Not Just a Pretty Voice: Part 6

Rates – What should you charge?

What you charge is not about how long it takes or how easy it is to do. It’s about what it’s worth to the client and what you consider you yourself are worth.

And don’t forget, the job might take 10 minutes to record and edit, but what about the electricity you’re using to power your computer? The software you’re recording on? Your microphone? These things cost YOU money. How are you going to pay for them when they need replacing or updating if you’re not charging a respectable rate for your voiceover services?

By all means, offer a lower rate or work for free while building up your demos. But make sure the person/company you’re working for KNOWS this is an exception, you’ve balanced the value of the experience you’ll gain against what you’re willing to do it for and that one day – you’ll be asking to be paid standard rates.


Equity members have access to a ratecard for commercials and other documents. There are also a number of other resources online. The aforementioned directory sites have help sections which include guides to average rates. Gravy For The Brain has an excellent ratecard to use as a guide.

It’s a minefield and only with time and practice will you learn to balance what the job is worth, what YOU are worth and how to measure it against what your competitors are charging. Don’t lowball. Be honest. If you asked for several quotes from a professional, would you REALLY go with the cheapest? Why are they so cheap? Are they that desperate for the work? If so, why?

And finally...

Don’t forget – If you’re choosing to make this a career, time is money. It’s a business. Here’s the plumber analogy again – You wouldn’t ask him/her a few questions about washers and boilers then tell people you’re a professional installer, would you? When you call out a plumber, you’re paying for their time, skills and specialist equipment – Skills and equipment that will have taken them years and significant financial investment to acquire. This is no different.

Don’t get me wrong. You can do this solely part-time or even casually to make a bit of extra money. But do it properly. Invest as much time and money as you can afford. Practice. Experiment. Listen to the good, and the bad. Record yourself. Be critical. Don’t be one of the bad examples.

If you don’t, you’re devaluing not just yourself and the skills you’ve acquired, but everyone else’s too.