The voice over industry is a competitive one. These days there’s literally hundreds of thousands of voice actors all out trying to land lucrative jobs. Some talent display their rates clearly on their personal website, others don’t. So should you list your rate or not? The consensus is mixed according to online forums and groups.
There is a variety of arguments for and against. But which one is correct, and which makes more sense from the clients perspective? After all they are the ones doing the hiring.
A friend once told me that he will never purchase anything in a store that does not clearly list the prices on products. His reasoning was that they will look you up and down and charge you according to what they think you will pay. Now we may only be talking a few dollars here and there, but those dollars add up, but more so his reasoning was on principle.
Many voice actors argue that there are many factors that go into pricing a voice over job and they need to be fully discussed before a quote is given.
But really, shouldn’t the rates be determined by how long the script is and where the audio will be used?
These days clients have so many options, and more often that not, are pressed for time. Many don’t have time for endless back and forth emails, and when there’s another website they have open in their browser with clear rates, that makes their decision a lot easier. Plus it is kind of an insult to charge one company something different than another company simply because you recognise their brand name.
Let’s use an example. Coca Cola come to you looking for a 1 minute recording that will air on radio in Tampa, Florida only. Then you have a second company looking for the exact same recording, but they are a small carpet company serving the Tampa region. The job will require you to do the exact same amount of work. For arguments sake, let’s say you include two additional pick up sessions.
It’s tempting to want to request big bucks from Coca Cola, but I don’t believe it’s in your best interest. Not especially given today’s landscape. Plus I know how unfair it feels if someone charged me more than the person in front of me because they thought I have more money. And I know companies don’t have feelings, but those working at the agency pick up if you’re trying to rip them off, they have budgets to meet as well. And of course they are going to shop around for rates.
It’s a fact that clients don’t have the same budgets they did 10 years ago. Many multi-national companies are even dropping their accounts with big advertising agencies in favor of smaller agencies that can do the same job and save them money.
KEEP IT SIMPLE, KEEP IT CLEAR
A rate card should be clear and concise. It should also clearly list your terms such as retakes, or even the fact that pronunciations need to be provided when the script is sent. Any changes to the script will attract additional re-record fees. You’ll save yourself and the client a lot of wasted time and effort if everything is known from the start of the relationship. The client will also likely view you as more professional if they know you have set rates.
It may even end up benefiting you more. If you didn’t have all these terms clearly outlined, the client could come back and ask “please can you do me a big favor and just record this additional paragraph.” You might be inclined just to do it to get the job done and keep them happy. Yet it’s much more black and white if the client knows there will be an additional charge for this, and there will be no surprises from them when they see this on the invoice.
I know from my personal experience, if I’m looking for something online I have many options. If I visit a website and can’t find what I’m looking for within 10 seconds, I’m outta there. And if I need to email to ask how much something costs, I’m outta there. This means that visitors coming to your website could be leaving and you are missing out on jobs. These days everyone is in a hurry and rarely have time for back and forth emails for something that should be so clear.
But as they say, each to their own. What do you think? Do you show your rates on your website? If not, why not? Let us know in the comments section below.