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An article about Savoa, written by Todd Schick, Professional voice talent

 

Rates for Professional Voice Talent Services explained.....

 

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Professional Voice Talent services for Commercial Radio and TV, Animation, Narrations, Multimedia, On-Hold Messaging, In-Flight and In-Store voice programming.

 

Introduction

If you want to go right to Non-broadcast Narration Rates, please click here.

If you're on this page, you're either a VO talent trying to figure out what to charge, or you're shopping for voiceover services and don't know what to pay.

"Why is that...?"

Well first of all, selling voiceover services on the internet is relatively new - the service is only about 10 years old.

Aside from standard Union scale rates; nobody has formally introduced a "standard" by which all VO rates apply. This, is probably a good thing, because rates for VO services should be commensurate with the product and service the client is paying for.

Voice123 has tried to set a standard, but these are also the same people who will take money from a plumber who woke up in the morning and decided he wanted to be a voice talent. People who do that have no business telling others (especially the plumber) what to charge for voiceover services.

Rates Explained

So, what to pay and what to charge for voice-over services? It's both complicated and simple....and almost impossible to account for every single variable involved in formulating a quote for VO. Let's tackle the complicated part first. Let's say someone drops us an e-mail and says:

"I have a :30 second commercial I need to get voiced. How much?"

OK. Radio, TV, Cable, Internet, In-Store, Point-Of-Sale, In-arena during a hockey game, at the gas pump on the TV mounted overhead? How are you going to use that :30 seconds of VO magic? Where is it going to be used and for how long?

Non-union rates are almost always a buyout, so you pay for your usage within the fee for services rendered. That taken care of, the next step is to roughly figure out how many people that :30 second commercial is going to reach. If it's for Joe's Pizza broadcast on a small market radio station in Nowhere, Saskachewan - probably about $250.00. If it's for New York Fries broadcast in New York on several radio stations for 13 weeks, it could pay $2500, because it will likely reach millions.

It could also pay $4,000.....or $2500.....it depends on the budget, if there's an agent involved, there could be 15 "local" tags on the spot so it can run in other markets and so on...

Commercial work.....complicated. Narration, however.....much simpler.

Narration (with the exception of broadcast narration for TV) is not normally broadcast, therefore the "reach" is predictable and easier to calculate. In fact, it's other VO talent who make it complicated by saying stupid things like:

"$25.00 a page".....or "$200.00 an hour..."

These people are idiots and should be avoided. The rate for narration is calculated like this:

Total Word Count divided by 160 (the rate at which I read a minute of audio) = Total Minutes of finished audio, or edited, mastered and delivered to client.

Simple. Here's my rate structure for narration:

Standard (non-broadcast) Narration:

0 - 5 Minutes finished audio = $350.00

After the first 5 minutes:

$30.00 per min. up to 40 min

$25.00 per minute 40 - 60 min

$20.00 per min. 60 and over.

The 5 minute minimum includes:

A) The buy-out (ownership) of the audio.

B) Studio time to record and edit the audio, using professional gear and software. (Studio time is calculated @ $150.00 an hour).

C) Minor revisions within 30 days post delivery.

D) Audio delivery, be it ISDN, FTP, Source Connect or other methods.

E) Project Management, Accounting and Administration (we have a staff to handle this, where most other talent do not).

Let's compare, shall we?

My studio is state of the art - very professional. It's sound is as good or better than some of the finest recording studios in the Toronto area. I have well over 25 years experience at both voiceovers and recording. You can direct via phone patch, ISDN, Source Connect or AudioTX. I have a staff who actually answer the phone. Clients are normally extended 30 days net payment terms, with the exception of first-time clients.

Next, let's compare my price to a voice talent on Voice123.

They woke up in the morning and decided they wanted to be a voice talent, so they paid Voice123 $300.00 and got all the validation they needed to get their "career" underway.

They have no experience whatsoever.

Their "studio" is located in their closet at home, because someone is always flushing the toilet. Because they have so much noise, they use a dynamic mic like and RE20 or RE27, because that's what the guy at the music store told them to buy. They know little about recording, editing or mastering audio nor have the correct software or gear to do so.

As for service, they almost always have a "day job" and can't work on your stuff until they get home after 5pm. They don't know what FTP is, but they can attach something to an e-mail; good luck getting the file. They don't have a phone patch, ISDN, Source Connect or AudioTX. They'll demand you pay up-front for your audio via PayPal.

For this service, they will charge either:

A) $25 a page...or,

B) $2500.00.

I'm not kidding. I post jobs on Voice123 at least 3 times a year, asking for rates and auditions. The rates are all over the place and almost all the audio and talent is garbage; lousy reads, tons of Old Radio Guys (ORGs), crappy mics, tons of compression or both.

I had one response from a so-called "professional", quoting on 15 minutes of finished audio, who told me:

"By now you have learned that the rate for this job is about $2500.00. I'm willing to work for half that, because I have my own studio...."

This guy didn't even submit a custom audition and he had a terrible demo. Yeah....hiring voice talent on Voice123 or Voices.com is a very slippery slope. It's a lot like on-line dating or a box of chocolates:

"Yah never know what yer gonna git..."

I charge what I feel is a fair rate for a quality product and excellent service. Professional studios with much higher overhead will charge upwards of $250.00 an hour studio time, long before you've even hired the voice talent. Taking that into consideration, my rate is very good considering that the recording and talent is included in the one price......and, the client doesn't even have to leave their chair at the office.

I hope this gives you a better idea on what to charge as or what to pay for "professional" voice talent with their own home studio. Click the button below to fill out my quote form (simple and easy) and I'll get back to you right away.

Thanks for reading!

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