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  • Writer's pictureVersatile Voiceovers

Why you need to charge like a pro from the beginning!

A sign of a professional Voiceover is confidence in their rates! (which are market level or more)

There is a frequently occurring and problematic mindset that occurs with rates and those in the early stages of their voiceover business. It is often something I deal with when coaching in a 1-2-1 and group capacity.

That is, I should charge less than market rates:

(a) Because I am new; and

(b) The more deadly mindset: in order to compete and get work

Voiceover is a skill that takes time to develop. This is also true for any skilled profession like plumbing and engineering or law. There is a starting wage or salary that usually increases with experience gained over the years. There is a skills divide that commands more money in the economy for that profession. People generally want the expert and are willing to pay more to them in order to solve the problem.

That same skills divide is in operation in voiceover. However, unlike the other professions mentioned, it does not mean that you should charge less in the beginning than other skilled voiceover artists who have been doing it for years. The reason: the client chose you. They liked your voice and what you brought out of the hundreds of other submissions for that job. They don’t know about your skill and experience other than that you are the voice they imagined in their head when thinking about the project.

This charging less frame of mind is leading to a wider drive lower in rates and what buyers are paying in the market. Once a buyer pays less than market rates, that becomes the norm that every other voiceover will accept in their mind. Part of the solution is to value the work you do and to shift the thinking from short term (“If I can just get this job”) to the long term and sustaining a career. This is all about your mindset.

The other is to fully understand rates and pricing as a voiceover, which can challenging as a newer voiceover artist.

Rates are made up of your Basic Studio Fee (BSF) and buyout (where applicable).

Your Basic Studio Fee (BSF) is the hourly rate that is charged for you going into a studio to voice the project, or to work from your home studio. It is composed of studio hire and recording time as well as things like the lifetime cost of continuous vocal coaching, paying for gear and development of your studio etc. It encompasses the cost to the client for you to be able to do business ie put yourself in the position with the skills and gear required to bring life to the words on the page.

If you don’t charge an appropriate market level BSF then you will be disadvantaging yourself on a few fronts. First, If you quote me £100 as your BSF, why would I pay you any more than that in the future when you want to increase it to somewhere market level (£250 - £300). I would just move on. Also, it would produce a lower buyout figure for a commercial or gaming project. If I have hired you to voice an internet commercial, appearing before the content on Youtube as pre-roll video and your BSF is £100 you will end up with a buyout of £400 for 1 years usage, when the true rate based off the current market BSF minimum is £1000. That’s a 60% difference.

Yes, you are continually developing, but if you are putting yourself out there as a voiceover, it means you are on some level competent enough to give life to the words. Charge appropriately.

Of course, as alluded to above, this is as much a mindset issue as anything else. You need to value your skills as a voiceover artist. The value of you being a solution to your client’s problem. That you have value as a human and a voiceover artist. Thus raising your internal self-worth is also part of the process. Vocieover is not just about how to do it, you are an important part of the equation.

Charging properly from the beginning is vital to make your path forward as direct as possible. Charge less and you make it harder down the road. Essentially, you are kicking the issue into the future to deal with. By charging market rates now, you have to deal with any issues that come up for you around your value. Voiceover is not just about the skills inherent in the profession. How do you show up as a human being and potentially sabotage your vision and it’s fruition? These are things you must look at daily.

Deal with proper pricing now and attract to your business those clients that pay well and value what you bring over the long term. That future experience, starts with the decision today to value what you offer.


Come up with your Basic Studio Fee (BSF) and commit to quoting it to any client or potential client that you meet who asks for it. Develop the confidence to stand behind it just like you would rehearse your audition or project, especially when given a common line, “we only have x budget, can you do it cheaper”. There is a funny photo that adequately expresses how to respond:

So set your rates that you will not diverge from (unless you increase in later years) and practice communicating those rates with confidence, never apology.


Round 3 of “How to Get Into Voiceover” the jam packed 3 week Online and 1-2-1 coaching course begins early 2021. 3 weeks of immersion in the foundational principles of voiceover with a group of your peers. Cohort size is limited to 20 and included private 1-2-1 sessions throughout the course. Payment plans available including money back guarantee. Email me to find out more

The Advanced course “How to Thrive in Voiceover” is also coming early 2021. Going deeper into all the aspects required to run your voiceover business effectively at an advanced level, including core principles to run any business in Week 1, multiple audition demo challenges in Week 2 in every genre, and a deeper dive into taking your home studio to the advanced level including using Source Connect, along with private 1-2-1 sessions throughout the course. Admission criteria required with places limited to 20. Payment plans available including money back guarantee. Email me to find out more

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Paul Mclaughlin © Versatile Voiceovers


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