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Voice Over Rate Guide

A VO's Journey Voice Over Rate Guide

Brief Overview

This rate guide is meant to help voice actors that are beginners, intermediate, and advanced professionals in the voice over industry primarily working from home-based studios in a freelance capacity. This voiceover resource guide does not discriminate between full-time and part-time voice talent but DOES take into consideration WHAT I SEE as the realistic nature of voice work (voice acting) that is available on a large scale in the market today. 

I believe there is a discrepancy in the voice-over business between beginners, intermediate, and seasoned professionals. I don't expect a new voice talent to command the same prices as someone with years of experience. To do so, would seriously undermine the ability of a new voice-over artist to acquire tangible results in a reasonable period of time AND damper the ability of a seasoned voice actor to command higher rates and set themselves apart as experts.

* "Reasonable" will always vary from person to person but should not expect to usurp the appropriate time is takes to build a business. There is no fast way to build something worth while.*

 I also reject the notion that one price fits all. This is not a widely held belief and I am fully aware of that, however, it is my opinion of what I see.

Also, the voiceover niche is worldwide, not just localized to one country. I believe that voice talents work for clients around the globe with varying laws and economic differences, so taking into consideration the international community and the way it differs in price is vital to helping each voice over business grow and become more competitive in a truly worldwide connected marketplace, like the internet. 

So this voiceover guide is meant to help voice talent, at their current level of business and acting ability, price their work with enough room for the dynamic changes we see in our market today.

It is also meant to give the voice actor a fighting chance to combat AI, price changes, and budget variations, while not making it so difficult to understand the "Theory" behind a VO's rate sheet. We do not want a model so difficult that the whole of the pricing infrastructure falls apart. 

 

What Makes This Guide Special

I emphasize word count and replace the studio fee. This actually helps the voice actor make more money than typical industry standard prices, which is paramount to our ability to adjust for inflation and a livable wage, while allowing for adjustments globally. 

The "WORD COUNT" can be the single greatest equalizer and price guarantor that the voice actor has at their disposal. If we take a 1 hr studio fee of $150 and a live directed fee of another $100, with a local 3-month run at $300, a typical 1 hr session for radio spot in your town could be worth $550.

But, if we replace an hour of recording (which could be 4000-6000 words in a decently moving live directed session), with a 10 minute recording of 1000 words at only 10 - 20 minutes of recording, but we charge $50 per 100 words, and the licensing fee of $300 for a local radio ad run for 3 months, we are now at $800, which does not include live direction fees. 

This is an increase of $250 over the old style pricing. 

I am also aware of the inherent "Guarantee" of a session that is sought after. But if you consider the increase in work that is available by cutting the work time over 50% - 60% while still maintaining the same rates or even higher, this proves to be a great option.

I do not claim this is a better way to charge than other rate guides out there, AND, I recommend checking them out, GVAA RATE GUIDE, GRAVY FOR THE BRAIN, INDIE RATE GUIDE, etc. 

But, I believe it can be more lucrative for the voice actor and make more sense to the client to use the "Word Count" for pricing, while allowing the beginning voice actor to adjust for experience and skills. 

Disclaimer

This guide is meant for educational purposes only and based on my opinions, not anyone else's. This guide is meant to be a tool for your business, not a hard line in the sand. This is also based on my research, years of experience, and consultation from leaders in the industry. I am not a union voice or sponsored by any service.

** The prices in this rate sheet are based on my own voice over work, union and non-union standard rates combined with my opinion of the market and the 1000's of voice actors I have helped over the years. I firmly believe this is the way we raise the current industry standard prices AND make it more palpable for beginners, so we GROW the voiceover industry, not restrain it. 

Happy Voice Over Recording!

Non-broadcast AND Recording Fee - Freelance and P2P Websites 

Notes:  This section is dedicated to freelance and P2P voice-over websites for non-broadcast purposes (restricted audiences). This includes voiceovers NOT USED for ads on TV, Radio, or the Internet in audio production. 

