Voice Over Rates for
Professional Voice Talent Recording Services

A quick explanation on voice over rates. 

There are people who will do voiceover work for $5.00 or five hundred….for the same project. So, you have to be really careful and scrutinize the talent, product and service you are paying for.

Here’s a link to probably the best rate standards for voiceover published on the internet.

While I personally don’t agree with all the rates they post, it’s a very comprehensive rate sheet that makes for an excellent guideline.

While voice over rates have come down a great deal, so has quality. It’s a well-known fact that almost 90% of audio being delivered by home-based VO talent is garbage; it’s not even worth a fiverr.

...(read more)

So, consider that our voice over rates for services are for a “professional” product as opposed to buddy in the closet with a USB microphone plugged into his laptop, with the sound of a toilet flushing in the background.

Indeed, these rates are the standard you can expect to pay for a professional, quality voice over, minor revisions included and your ownership of the audio in perpetuity.

Our rates for non-broadcast narration (pretty much everything except TV, Radio and Internet usage) are calculated by Word Count.

Simply divide your total Word Count by 160 and that will give you “minutes of finished audio.”

Once you’ve determined that, use the formula below to determine the rate.

The other accordions contain reference information on rates for voice over for both voice talent and those looking to hire voice talent.

Image of recording console for voice over rates and voice talent rates information
Non-Broadcast Narration

Standard Rates for Non-Union, Non-Broadcast Voice Over Audio Content

***One Minute of finished audio = 160 Words***

0 – 5 Minutes finished audio (800 words) = $350.00

After the first 5 minutes:

$30.00 per min. up to 40 minutes.

$25.00 per minute 40 – 60 minutes

$20.00 per min. 60 minutes 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 recording gear and software. Studio time (included in the rate) is calculated @ $150.00 an hour.

C) Minor revisions within 30 days post delivery.

D) Audio delivery, archiving and secure server account.

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

Voiceover Rates – Introduction

Rates For Voice over – Introduction

If you’re on this page, you’re either a VO talent trying to figure out voice over rates, or you’re shopping for voice over services and don’t know what to pay.
“Why is that…?”

Well first of all, voice over services on the internet is relatively new – about 10 years old.

Aside from standard Union scale rates; we are the only company that has introduced a standard by which all voice over rates apply. This, is because we invented the business model and therefore had to create the rate structure…and then educate every one.

P2P (Pay to Play) and other voice talent websites sites have made a complete mess of everything using a bidding-based platform. Today, rates for voiceover represent the proverbial train wreck.

For example, P2P sites sold subscriptions to talent, only to discover that their business model of “more members = more revenue” was flawed. So, they had to come up with other ways to make more money.

Some sites now sell annual subscriptions to talent for $5,000 claiming they get “all access” to client leads. Since nobody really knows what goes on behind the scenes, it’s likely a total scam.

Voices.com now has turned into a telemarketing company, calling both clients and talent on the phone with a hard sell. Their rate for voiceover services changes with the weather; always on an upward trend for clients and a downward trend for talent responding to leads.

Voice Over Rates Explained

Voice Over 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, Saskatchewan – 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.

Rates for non-broadcast narration are calculated like this:

Total Word Count divided by 160 (the rate at which we all read a minute of audio on average) = 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 per minute 40 – 60 min

$20 per min. 60 and over.

Let’s compare, shall we?

Let’s compare, shall we?

My voice over recording 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, Skype, ipDTL – take your pick. 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 a P2P site.

They woke up in the morning and decided they wanted to be a voice talent, so they paid their $400.00 and got all the validation they needed to get their “career” underway.

They have no experience in voice over 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  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 have a phone patch, ISDN, Source Connect, Skype or ipDTL. 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 P2P sites 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 over talent on P2P sites is a very slippery slope.

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!

Audition / Quote Request

5 2 votes
Article Rating
Let me know about
1 Comment
Newest Most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fernando Godinez
Fernando Godinez
3 years ago

Thank you very much for sharing Todd for this great contribution to the Voice Over industry and community.