent rate for a NATIONAL TV SPOT !

  • Stephanie Ciccarelli
    July 7, 2006, 4:54 pm

    Hi Jon et al,
    Your comments are exactly why we are asking your valued opinion on the subject!
    True, a voice-over expertly performed by a union member is of the same quality as a voice-over that is expertly performed by someone of non-union status. That’s a very good point. I wonder where that concept first became confused in the marketplace. Does anyone know how this perception came about?
    On another note, I’ve seen a few people say that they expect that should be educating clients. And, I’m happy to say that we do. It’s a priority for us 🙂
    Last comment on this subject from me: If we have your support in our endeavors to educate, we will be able to do great things that will benefit everyone.
    I’d like for this conversation to continue and to hear from more of you as this is an extremely important piece of the puzzle.
    All ideas are welcome!

  • Ken Jackson Voice Productions
    July 7, 2006, 5:29 pm

    I’ve composed several blogs on this very subject, in one form or another; it all equals the same thing. This is 2006! I can say that with certainty and standing upon 43 years experience as a commercial broadcaster. I have a stack of standard rate cards that have moved and shifted as the times demanded – if they didn’t I would be sitting here in front of thousands of dollars worth of SOTA equipment and talking to myself.
    I started out many years ago going the union route and I was successful. I made several agents a lot of money. Now I do it all myself – because I can… I simply have established certain “areas of expertise” and I will not violate them.
    To quote $100.00 USD to do a 200-page audio book is insanity. To do a very professional video voice over for one client, get paid $300.00 USD, and then do another almost exactly the same as to production time and effort for another client for $500.00 is called free enterprise, and I know the ropes very well thank you.
    This is where I restate the thesis:
    It’s 2006! Today anyone with a 150.00 PC or MAC and the chat mic it came with can be a “voice talent.” The vast majority of “clients” are as new to hiring talent in “today’s” market as the “talent” is new to bidding and having the ability and “capability” to faithfully produce the end product. Therefore, “rate card” equates to “standardization” in a 2006 where voice talent is indeed simply “in the ear of the client” – period…

  • Jeff Blair
    July 7, 2006, 6:06 pm

    I guess I’ve been a bit naive. I have done most of my VO work in the midwest for smaller cable television producers and small market radio.
    I notice most comments place the rates listed on the low end.
    I have been doing :30 spots for $15 to $20 per spot. I have found that most talent seekers in this area see that as a reasonable rate.
    How do I approach them with the rates listed and not have them fly out of the room?

  • Jim Cates
    July 7, 2006, 6:45 pm

    Many years ago, I could get $75 to $100 for a local TV VO. Now, thanks to the huge number of VO “sweat shops” and DJ’s doing VO’s on the side, that will undercut those of us to whom VO’s are a sole source of income, it is difficult to get even $50 for a rip and read with 3 takes. I agree that, if no one would sell themselves out, then we could all benefit. The bargain basement VO’s hurt us all and YES we do need to band together !

  • Ian Fults
    July 7, 2006, 7:42 pm

    As a mature adult finally trying to get into this line of work after being told by so many within the industry that I have the talent, I found those prices reasonable. It took me less than an hour to do the VO for 14 Television spots, and at the TV rate you have there I should have gotten over 2800 for that work.
    But it looks like the others here who have done far more than I have get paid way more than that.
    So what would be my suggestion? A better scale, someone who has the experience and the contacts to get the BIG jobs should get more, but people in my shoes who are struggling to make a name for themselves need a small edge to get their portfolios up and the experience and growth attained.
    So I suggest a scale that allows the client to say choose a less experienced Talent for a lower price VS an experienced one, but the more they use the lower ones, then those talents move up the scale.
    Hope I explained that clear enough . . lol
    Anyway, Only now at age 36 do people realise that I ROCK at this, but I need to find out HOW to make money at it, so if anyone out there is looking for new talent, send me an e-mail and I will send some samples to see if my voice is what you are looking for. 🙂
    Ian Fults

  • Al B. Love!
    July 7, 2006, 9:24 pm

    I think the rates are pretty much on the mark. However, I charge $125 per :30 & $250 per :60 for local spots. And with all new clients I request a 50% non-refundable deposit on all production…NO EXCEPTIONS. YOU dictate to the client what you’re worth & not the other way around.
    If you’re willing to work for $50 a spot, then you need to ask yourself, ‘Is that what I’m worth.’ If you’re worth more & the client isn’t willing to pay you that, then be prepared to walk away. You never get what you can get unless you ask. And one thing to always remember..ALL MONEY IS NOT GOOD MONEY.