* All rates are based on 100 words. This means that 200 words, for example, would be double the cost of 100 words. This allows you to scale your pricing accordingly. Please note that when charging a fee, you could be asked to do an hour recording session and record 1500 words. This would come to over $1000 for the recording fee. Please remember that you must be willing to cap a recording fee at around $200. 

* This section is also used as a standard recording fee, like a "1-hour" studio fee, accept it will only take you around 5 minutes to record 100 words. This "Recording Fee" should be added to a broadcast fee below, which should be treated as a licensing fee.

Beginner Rates for Recording Fee (0-2 years/US Dollar):

100 words - $75+

Intermediate Rates for Recording Fee (2-5 years/US Dollar)

100 words - $100+ 

Seasoned for Recording Fee  (5+ years/US Dollar)

100 words - $200+ 

Use this calculator to add your word count, price, and license fee. 

Price Calculator

Word Count: 0

Word Price: $0.00

License Cost: $0.00

Total Cost: $0.00

 

 

Broadcast License (TV, Radio, Internet) - Freelance and P2P Websites - This does not include the above recording fee so make sure to add it

Notes: This includes the licensing for voice over jobs that are used in ads on TV, Radio, or the Internet. Many times you can offer a flat rate but don't be afraid to negotiate. Just remember to have your minimum rates set before you cut a deal.

This does not include the standard rate for words you would charge above with the non-broadcast, so you must include the standard word count rate PLUS the license fee. With word counts, we treat words like a studio fee and should be charged with the license fee below.

Example: An intermediate voice actor would POSSIBLY CHARGE for 100 words ... $50 - $75 (studio fee) PLUS $150 to $300 for a 3-month run license for something local (One state or less). If this was 200 words, the price would go up to $100 - $150 PLUS $150 to $300 for a 3-month run license for something local (One state or less).

* All rates are based on 100 words. 

License Rates For All Levels:

- This is for Local (Your state or smaller) 

** Just the License:

3 months - $150+

6 months - $300+

Buyout - $1000+

*Make sure to include your recording fee 

- This is for Regional (The region you live in, typically multiple states) 

** Just the License:

3 months - $300+

6 months - $450+

Buyout - $1000+

*Make sure to include your recording fee 

- This is for National (The entire country) 

** Just the License:

3 months - $450+

6 months - $750+

Buyout - $1000+

*Make sure to include your recording fee 

(Be aware that some platforms will not support this and you will have to make a decision on what you will or will not do. Many clients will have a budget and you can either decide to negotiate or not. It is totally up to you as the business owner)

 

(Be aware that some platforms will not support this and you will have to make a decision on what you will or will not do. Many clients will have a budget and you can either decide to negotiate or not. It is totally up to you as the business owner)  

Audiobook Narration - Freelance and P2P Websites 

Notes: Audiobook pricing is based on per finished hour or PFH. This means that for every hour of "Finished Audio" you create, it is considered an hour of paid work. However, this is not a true representation of the actual hours you work on audiobook productions. Finished audio includes editing, mastering, and formatting for publication.

It usually takes between 3-6 hours of actual work to complete one finished hour. This is an important distinction because rates are based on PFH, not "actual" work time. 

* We are also including non-finished work, which is recording raw audio without mastering or formatting. Typically a person will correct their word errors on their own no matter the charge. 

Beginner Rates (0-2 years/US Dollar):

$50 - $95 non-finished hour (NFH)

$75 - $125 per finished hour (PFH)

Intermediate Rates (2-5 years/US Dollar)

$95 - $175 non-finished hour (NFH)

$125 - $225 per finished hour (PFH)

Seasoned  (5+ years/US Dollar)

$175 - $275 non-finished hour (NFH)

$250 - $400 per finished hour (PFH

Audio Dramas:

(The popularity of audio dramas continue to grow. However, the challenge of pricing multiple voice actors remains a challenge for the growth of this genre. I believe you can approach the pricing based on two ways.)

Price method 1: Per Finished Hour. You can use the above pricing for PFH rates.

Price method 2: You can charge standard word pricing like 100 words for $50. 

- Don't be afraid to negotiate based on your current work load and the budget of the author/rights holder.

