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