  • Andy H
    July 7, 2006, 10:12 pm

    It is nice to see a benchmark idea of what we COULD be getting paid and how we should charge for different media… In a perfect world hey???
    I am a professional radio announcer who voices AND produces up to 9 commercials in one day and for this (in addition to my 5 hour air shift) I get paid award wage… can you BELIEVE THAT … AWARD wage???
    I agree with this lady who said:
    “I think clients need to state up front what their budget is. Let the talents compete with each other by their vocal abilities, not by snagging a gig because you drastically lowered your rates to get the job.”
    I set-up my home studio, so as to be able to be paid PROPERLY for my voice talent.
    I am hoping that one day I could be able to be self sufficient and not have to do the 9 to 5 gig. Still working at it … however so long as clients are seeing voice talent UNDERCUTTING each other just to get the gig it’s not looking good.
    The music industry was exactly the same, when I was playing professionally.
    Perhaps I need to join a union. Perhaps we all need to agree on what we are worth … and STICK to our guns.
    Andy H

  • Sandy Greenberg
    July 7, 2006, 10:12 pm

    The sole commodity, offered by all VO talents, is their voice. This is your product!
    Whether one’s been doing VO for years or just getting their feet wet, the product doesn’t change. If one is pursuing local VO work or national VO work, the product doesn’t change. If one auditions for an audio book or a PSA, the product doesn’t change.
    The constant is the voice and the quality that its possessor must percieve and generate for each and every audition. The voice should be marketed for the quality one truly believes it possesses. If one is doubtful of their voice’s quality, or one hasn’t got rock solid faith in their voice, don’t put it out there! The perception of one’s own voice is linked to the value placed upon it.
    Accepting low rates is tantamount to an admission of having a lack of confidence in one’s voice.
    I’ve been in VO for a short time now, having been trained by one of the finest VO coaches in NYC. (A very recognizable name and voice to many people out there). A lasting lesson derived from our many classes and workshops is to not offer (I didn’t say accept) any VO services for less than $100, period!
    Knowledgeable folks in the NYC area acknowledge that VO, non-union, rates have stagnated. Union rates have, conversely, increased steadily. Over the years, virtually nothing else has remained unchanged, including the gasoline needed to get to auditions, etc.
    I’d estimate that the above-stated rates need to be at least 75% higher, at least in my geographic area.
    I personally will never cheapen what I have to offer, nor cast any dispersions upon my fellow VO talents, by offering my voice at a bargain basement prices! I’d like to believe that others feel the same way.
    Let’s hit, and maintain, a new VO high! And I don’t mean soprano.

  • Shawna Purnell
    July 7, 2006, 10:40 pm

    Hi everyone. As a professional VO artist for over 20 years, I feel it should be up to the indiviual artist to charge what he/she feels the work is worth.
    Up until the golden age of computers we could not tap into such a vast array of work. If a client wants my experience, they’ll have to pay for it. Just like any other career. The more experience, the more pay. No one should under cut themselves to compete with the low quoters. I have never had a problem keeping clients. We’re kind of like hairdressers, do a fantastic job and they’ll keep coming back.
    I don’t have a standard rate per say. I quote what I feel it’s fair for each project. I also take in consideration all the equipment I own and how much that has cost me too. I tell my clients, who are surprised on how much I charge, you get what you pay for. I made $50.00 a spot 20 years ago when I was on the air.
    We do need to stand together. That’s my 2 cents worth. Thanks.

  • Tom Guyette
    July 8, 2006, 12:45 am

    Seems to be missing a “video games” category. For that I’ve done 250 for the first hour in the studio, then 75 for each additional half hour on the project, including pick-ups and additional recording, regardless of number of characters.
    Interesting that these rates are based on the length of the completed product, presumably because it’s expected recordings will be done with the actor’s own recording facilities. I’d be curious to know if people use different rate guidelines when recording under the client’s direction.

  • adam Young
    July 8, 2006, 2:10 am

    Just at a glance, and being new to it all, it would seem that all the national spots and things are very low, while some of the smaller things seem to be about right – for one-off non-union jobs in the current market anyway.