Phone Messages and IVR - Freelance and P2P Websites 

Notes: Because of the quick nature of phone messages and IVR, prices can vary widely. Also, buyouts are typically included in the overall price since there would be no other reason for the use of a phone message/IVR.

* All rates are based on 100. 

* Typically we do not charge licensing fees for telephony, so we build in more of a price up front, based on word count/length

Beginner Rates (0-2 years/US Dollar):

100 words - $50+

*Based on 100 words

Intermediate Rates (2-5 years/US Dollar)

100 words - $75 - $100+

*Based on 100 words 

Seasoned  (5+ years/US Dollar)

100 words - $100 - $200+

*Based on 100 words 

eLearning/Corporate Narration - Freelance and P2P Websites 

Notes: eLearning and Corporate narration sit in between non-broadcast and broadcast voice overs. This is also why eLearning and corporate narration are more expensive than audiobooks because the pricing continues to scale with the words. Audiobooks use a Per Finished Hour Rate, although we do use words to typically decide that rate, it hasn't changed for many years.

* All rates are based on 100 words per minute.

Beginner Rates (0-2 years/US Dollar):

100 words - $10 - $30

or

$0.12 - $0.16 a word

Intermediate Rates (2-5 years/US Dollar)

100 words - $35 - $55

or

$0.14 - $0.18 a word

Seasoned  (5+ years/US Dollar)

100 words - $55 - $75

or

$0.16 to $0.25+ a word

(As the word count scales, you may find that the rate you are charging become an extremely high number. Just like anything else bought in bulk, make sure you are willing to negotiate a more equitable price for large projects)

Video Game/Apps - Freelance and P2P Websites (Remember to add Licensing Fees from above) 

Notes: Video gaming and apps are on of the fastest growing industries, but still remain one of the hardest to break into for a freelancer. Prices are usually based on recording sessions. However, for freelancers that is not how most are recorded. So, this guide will give a look at both words and recording sessions. 

* All rates are based on 100 words per minute. 

* Make sure that you use the licensing rates above to add to the recording fees below. So ... an intermediate voice actor could possibly charge $225 for a recording session and $1000+ for buyouts.

** Indie Games typically have MUCH LOWER BUDGETS and will not be able to afford these rates. It is up to you and your business plan on whether to accept those jobs when you are just starting out. 

Beginner Rates (0-2 years/US Dollar):

100 words - $10 - $25

1 hour session - $150

*Based on 100 words 

Intermediate Rates (2-5 years/US Dollar)

100 words (1 min.) - $50+

1 hour session - $225+

*Based on 100 words (1 min.)

Seasoned  (5+ years/US Dollar)

100 words - $100+

1 hour session - $300+

*Based on 100 words (1 min.)

ADR/Dubbing - Freelance and P2P Websites 

Notes: ADR stands for Automated Dialogue Replacement, and simply means replacing dialogue for better quality. This is usually done by the same actor but it has become loosely associated with dubbing, which is taking audio in a different language, or badly damaged, and recording over it for better quality. 

* This can be very difficult to do in a home studio and should be priced accordingly. 

** The hourly rate based on recording, not licensing, which is why I recommend sticking to "per word" pricing. This way you can choose to roll it all in one. But it is important to know the difference when working with clients.

*** This does not include buyout. However, most companies approach dubbing differently and will not pay licensing fees, since they are most likely already paying them to someone else. It is up to you to negotiate and get the best rate possible.)

Beginner Rates (0-2 years/US Dollar):

100 words - $25 - $55 

1 hr. session - $75+

*Based on 100 words 

Intermediate Rates (2-5 years/US Dollar)

100 words (1 min.) - $50 - $70

(This includes buyout per 150 words)

1 hour session - $85 - $100

Buyout in perpetuity - $75 - $135

*Based on 100 words (1 min.)

Seasoned  (5+ years/US Dollar)

150 words (1 min.) - $95 - $150

(This includes buyout per 150 words)

1 hour session - $125 - $200

Buyout in perpetuity - $175 - $300

*Based on 100 words

Meditation and/or Affirmation - Freelance and P2P Websites

Notes:  This section is dedicated to freelance and P2P voice-over websites for meditation voice over and affirmation voice-over purposes. This includes meditation and affirmation voiceovers used for personal reasons.

