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What should I charge for voiceover? Ack! Help!


One of the most difficult questions to answer in VO is what to charge your clients. It's a minefield! There are so many things to consider that it's easy to make a mistake. Gabby lays out a few things to keep in mind when your working on a quote.

What should I charge for voiceover? Ack! Help! - 8:20

Hey guys, thanks for joining me on another edition of The Gift of Gab today. We're going to talk about money, specifically quoting a job. Guys, I get it. I get it. I have been doing this a long time, and I'm going to tell you that second only to Performance, one of the hardest things to learn how to do, how to do well, and how to have an innate understanding of in voiceover is quoting your jobs. 'Cause man oh man oh man, there are so many options, there are so many intricacies to what we do and how the jobs are quoted. And I get it, I empathize, I sympathize, I have been there time and time again.


I understand it's one of the reasons why I personally get so frustrated when I see voice actors with a rate card because I'm like, "What are you doing? What are you... What are you doing? What are you doing? We are not that standardized. There are so many variables in what we do and how our jobs are constructed. Like if I were going to create a rate card that I was going to publicly post, like to my website, it would be 16 pages long. How... How would I... How would I... It's too much. That's one of the reasons why, you know, Talent agents don't just go, "Oh, hey, Mr. client, here's... Here's the SAG after a rate guide, you know, figure out what your talent's gonna cost you because it's too much. It's... It's way, way too many things.


We have to be very hands-on in quoting our jobs, and it takes a good long while to learn how to do it. When I was in casting, it took me years to get to the point of fully comprehending how to build a solid quote. So, like I said, give yourself a lot of grace and know that that is going to take you time to learn.


Do your research before you quote. Do it fast, but ask a lot of questions and ask the right questions until you feel that you completely and fully understand exactly who it is you are working for and how your voice will be used because the thing about what we do is that is precisely how our jobs are quoted. If you do not understand the scope of the work, if you don't understand how your voice is going to be used, for what length of time, in what type of market, and for what type of media or application, you can't build a proper quote.


Everybody's looking to get a deal. The market's oversaturated with voice actors, some of which are way too happy to undercut and try to make deals that are really crappy, not only for themselves but for the industry as a whole. Low rates are just a reality. I want to tell you a little story.


There is a company that is owned by Paramount, and it's called Odyssey, and Odyssey was searching for some voiceovers, and they were going about a casting process, and, lo and behold, they were, you know, kind of price shopping and quote shopping. And one of the things that I did in the early dealings of the job was I looked up who owned them. It was actually one of the first things I did because I had a suspicion when I got the gist of what they were doing and what the company entailed.


I was like, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Who are these folks?" And sure enough, I found out really quickly they're owned by Paramount, and I was like, "Holy crap, this is a big company. These guys have a lot of money." So, that was not a fact that they were readily going to disclose. That was not something they were readily going to tell me. I had to find that out on my own.


How I approached the job, yeah, it's kind of gross, but it's happening a lot, and that influenced and affected how I approached the job and how I approached my communications with them. I'm not saying it affected the price necessarily, but it definitely changed the way that I went about communicating and speaking to them about the terms of the job because it was the understanding that this is a much larger company than they led me to believe.


This is a company that definitely Paramount understands the voice casting process and understands the value of working with a voice actor and understands the process of working with a voice actor and things like session rates versus usage rates versus market terms. I was able to speak to them like a more experienced client and someone potentially with a much bigger budget on the table.


And I've seen this time and time again. We're seeing a lot of these subsidiary-style companies come up right now with everything from YouTube ads to localization in foreign countries. You just have to be very savvy and Google fast. Get out your phone when you're answering an email or talking to somebody on the telephone and really stop and go, "Gosh, who are these guys?" Because in your mind, if it's a brand name that you just happen to not recognize, you might be undercutting yourself. You might end up giving them this great break not really knowing or understanding that they didn't need one.


Don't be so quick to give a quote. We, as the actor, often feel pressured to give a number very, very quickly because we feel like if we don't, we're going to lose the job. Don't do that to yourself. That is what they want you to think. That's what any negotiation wants you to believe because unfortunately, that's negotiating 101. Whoever speaks first loses. So that pressure that you're feeling is actually a tactic to get you to be the one to disclose the first number because what they're hoping is that they can take advantage. They're hoping that you're going to give them a deal or a break or a lower figure than what their budget entailed.


Quoting is not an easy thing. It really does. It takes time. It's a process. And if I can be of help in that process, and if you need help with things like rates, check out the SAG-AFTRA guide. Make sure to consult with the GVAA rate guide. That's another great place to start. And, of course, there's always taking business classes with a coach like myself or any of the other great business coaches out there in voiceover who can help you to better understand how to manage your business and become a stronger voiceover CEO and business owner.


Thank you so much for watching, guys. Have a great one.



Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Charlotte, North Carolina, Voiceover Demo, Voiceover Coaching Advice, Working Actors, Los Angeles, New York, audio, payment, quoting, freelance, voiceover rates

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