A man sits in front of his computer with a coffee in hand. He's looking at spreadsheets that are tracking business income. Making Money

Money Matters: Is Your Voice Over Business Profitable?

Discover the Cost of Running a Voice Over Business in 5 Easy Steps

We all want to make a great living and be successful.

However, when it comes to building wealth, most people focus only on one side of the equation – income – when understanding your expenses is just as important.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a barista who makes $30,000 each year, or a banking CEO who clears over $400,000, if your expenses are greater than your income, then you’re no further ahead.

As business owners, voice actors especially stand to benefit from understanding their cash flow, inside and out. Not only could your expenses be tax write-offs, knowing how much it costs to run your business is the first step to knowing how much you need to make to be profitable.

Here are some common expenses and calculations to help you understand the cost of running your voice over business.

Let’s dive in!

1. Calculate Home Studio Expenses – Building the Studio

As you build a voice acting business, one of the very first expenses you may incur is that of building your own home studio.

While it is possible to build a home studio on a budget as well as employ several voice over hacks to sound better and save money, it does still cost something to build.

Keep detailed receipts of these costs and track them in a spreadsheet.

Many businesses categorize the cost of hardware and software as depreciable assets. Over time, you will have to replace them – but in the meantime, this information may be something your accountant will request at tax time, too.

2. Calculate the Cost of Running Your Home Recording Studio

With a home studio in place, now comes the day-to-day cost of running it, including power/electricity and heat.

Unless your studio is in a separate building on your property with separate utilities, your studio utilities are likely to be wrapped into the total bill(s) for your home.

Here’s how to separate the cost of running your studio, from your overall home expenses:

Home Studio Expense Calculation (Utilities):

Home Studio room dimensions = 10 ft x 10 ft = 100 square feet

Total size of home = 1000 square feet

% of home that is studio space = (100/1000) x 100 = 10%

Note: Take the size of your studio and divide it by the size of your home. Then take that number, and multiply it by 100. Voila! That’s the percentage of your home that makes up your studio space!

In the example above, you can see how the home studio is 10% of the home. Now you can calculate how much of your heating and electricity are for just your studio.

For example, if it costs you $1200 in electricity each year, and $800 in heat, then you know that your home studio accounts for 10% of each bill, respectively.

Home Studio Utility Cost Calculation:

(cost of utility) x % of home that is your business = yearly cost of electricity and heat to your studio.

$1200 x 0.10 = $120/year

$800 x 0.10 = $80/year

Note: In this calculation, the percentage is represented by a number with a decimal point. For example, 10% percent becomes 0.10, 25% percent would be 0.25, and so on.

Other Studio Costs

  • Internet
  • Phone/Cell phone
  • Subscription or purchase of professional video calling service (e.g. ISDN)
  • Insurance
  • Portion of rent or mortgage payments (same calculations as utilities above)

3. Tally-Up Voice Acting Professional Development Costs

While the studio is an obvious expense, there are some others that often go uncounted – and professional development is one!

Many voice actors swear by the power of networking, and the incredible benefit of receiving coaching (at any level of your career!).

If you’re making these investments in your voice over business success, then you should be tracking the associated costs.

This includes:

  • Group training sessions
  • Online coaching
  • One-on-one coaching
  • Subscriptions to programs (e.g. online classes and coaching)
  • Costs to attend conferences (entrance fees, travel, hotel, etc)
  • And many more.

4. Gather Your Voice Over Business Marketing Costs

All successful businesses need a plan – and step number one? Making sure that the world knows that you exist! Marketing is an incredibly powerful tool in a voice over actor’s toolkit.

Some marketing expenses might include:

  • Membership costs (for online job boards or voice over marketplace sites)
  • Producing a demo
  • Website design and hosting (one time and recurring/monthly fees)
  • Sponsored posts on social media
  • Google AdWords paid advertising

Note: Get inspired and learn more about voice acting marketing plans.

5. Assess your Voice Over Business Profitability – Find Your Total Costs

Now that you know what your totals are in each category, you can tally them up on a monthly or annual basis:

  1. Home Studio Equipment (hardware + software) Total:
  2. Home Studio Operating Costs Total:
  3. Professional Development Total:
  4. Business Marketing Total:

The next calculation is simple – does your income surpass your expenses?

Income – Expenses = Profitability

Balancing the Equation: Generating Income with Voice Over

Understanding your costs can be an eye-opening experience, but for many – it’s a welcome sight to see that running a voice over business is not nearly as expensive as it used to be. Home studio equipment is more affordable than ever, and many voice actors are saving a bundle on recording studio fees.

But most importantly, generating voice over acting income (through a relatively low investment) – has never been easier than it is now, thanks to our modern digital age. More people than ever are able grow their voice acting career, working with clients from around the globe, from the comfort of their own home through sites like Voices.

Curious about quoting? Read more about how you can ensure that you’re setting a fair and comfortable quote for your voice over work.

How Do You Manage Your Voice Over Business Expenses?

Do you have some voice over business hacks to share?

We’d love to hear how you’re keeping your expenses low while keeping the quality high!

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  • Avatar for Peter Baldwin
    Peter Baldwin
    February 6, 2018, 1:50 pm

    Good start on tallying expenses, but one often overlooked category is FICA and any required state expenses (e.g., unemployment) on income received, regardless of profit.