* Most meditation and affirmation voice over jobs require background music. If you are asked to add background music, this should be an extra charge. 

- $25+ Per Track Of Music

* Many clients also ask for you to write their script. This is also another charge (You can write it yourself or hire someone else to write it)

- $0.12 - $0.16 Per Word For Script Writing

* All rates are based on 100 words.

Beginner Rates (0-2 years/US Dollar):

100 words - $5 - $25+

*Based on 100 words 

Intermediate Rates (2-5 years/US Dollar)

100 words - $25 - $75+

*Based on 100 words

Seasoned  (5+ years/US Dollar)

100 words - $100+

*Based on 100 words 

** Make sure to add an extra fee for licensing if the client will use them to resell or for commercial purposes. These voice over rates should be consistent throughout your offerings, but also take into consideration that you might be creating one for a single individual, not for a commercial basis. In this case, it will be up to you to decide whether or not to charge licensing 

FIVERR PRICES

This section will focus on the price structure for the online freelance platform Fiverr. 

Fiverr has now been a part of the industry for over 13 years and remains a bone of contention for the industry. This guide is here to help you navigate these platforms, but in the end, it is solely YOUR DECISION whether or not to join any platform. 

It is also important to note that Fiverr uses an Amazon and e-commerce model for selling services. This matters because we need to embrace the "upselling model" as a viable way to make more money on the platform and remain aware that people are coming to Fiverr for services sold like products. 

Because of this style of upselling, at first glance, many look at Fiverr as a low cost platform. However, this has not been the case for a long time now. Yes, you can still start at lower rates to get your foot in the door, but the scaling ability for pricing on Fiverr is unlimited and can be quite large. 

Quick Note: Each rate difference will be cast under the idea of Fiverr levels. This way you get an accurate picture of how the platform works. 

Beginner Rates (Level 0 or Just Starting Out):

100 words - $30+

- Keep the same pricing for every 100 words after

*Based on 100 words

Intermediate Rates (Level 1&2)

100 words - $75+

- Keep the same pricing for every 100 words after

*Based on 100 words

Top-rated Seller (This is the highest you can reach on Fiverr and must have earned over $20K on the platform)

100 words - $100 - $200

- Keep the same pricing for every 100 words after

*Based on 100 words

Pro Seller

The pro seller program on Fiverr has gone through many changes and recently has made a large transfer of Top-Rated sellers. The pricing fluctuates from time to time so these prices may vary.

Prices are set at $100 to begin with and Fiverr includes one-on-one help so you can make your offerings more appealing to a higher-paying crowd. 

You must apply to this program and there are benefits and downsides, but it is another option.

Because of the recent switch of asking Top-Rated sellers to join the program without an application, it is not clear if it will continue for future Top-Rated sellers. We will have to wait and watch. 

Add-ons

These are extras that Fiverr includes for all sellers to upsell and make more money. 

Using extras allows you to make double and triple the money of your base price. 

  • Commercial Rights:

(This is for any promotion or business use through NON-PAID channels and/or Limited and Restricted audiences)

Beginner (Level 0): $50+

Intermediate (Level 1&2): $150+

Top-rated: $300+

  • Broadcast Rights:

Use the above "BROADCAST LICENSING" section for this as well. Remember, Fiverr sets this up as a dropdown menu, so most people only use one multiple. This is causing voice actors to leave a lot of money on the table. Make sure you are completely familiar with the platform and how to use all of it to maximize your money.

(This is for any promotion or business use through PAID channels like radio, television, and online ads)

Beginner (Level 0): Use Broadcast Section Above

Intermediate (Level 1&2): Use Broadcast Section Above 

Top-rated: Use Broadcast Section Above

* Commercial and Broadcast Rights should be sold separately and both should be added to one job if the user plans on promoting in paid and non-paid. This gives a client more choice to accurately define their situation and pay accordingly.  

