Setting VO Rates

by | Mar 11, 2010 | Business-end-of-things, Compensation, Pricing

So many variables go into the setting of rates for freelance entrepreneurs.  That’s my opinion.  Others differ.

The arguments can get quite philosophical — wrapped up in value judgements of self-worth, market conditions, and even personal relationships.

I’ve heard ’em all.  I especially love the hard ‘n’ fast rules that always seem to come from the highly successful long-time voice actors who typically will say something like:  “….I never even turn on my mic for less than $450…”

Well that’s just all fine and good.  Did you start with that?

Those of us still struggling to keep a daily flow of work…who are developing a full stable of clients…who are ever seeking the threshold of fair pay for hard work… THOSE kind of hard ‘n’ fast rules are elusive.   At least they are for me.

Let me relate a story that just happened to me:

The call came out of nowhere.  A local producer wanted to hire me to be the voice of a conference being held in Vegas…I quoted directly from my rate sheet, and he seemed happy with that, AND my work.  All good all around.

Then he asked if I could refer him to a voice actor of the female gender.  He had another project, and needed a certain type of voice.

I returned to him a couple of names and contact information.

One of the referrals — a seasoned voice actor with a sterling reputation — returned a thank you, and continued to keep me in the loop with communications back and forth.

Then came the e-mail today.   She quoted him a price for the project they were negotiating, and then he returned to her an email ATTACHING MY RATE SHEET. She then very nicely mentioned in an email to me that she hoped she hadn’t scared-off my client because her rate was “…significantly higher than mine.”



— The client faux pas’d by sharing my rate sheet in the first place (I told him so)

— I launch into a gut-wrenching rationalization of my rate sheet

— I also launch into a soul-searching re-evaluation of what I’m worth and what I charge

On the VO-BB some time ago, the notion of “SPINE” became popular.  Rightly so.  The idea being that only those Voice actors with spine will stand up and ask for the price they truly think they’re worth.  Raise the bar.  Take charge.  Have chutzpah.

Great!…but there’s just this one caveat….




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