The Rating is the Hardest Part

I was interested to read this piece on the Voice Over Herald website that advises voice talents to post a rate card on their web page:

I definitely have an opinion on this but the preface to this is the strategy of a talent agent may be different than an individual voice talent. That said, here are my thoughts:

As an agent, I work on commission. I work for talent who expect me to negotiate, based on a number of factors that can include the usage of what’s being recorded (broadcast or non-broadcast; if broadcast, is it national or regional or local etc.), the length of the audio (if a narration), whether it will be on the web (and if so, where), the length of the session, whether this an ongoing job etc. But the main point is – they expect me to negotiate. A rate card locks you into a narrow set of rates before having all of the above information. It also limits your freedom to work with a wide spectrum of budgets and circumstances.

I certainly agree with the columnist that one shouldn’t charge more to one client than another for the exact same thing. But I disagree about posting the rate card. Perhaps there are some clients who would listen to a voice on a site and like it enough to want to know the price but then leave the site in a huff because there are no prices, but aren’t they few and far between? If someone likes a voice, I think they will take some minimum steps to potentially engage the talent – like dropping them a line to discuss rates.

And I think it far more likely that a rate card might “scare” some people off. The writer worries about those clients leaving the site because they can’t find rate info but how will he know about all the potential clients who have “only” $400 for that radio spot and the rate card says $500. So, they look at the rates and walk away, not knowing that there is room for negotiation. I think the pool of clients potentially walking away because the price doesn’t work for them is larger than the group who would leave the site because there is no pricing.

Or what if it’s a cool project or a charity where you might consider doing the job for a lesser rate. How are they going to know that from looking at a rate card on the site that states everything in black and white?

And most importantly, as I say above, you take yourself out of the negotiation process by already giving your price, given that there are so many variables when it comes to costing out voice jobs. This is a form of acting and the entertainment & broadcast industry has dictated for decades that the way pricing is done with acting & performance is different than a standard transaction at the grocery store. So my advice is: you have chosen to play in that arena so play!

Have a ballpark rate card that you keep internally which allows you to be consistent from client to client but don’t lock yourself into rates by posting it on-line. Try your best to quote on a project by project basis, once you have all the information about a potential job.

You might also want to read my post on Top 10 Tips to doing a Successful Voice Over Deal here:

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One Response to “The Rating is the Hardest Part”

  1. Andrew Charlton Says:
    August 21st, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Voice over canada is very best blog.. I have read here.. Thanks for sharing this great information.. You have great knowledge for voice over acting.

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