  • Revisions:

(It is important to be upfront with your policies and expectations. Your clients will actually thank you. Also, typically we do not charge revisions if it is a word or pronunciation mistake on our end. Since we charge "Per Word", we do not offer free revisions because the client is getting a more customized price. Again, this is another deviation from the usual price structure of our industry ... use it to your advantage. If there is a subjective change, it is a charge. But make sure you are up front about it. Of course, you can choose to "Bake In" your rates 

Beginner (Level 0): Charge your "per word" rate

Intermediate (Level 1&2): Charge your "per word" rate

Top-rated: Charge your "per word" rate

  • Background Music

(This extra usually stays the same but is charged per track. So if you have a music bed, sound effects, and voiceovers, those would all be charged as separate tracks.)

All: $25+ per track 

(Since we can get background music for free, this charge should be based on how long it takes you to add it. This is solely up to you.)

  • Extra Fast Delivery - 1 Day

(This extra is only for people who are offering more than 1 day delivery time. However, you can create your own extra for 12-14 hour delivery)

All: $50 - $100+

  • Script Proofreading

(It is important when offering this extra that you clearly define what script proofreading means to you. For example: I will ensure the audio script sounds grammatically correct when I record it, or, I will correct your grammar and send the script back to you. These are 2 very different scenarios and I recommend stating them from the start.)

Option 1 (Just recording grammatically correct): $0.12 - $0.16 per words

Option 2 (Physically correcting the copy and sending it back to the client before or after recording): $0.15 - $0.25 per 100 words

  • Time Audio-synced

(This is for any work that you are asked to sync with audio or video time markers.)

All: $50 - $75+ per 1-3 minutes of audio

  • Split Files

(This can be for any audio, but primarily for eLearning projects. Many jobs can require 100's of split audio files so this extra is very important.)

All: $5 per 5 split files

  • Live Direction

(Live direction is when a client wants to connect with you while you record the script in your studio, via phone, zoom, skype, etc. We usually charge per 30 minutes.)

All - $50 - $100+ per 30 minutes 

UPWORK PRICES

This section will focus on the price structure of Upwork and the new offers on that platform. You can get to Upwork Here.

Upwork is broken down into 3 different ways you can get work:

  1. Sending proposals to potential buyers in which they can accept, decline, or not answer.
  2. A buyer elects to work with you outright and pays a fee you both determine is fair.
  3. Through your project offering (Gig), which is a new section in Upwork that is set up to mirror Fiverr.

Upwork still uses the "Pay by Hour" model on the website so you will have to put down an hourly rate overall, although this is not how we charge for voice overs today (We suggest $60 because this fits for two different search parameters. 

Despite having to list an hourly rate, VO clients will typically list a fixed price for the specific job they are looking to be filled and the voice actor can either accept it or suggest their own price for the job during the proposal.

Sending Proposals

It is best to stick with the pricing the client is offering, especially if they mark the "fixed" tab, which leaves no room for negotiation. 

The pricing for Upwork still falls under the pricing above:

* All rates are based on 100 words per minute. 

Beginner Rates (0-2 years/US Dollar):

100 words - $5 - $25+ 

*Based on 100 words

Intermediate Rates (2-5 years/US Dollar)

100 words - $25 - $75+

*Based on 100 words

Seasoned  (5+ years/US Dollar)

100 words - $100+

*Based on 100 words

** Quick note about long form narration. 

YouTube videos, audiobooks, documentaries, long form social media videos, etc. are becoming more prevalent on Upwork and other platforms. 

We recommend that you price this work like you would price audiobook work to industry standards:

YouTube Videos / Audiobooks

Make sure that you are fully aware of what the client is asking of you. 

Beginner Rates (0-2 years/US Dollar):

$0.12 - $0.16 per word 

Intermediate Rates (2-5 years/US Dollar)

$0.14 - $0.18 per finished word 

Seasoned  (5+ years/US Dollar)

$0.16 - $0.25 per word 

**As will all pricing, you may need to negotiate with the potential client. Do not be afraid to do so. We recommend that you always go in higher so you have room to take some away and still be agreeable. It is easier to go down in pricing, not up.