  • E. Renee Thomas
    July 8, 2006, 2:24 am

    Thanks for this opportunity.
    Regional and Local TV should begin at $250. And, National, should start at $400.
    Radio is a lot simpler. $150 should be the beginning point for local and a little higher for National.
    Narrations can start as high as $250 for just 5 minutes (buyout). It may seem outrageous, but it’s true. Many non-union talents are charging far below the rates they should.
    Non-union agents charge 20%, so we should be building that into our cost.
    So many so-called ‘professional’ non-union voice talents are charging pennies for the work they do, leaving the rest of us to fight to the death for quality work and pay. If we all would start charging more, we would all get more.

  • Karridine
    July 8, 2006, 2:26 am

    Ian and others are right in noting that widespread competition NOW EXISTS.
    So it is up to US to prepare ways to show WHY and HOW Client Benefits from choosing ME/US!
    It’s ‘client education’ and ‘patient education’ and ‘selling’ and ‘persuasion’, because EVERYONE has a voice, and THEY don’t know what YOU know about standing there, controlling breath, modulating voice, maintaining nearness to the mike…
    Plus ca change, d’accords…

  • Ken Bishop
    July 8, 2006, 8:19 am

    It seems that many of you have been in doing this quite a while. I’ve been in the business over 20 years and while I would like to charge $500 for a 5 minute narration piece or get $300 per TV :30 we all need to realize the industry has changed and if we want to make money we all need to be unified. I realize that will NOT happen. The amount of people with home studios offering decent quality has more than quadrupled in the last 5 years alone, it’s not the same industry as it was 10 or 20 years ago so stick to your high rates and your principles or get your volume work up at a bit lower rate and keep working. There is entirely too much complaining in this business. I used to have to visit a studio to do vo now I don’t and I’m willing to take a little less and be flexible with my rate and negotiate with a client. TV :30 @ $200 and radio :30 @ $125 is what I charge on average. Best of luck!

  • Ron Altman
    July 8, 2006, 9:35 am

    Some excellent comments. And, after reading Ken Jackson’s input, I decided to throw in my 2 cents worth. I’ve been in and out of the “business” for more years than I care to remember. Suffice to say I recall the “Golden Days” of radio, when every producer recognized TALENT! Vocal or other-wise. One had to have a VOICE and be capable of using it or no one would talk to you, much less put you on the air. And that was the SMALL markets! I got started in announcing (yes, there was once such a designation in radio) because I knew I had a voice at least as good as most of the national biggies. This was at a time when employers were willing to pay for talent. Sadly, those times have passed. Most employers now wouldn’t recognize a truly talented voice if it were in front of them. And it’s not entirely their fault — they’ve grown accustomed to the radio “jocks”, who haven’t been hired for their vocal expertise for decades.
    As many here have pointed out, clients need to be reminded that they get what they pay for.
    While I believe the AFTRA rates are high, (they’re in danger of pricing themselves out of existance), I think the suggestion that we tie our rates to those in some fashion, is a good one. After all, those rates only buy the union-member’s voice. We, on the other hand, are supplying all the recording equipment, studio time and our own time! In closing let me urge all of us, especially those just getting started to NEVER SELL YOURSELF SHORT! I speak from experience.

  • Jim Sanders Beasley
    July 8, 2006, 4:52 pm

    Although this rate sheet is certainly shy of AFTRA/SAG scale, in some areas it is more realistic. I suggest that a cable rate be added at about the radio level or slightly higher. Cable still sells for and produces for less than broadcast TV (I’m assuming we’ll look again in two years and maybe find a different world).
    I think the national radio and TV rates are way low. Any decent client or producer doing work for N.Y, LA or Chicago or any of the larger AFTRA weighted markets (basically top 20 or 25) will be going through a union agent or talent. I suggest a Local rate and a second tier for National/Regional but not including N.Y., LA or Chicago (I personally include any top 25 market). If the client doesn’t want to pay scale or higher they should not be doing work at that level. If the objection is union paperwork or affiliation for whatever reason, the rate charged for non union should be very close to AFTRA scale. You can make a case for up to 34% above scale ($14% union P&W and 20% agent comission) to make it apples to apples. I can’t imagine that very much work at this level is going to come through these kinds of interfaces which exist and will flourish because there is and always has been more desire for work than available work.
    How about a minimum session or casting fee? That might weed out some of the riff raff wanting liners for their DJ systems or ego make believe web sites.

