Let me help you with some frequently asked questions.
The information contained here is updated regularly. Please think of it as general guidance.
If you’d like more detailed information to help with your voiceover hiring, I’ve written some step-by-step guides in my blog:
I hope you find them useful.
Well, the Oxford English Dictionary writes it: “voice-over”.
I prefer the compound noun, “voiceover”. I also studied German at university and it’s full of compound nouns like Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.
“Voice over” is also common, but it would be nice to settle on a modern spelling.
In the UK, I’m commonly known as a voiceover artist. In the US, I’d be a voice actor.
The simplest way to price a voiceover project is:
Recording fee + usage fee
The recording fee is also known as a BSF (Basic Studio/Session Fee). This hourly rate compensates the artist for things like their time, performance skills and use of their professional recording equipment.
Voiceover costs do vary – and every project has its price, because every project is different.
Costs typically correspond to the genre of voiceover being performed and how that voiceover is used (the ”usage”).
To understand the usage, clients should think carefully about:
For example, will it be broadcast on radio and/or TV, in cinemas, on Spotify, on a company website, for a You Tuber with millions of views, as a You Tube pre-roll advert, on a video game, on an in-house video or presentation, at a conference, or at a one-night-only awards show?
Knowing these things will help define your brief. And having a good brief will help an artist quote fairly and accurately.
Other cost considerations are whether or not you’d like to direct and attend the recording sessions and how much recording and editing the voiceover artist needs to do, if they don’t have a producer.
If you’re casting for a TV commercial, you can calculate rates at www.usefee.tv. Naturally, TV adverts also shown on the web attract additional usage fees.
Independent Local Radio (ILR) rates are agreed with broadcasters by the acting union, Equity, and are updated annually. For radio commercials booked through advertising agencies, artists set their own rates within generally accepted guidelines.
If you’d like a quote for particular project, the best thing to do is ask, giving as much detail about the project as possible.
Again, this would be a case of:
recording fee + usage fee
And you would also need to think about:
E-Learning projects are typically priced per word. They can be long and need to be split into separate files, so rates will apply for editing and organising the files. Internal E-Learning projects are licensed for use for 12 months. Please enquire about courses that are sold.
IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response. It’s the recorded voice you get while waiting to be connected on a phone call. It’s also known as “on hold messaging” or – in the US – “telephony”.
I charge a basic fee, then a price per prompt. Please email me for a quote.
On-hold messages are licensed for use for 12 months.
Well, not quite. You can only the use the audio for what we’ve agreed under contract. Please see my Terms of Business for more information.
Under UK law, the voiceover artist retains ”performers’ rights” for at least 50 years and a right to ”equitable remuneration” for the ”exploitation of a sound recording”.
This means that both parties need to agree on how the recording will be used and for how long. They will also need to negotiate a fair fee for the ”exploitation” of the audio.
If you want to use a recording ”in perpetuity”, then generally speaking, we would have to agree on an appropriate fee for that. I should politely point out that I don’t quote this way, but I am happy to discuss licensing a recording an agreed use and period of time. It’s much fairer to both sides.
It’s also worth noting that a Copyright Tribunal judge can examine unfair contracts, in which intellectual property rights (in this case voice-over performances) are surrendered for little financial reward, so it pays to have an appropriate budget and a strict plan for how you will use the audio.
My voiceover recordings can be licensed for 1, 2, 3 and 5 years and are renewed on that basis. Practically speaking though, anything older than 5 years and the content invariably sounds out of date. See above for how much does a voiceover cost?
Please click here for a helpful video presentation about voiceover licensing for hirers.
Any voiceover recording used beyond the originally agreed usage (i.e. licence) would require written permission from me, and relevant rates would also apply.
Sorry, no. I can only quote on a per-video basis and I’m sure you can understand that I’m not able to give away my work for unlimited, unknown uses for nothing in return.
My recordings remain my intellectual property – and typically, these recordings are licensed for use for agreed media with agreed durations:
e.g. explainer video, company website only, 12 months.
Yes, I’m more than happy to do a few lines as a sample. However, longer demos will be watermarked with a tone or my name at regular intervals throughout the recording.
Yes, that can be negotiated at applicable rates.
I would really need full and final details of the project (is it for e-learning, a series of corporate videos or explainer videos?) in order to quote you fairly and correctly. Given the volume of work, we might be able to arrange a bulk deal. Please email me for a quote with full details about the project (or use my contact form).
Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, as I enjoyed working with you. When we work together, we sign a contract under my terms of business, which we are bound by. In this case, I would – at the very least – charge for the recording session.
That can certainly happen from time to time, as I appreciate the best copy sometimes takes a while to refine.
However, please understand that my voiceover would have been recorded on the understanding that the script had been fully checked and ”signed off”. We would have also agreed terms in writing to that effect.
If you’d like to change a script post-recording, that’s fine. However, if the changes are extensive, then under my terms of business, they would represent a fresh script and a fresh recording fee (basic studio/session fee or BSF) would apply. I’m happy to do pick-ups or inserts (additional lines) for applicable rates, but please bear in mind that any amendments may be noticeable, particularly if different studios or microphones are used.
So please, please check and double check before submitting your scripts as final. It will save us both time.
No, I’m afraid that wouldn’t be possible. That would leave me rather exposed, as I’m sure you can appreciate. However, I’d be happy to record a few lines – free of charge – for the client to approve the tone, before recording properly.
Generally speaking, if I were booked to record a job, recorded it in full, and the hirer changed their mind, I would still charge – at the very least – my standard hourly recording fee (also known as the BSF – basic studio/session fee).
No, I’m really sorry. But thanks for your enquiry.
Of course, when you’re fully up and running and your finances allow, I’d be happy to be contacted again to see how we can work together. Best of luck with your new venture.
Understandably, and besides my skills and time, the usual things that cost money to run a professional business: computer (and recording equipment), annual software licences, maintenance and upgrades, line rental and fibre broadband, lighting, heating, online marketing, training and skills development, membership subscriptions, pension contributions – and of course, tax.
Travel costs to and from studios e.g. rail and driving mileage (mileage is charged at 45p per mile). If you wanted to relicense a voiceover recording for further use, this would also be negotiated and charged separately at the end of your original licence period.
Payment is due within 30 days from the invoice date, preferably via UK bank transfer (BACS). For international customers, I can also take payments via Transferwise or Paypal. For new clients, payment may be due up front, or at a certain percentage up front, and the rest on completion of the work. FilePurch is one facility that does this.
Late payments may result in the statutory fee (£40) and statutory annual percentage rate (currently 8.75%) being applied in accordance with the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.