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What Price Does Your Voice Over Brand Command - This Is Vital To Understand

May 12, 2020

“So, just in case you didn’t know it yet, you’re a can of soup”…

“What? How do you come to that conclusion?”

“Well, you have a label, don’t you? And content? And you’re attracted to some, but maybe not to others, for all sorts of reasons… and you’ve got a price! 

But who sets that price? YOU? Or your market? Or both?...

All good questions that we will explore in this article, What price does your Brand command?

Not sure if you’ve struck upon it yet, but there will come a time in your VO journey when someone tells you:

1. They like your voice and

2. They’d like you to forward your rate card…

I don’t think, in all my years as a voice talent, when I’ve sent my rate card to someone, they’ve emailed back and said Great! I love your rates! Here’s a Voiceover job for you! 

There’s usually some form of negotiation that takes place, which brings up a good point… In the days of Advertising Agency voiceover bookings, rates were generally set by the agency, and the voice talent didn’t really have to worry about how much they’d receive because the rates of pay were usually very good!

However, in the modern landscape of voiceover, we have to be negotiable to survive… why? Because we are dealing directly with the business owner or individual and your potential customers are doing exactly the same thing in their own businesses, negotiating their own prices, features and benefits with their own customers… So, I’m sure they’d figure, why should we be any different?

What is your worth and when is the price not enough?

Every ‘buyer’ you come across is geared to the mindset of “what’s in it for me?”

Your potential client wants to know first up, “How cheaply can I get a quality voice to record the project I’m working on?” That’s why it’s important to know your business's brand worth and your walk-away point.

We’ve all seen the job listings that want you to record a million words for 2 dollars per finished hour… No matter what you do or say, these potential buyers will never see ‘Pay More’ and are just out to spend as little as they can to get ‘the job’ done and are usually ignorant to what work is required by you and how much time it will take to complete… this is why sometimes you are better to just ‘stick to your guns’ (your lowest price) and walk away…Believe me, there’ll be more voiceover offers to consider...

Promises, promises, and the race to the bottom...

Without sounding bitter and twisted, sometimes potential buyers will want you to ‘bend over backward’ on your price because the work they are offering will be ongoing into the future and is guaranteed to feed you and your family for generations and you’ll never need another client again!... sounds great right?

Sadly, this is rarely true… I mean, how many freelancing voice talents do you know who work tirelessly for one client who keeps them in constant, well paid, and satisfying work? 

Have you ever heard a talent say, “No, no, no, I couldn’t possibly take on any more work, I’ve got one client who’s more than enough for me?” 

No, me neither...

These are the reasons why you have to set ‘your price’ and have a reasonable understanding of your ‘walk away’ point. 

Here’s an example to work from:

Let’s say I set my price at $120.00 an hour which includes everything. This means, when I’m working, I want to be earning roughly half that figure. 

How does that work?

I’ll explain…

Do I always make $120.00 per hour ‘in the hand’ when working freelance? It would be nice, and it happens sometimes on bigger more corporate jobs, but of course, not everyone has that level of funds to provide... 

Also, keep in mind, it doesn’t always take me a full hour to complete a voiceover job, so I can be a bit negotiable for people who have a budget that doesn’t meet mine.

We also have to consider that tax, commissions, and subscription fees, etc, all come out of your hourly figure so, in the example of $120.00 per hour, if we were talking about a freelance site like Fiverr, they relieve you of 20% of what you earn, as most sites do, or you pay a subscription, so, for our example, we are already down to $96.00. 

Then there’s income tax and I personally ‘tuck away’ a third of my earnings, $26.00 in this case, just to be sure.

So, after everything is covered, we’re down to about $70.00 in my pocket with all taxes and fees removed… 

So you see, It doesn’t take too long to figure out you can’t work for $5.00 or $10.00 dollars per job and build a sustainable voiceover business in the long term. But it can be fine whilst you are learning. Think of it as a cheap education in the art of voiceover and as you improve, you can set your rates higher and command a better price per hour…

"This is where you brand comes in. A brand allows you to charge more because you are trusted and known. Trust is vital to your success and you do that through building a solid name for your self." 

When it comes to working for ‘words per hour’ you can set your rate at what you feel is fair for you. I’d suggest at the very least 10 cents per word if you are new to the task at hand and a reasonable rate is 35 cents per word for long-form narration and audiobooks.

How do you navigate a global economy?

We’re in an unprecedented time right now…

Never before was it possible, without the assistance of international advertising agencies for a voice talent to work for companies and individuals offshore…

However, with the ever-evolving landscape of voiceover talent working from home, we have the unique opportunity to provide our services to the world… and with that, comes all sorts of levels of pricing. What’s a business in mainland China happy to pay for voiceover? What about Kuwait or Turkey? Malaysia, Korea, or Kiev??

It’s all different, which is why you need to have a rate card to work from as a guide to what your brand is currently worth and negotiate from there… 

Good luck with your world domination! You got this!


To your continued voiceover success,

Anthony Pica


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