Keep that voice over prospect!

Alright, so you’ve got a prospective voice over client on the phone (or on an email). They’ve heard your voiceover demo, have explained the project¬†and are ready to hire you. Then comes the “make or break” question … “What are your rates?”

I call it a “make or break” question because depending on your answer, you’ll either get the gig or they’ll run screaming. Its especially difficult right now because due to the economy, many male and female voice talents have had to adjust their rates to keep the business coming. That’s good for the customer, but it means more fierce competition for us announcers.

There are those out there who have enough business or are in such demand that they can simply set their rates as they wish and not worry about possible clients that can’t afford it. For most of us narrators and voice-over artists, that’s not the case. So, when asked what are rates are, what do we charge? What’s the magic number that will land you the gig as opposed to your competition?

One way to deal with the quandry is to spend umpteen hours researching what others are charging, but there are so many available voice talents out there, it can take days or even weeks to get enough info. Instead, I’ve chosen to start putting the ball back in the voice over client’s court. When they ask what my rates are, I’ll often turn it around and ask them, “What were you looking to spend?” or “How much do you have budgeted for this project?”¬† Let them shoot you a number. Let them make the call, just as if you were auditioning for a gig that had a set rate. If the number looks OK, then go with it. If not, you can always try to negotiate.

—Russ Walton