Rate Race

by | Aug 27, 2008 | Business-end-of-things

Looking back on which of my blogs have garnered the most interest, posts about setting rates is at or near the top.19143859

Don't worry, I'm not going to re-hash long formulas here (see above link for all that stuff)…I just want to point out how making this decision can decide a plethora of issues for you, and it shouldn't be taken lightly.

Then again, you shouldn't agonize over it either.

Think about it.  Quoting YOUR price to a client tells them what YOU think you're worth.  That tells them a lot about you. 

This is a hugely personal standard you're setting.

So….what are you worth?..and can you back it up with real (or percieved) value/content/talent/goods?

The variables are endless.  Do you charge per hour, per minute, per page, per word-count, per how-bad-you-need-the-job?

Is this a returning customer you want to keep happy?  Someone you may be more forgiving of the rules?  I know many a successful voice actor who absolutely positively WILL NOT fudge on ANY stated rate sheet.  They claim they ask Union scale whether it's a union job or not, and they further claim their clients pay it willingly and keep coming back. 

Go ahead, post the question about rates on the VO-BB (many have – you oughta see the archives) and witness the wide spectrum of responses you get.  People are vehement about this stuff!

Formulas get complicated.  Grab a calculator.  Many boil down to so-many-cents-per-word.  Or so many dollars-per-page.  150-160 words per minute.  250 words-per-page double-spaced, 12-pt font, 1-inch margins….yada, yada, yada…  Is that a :30 spot or a 36,000 word AudioBook?  Should there be a difference in the rate for either?

I suppose it's important to get down to the math.  I've done that, then I do a gut check after I come up with a figure.

OK.  All fine and good.

Now…are you going to edit the thing?  "Post-production".  Clean up all the coughs, mouth-clicks, pauses for interpretation, planes passing over, and phones ringing?

Back to the calculator.  More variables.  Per hour, per minute, per job, per word, per page…?

I have a rate sheet.  Some clients who are detail-oriented like to see such a document. 

I think of it as a starting point for negotiations.  I see it as a personal statement, yes, but I also think each job and client has its own set of unique variables that demand a recalculation every time around.

There will be those who strongly disagree on principled reasoning.  I salute them.  I find it hard to be so rigid…and I may be shortchanging myself in the process.

But I like to think I'm giving each of my clients a personal service…in more ways than just voice.





Share This