  • Sandip V Pednekar
    July 10, 2006, 3:39 am

    I think, this gave me a insight into the current rates trend. I am from India and am looking out for a job or some work abroad, as a RJ, Voice over or a Dubbing artist and for me 370 GBP per day would be enough to cope up with the current problems I am in.

  • Jerald Palmateer aka Mike Evans
    July 10, 2006, 2:42 pm

    This is all and well about the rates. Could you include rates for “per page” and “per word count” I see a lot of those and they want a quote. I guess one formula could be that a :60 sec spot is about 140 to 150 words and then go from there, but it would easier if there was a standard rate.

  • Karen Commins
    July 10, 2006, 8:19 pm

    Hi, Stephanie! Thanks for starting yet another excellent discussion! Rates have long been a taboo topic. Since the nature of the business has shifted to home production, we have far less opportunity to meet other talent in person at recording studios these days.
    My rates tend to vary slightly between projects and clients. However, I have always used the AFTRA rates as a starting point. I point out to clients that those rates are for voice only and don’t include studio production time. I then ascertain the clients’ budget and determine whether and how much future work will be forthcoming. I’m much more interested in building a long-term relationship than in sticking someone for a bill and never hearing from them again.
    I noticed that some of the preceding comments expressed fear of losing clients if rates were raised. The only way you can change anything in your life is to FIRST CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS! I felt inspired to write about developing a PROSPERITY MINDSET in today’s blog entry at , and I invite every voice talent to read it. By changing your thoughts to those of prosperity and abundance, your reality will change to match!

  • Bob Souer
    July 10, 2006, 10:31 pm

    For buy-out requests for radio, my rates start at $750 regardless of length. For television, buy-out rates begin at $2000.00, again regardless of length.
    For narrations (Industrial, Internet, CD-ROM etc.) my usual rate is $350 for the first hour and $95 for each subsequent half-hour. However, some of the time I just charge a flat fee that I believe will be fair to both me and the client.
    I just completed an audiobook master class with Pat Fraley in Hollywood and this is a very rough summary of our rate discussion:
    1. For the voice only (no editing, just recording the voice track raw), fees range from as little as $50 per finished hour to no more than $350 per finished hour. And those top rates only go to a VERY few stars in the audiobook business.
    2. For voice edited (no production), fees range from as little as $100 per finished hour to no more than $600 per finished hour, again with the top rate going to VERY few at the top of the game.
    3. For voiced and produced, (voiced, edited, bridge music provided, side turn cues, etc.) fees range from as little as $300 per finished hour to as much as $1500 per finished hour. (Same caveat applies.)
    As has been pointed out numerous times, if you don’t like the budget for a given audition, delete it and move on. I certainly do.

  • Stephanie Ciccarelli
    July 11, 2006, 10:41 am

    Hi there,
    The new rates sheet is available – I just posted it on VOX Daily!
    Check it out 🙂

  • claudia quinn cashman
    December 22, 2006, 8:19 pm

    I have been working as a voice talent for twenty five years, in upstate New York. I find that the ad agencies are usually up to par when it comes to paying for quality talent; it is the local radio stations that think offering $40 for a :30 is just fine…..and I have lost quite a few gigs because I won’t settle for that. I have worked hard and consistently to attain the level of professional quality that my work brings to a job…..interestingly though, for all my blather, I am a tad confused as to what I should charge for a re-record of a tv spot…i was paid $300 to do it last week, and had a message from the ad agency today saying the client liked the result but they have changed the script. The ad exec made sure to add to the message, “give me a call and we’ll set up a time and talk about money”……now….my first thought was to charge half of the original fee, so $150, for my time and talent. Is that asking too much? Should I keep it at $100 or even $75? What Would YOU Do? I’d appreciate advice……
    By the way, I was very pleased to see the rates that are considered “standard” by vote of other non-union voice talent. If you’re good, you’re worth it.

  • Stephanie Yax
    February 21, 2007, 2:17 am

    I’m new to this business. Have done a few local radio & TV ads. I’m currently working on an internet tutorial for a big name music company. I was hired by the media company producing the tutorial. All our sessions are being recorded & edited at the media company’s studio, so all I have to do is show up & talk. I’m not sure what to charge per hour & whether or not to count in my hours the downtime between takes. Some advice would be appreciated! Thanks.

  • David Rothauser
    July 17, 2019, 11:31 am

    Dear Stephanie,
    Do the non-union standard rates for 2006 still apply, or have they been upgraded for 2019?