Determining rates for voiceover performances

Determining an appropriate rate for voiceover services can be complex, especially when creating voiceover for broadcast. Here is a posting of SAG-AFTRA union voiceover rates for the Los Angeles area that illustrates some of the complexity.

On the internet,  rates are all over the place, creating disruption in the market and lots of anger from traditional voiceover artists. has a rate sheet posted that covers a range of voice end applications, both broadcast and non-broadcast.  Voiceover artist Todd Shick has a nice description of some voiceover rate issues.

Determining an appropriate rate for your projects (or for your voiceover work) should include the following considerations:

  • What is the final use of the performance files?  Broadcast is a higher quality, more demanding performance that has a traditional pricing model that is attractive to professional VO artists.Non-broadcast, less demanding applications, such as elearning or industrials, can obtain VO services from a range of semi-pro online voiceover performers, so the rates are much less.  The audiences and budgets are much smaller as well, so that makes sense.Since these are separate types of products with different requirements, pricing varies accordingly.


  • What is the level of quality that you are required to provide? Smaller home studios should not charge as much as performers providing professional level studio recordings. So a greater investment in professional level sound should allow you to charge higher rates.


  • What is your level of skill in performing the voiceover?  This is the key issue when determining rates. You are selling your performance, not your equipment (though a pro level performance is diminished in value when recorded on a substandard system).  Voiceovers are like other types of professional performances. You can immediately here it when you review the final product. The characteristics include consistency and control, an ability to create a performance that matches the specific characteristics needed for the final product, etc.Comparing VO with music, there are bar bands,  classically trained quartets, union studio musicians, and  touring name acts. Each provides a different level and type of service, and each gets paid according to a different calculation that can include name recognition, size of following, type of venue, etc.


  • Are you starting out, or have you built a name that draws in clients? Building your name and reputation takes time, but will eventually increase your earning potential. If you are new, without a established track record, (using the music analogy) you will not be able to charge the same as a touring name act…


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