When we talk about rates within the voice over community, there is always a lively discussion. Money seems to bring the best and the worst out of people. There are all kinds of opinions, expressed by Dave Courvoisier, by John Pruden, and by Paul Strikwerda. Some believe passionately that the market should dictate rates, and others believe just as passionately that if we are going to be respected for the work that we do, we need to have a baseline for the minimum amount we should accept. They bemoan the discount sites — such as Fiverr.com, Guru.com, and Elance.com — and those that promote their voice over services on these sites as cheapening the value that they bring. Who will want to pay $250 for a :30 regional commercial when you can get it for $50? Or less?
However, there are two points that are often missed. In a rate-competitive environment, voice over actors will sharpen their skills AND clients will get what they pay for. While I don’t know this for a fact (but I hear lots of stories), when clients pay cheap prices for voice over work, their own customers often don’t like the outcome. If they don’t like the finished product, they either don’t hire the client again or they go with someone reputable and professional.
I am a big believer in educating both the buyer of voice over services as well as the voice over talent, and there is one group that seems to stand out in wanting to do exactly this. That is World-Voices.org or Wo-VO.
Also, a new video is making the rounds about this topic, which can be seen below:
Thanks to the panelists, who are always very gracious in sharing their time, talent, and expertise with those in the VO world.
So, in summary, there is a lot of discussion around this topic, so I encourage you to do what you can to educate yourself on what is a fair rate. Know what you need to know about what to charge your clients, and learn how to make those difficult conversations not so difficult at all. You do yourself and everyone else a disservice if you don’t. We are all a part of a larger community, and we need to stick together so that we lift everyone up.