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How much should I charge for my voice-over services?
So, you have set your own Voice recording studio and got your demo ready and the next question that pops into your mind is "How much should I charge for my services?" This is a common question that pops into the mind of most people who are just starting their own business. They agonize about charging the right price and worry that they are charging too much or too less. There is nothing to worry about really, it is a matter of just getting used to deciding your price and having the confidence to quote it and be ready to negotiate a little.
KOPS, you have asked me a very subjective question, but let me answer it as best as I can.
Voice-over rates are different for different kinds of jobs and different in different countries.
Advertisements pay you by the second, whereas a narration for a documentary will have to be considered on an hourly rate as the volume of work is more. You can also go by word count, on an average; speech rate for Indians is 120 words per minute. You need to know this as sometimes having a word count will help you determine how long it will take for you to complete an assignment.
You can decide your own rates depending upon how good you are. When deciding the rate- you have to consider the following factors: studio costs - if you are hiring a studio, time required – for recording and processing, and your talent: getting the perfect 30second recording for an advertisement may take up to 40 minutes of time to get a perfect take, or - there are also assignments in the phone VOIP field, where you may have to record just a few sentences that may take you half an hour to record, on the other hand a simple narration for 10 minutes may take just about 20 minutes of your time. All this is pretty subjective and will vary from person to person depending on factors such as experience, familiarity with the content, energy levels on a given day, or sometimes even the emotional state of the artist. If one is nervous, it may take longer to do the same job.
So, keeping in mind everything I have just said, you can decide a rate that suits you and your client, it can range anywhere between (INR) Rs 25/- per minute for large volumes of work to Rs100/- or Rs 125/- per minute for lesser volumes of work, and for ad spots you can charge up to Rs1500/- for 30 to 40second spot and go higher if you are really well-known or famous. (for example- if a film star such as Amitabh Bachchan were doing the voice over, he will be paid much more than a newcomer doing the same job.) As I said it is totally up to you and how good you are and how much of a demand there is for your voice and sometimes what the client is willing to pay.
Sometimes prices for assignments are decided by the client. They may have a limited budget for their assignment. If you do visit sites like GAF (getafreelancer.com), you will find that there are projects posted there that may have $30 as the maximum price they are willing to pay while there may be other projects where a person is willing to pay $250. It depends on the employer/client/budget/artist/experience. When you are quoting in dollars, you usually will have to figure out the cost in local currency and then covert to USD or Euros or whatever.
If you are applying for the job of a radio-jockey, then the payment scale will depend upon your employer. Sometimes free-lancing will get you more money as compared to a regular job, but it may not be a steady stream on income as that will depend on the assignments you get.
I’d like to sum this up by saying – take into consideration the studio costs, the time required, and do the math, work out a per minute cost- (assignments may require you to quote charges inclusive of studio costs or exclusive of those) then decide upon a rate that feels good and reasonable to you, and quote it with CONFIDENCE. Wait for the client to respond. You maybe surprised that they agree to your rates, in which case it is good. You can choose to quote a high rate and then negotiate a bit, or start at a low rate at first and then gradually increase your rates as you gain popularity, confidence and a good client database. This may work better than quoting very high rates and then being forced to bring them down if the client disagrees. Here is wishing you all the best – Cheers!