Rates Redux

by | Mar 12, 2010 | Compensation

Thinking back…I’d have to say I get the most spirited reaction to blogs about setting freelance VO rates…and I’ve done a few of those blogs, ’cause the issue keeps coming back for me.

I wasn’t overwhelmed with a response to yesterday’s blog: SETTING VO RATES, but the few who chimed in added much to the conversation.

Perhaps the best post-script to yesterday’s tale was the response from my client.  I’ll save that for last.

If you read the comments to the blog, you’ll see that VO talent Jeffrey Kafer cautioned me to NEVER share my rate sheet with clients.

The dean of VO blogging — Bob Souer — reminded me that it’s great to have a spine about these issues, but reminded me that a spine is flexible, else we would never be able to tie our shoes.

I liked the response that came from a follower on Google Buzz:  “…sounds like a tough thing to gauge, I would imagine though that your work speaks for itself (literally) and that the client would find value in your service. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to mention on your rate sheet that these are introductory prices and you are building a business so take advantage of these low rates as they are lower than industry standard. I also like the idea of asking for more but that comes with lots of experience and rock solid reputation…”

Voice actor Justin Barrett responded that, I kinda like the approach of telling the client you’re building a business. However, could that not easily backfire if the client interprets “building a business” as “not yet a working professional”?

The female voice talent mentioned in my tale responded with a wonderfully eloquent and involved email explaining her rationale for not really HAVING a rate sheet.  The response was so reasoned and savvy that I’ve asked her permission to reprint excerpts here so we may all benefit.  If she acquiesces, I’ll post that very soon (tomorrow?).

But here’s the response from my client that I promised above: He called me today apologizing for sending the rate sheet to the female VO talent, saying as soon as he hit the “send” button, he regretted it.  I believe him.  I told him that the whole experience has sharpened my ideas about setting rates, and made me re-evaluate my worth as a developing voice actor.  The conversation ended with a much better understanding of the process for each of us.

But here’s the real kicker:  The client (God bless ‘im) told me in the course of the conversation that “…Dave, I would’ve paid you more for your services…”

Wow!  See?  I left money on the table.  I didn’t ask what I was worth.  My product is undervalued.  I’m not respecting enough myself OR my work.  I’m selling short.

Lesson learned.  A valuable lesson.  I’ve already augmented my rate sheet, and am promising myself to remember to say to future clients:  “Tell me how much you’ve budgeted for this project.”….or….”What is the most you’re willing to pay me, and still feel like you’re getting a fair deal?”

Check back here over the weekend, when I hope to have the sage advice from the seasoned female voice talent who was willing to generously share her thoughts on this issue.




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