Yolanda Spearman

Voice Talent, Author, Trainer.

Bold. Powerful. Thoughtful. And Always

Black girl magical


How much should I pay for my voiceover talent?

by | Oct 15, 2022 | voiceover

After searching for weeks for a voice that sounds like Viola Davis (but at less than Viola prices), you found her… but you don’t know how much she should be paid.  Your team thinks her commercial demo sounds great, but where do you go from there?

This is a common issue for both voice buyers and voice talent alike. There are many nuances, and one short article cannot cover everything, but I can point you in the right direction. If you want to create a budget for the talent you plan to have in your marketing campaign, you must first determine:

  1.  Where will you use the advertisement? Will it be on digital platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Facebook? Or perhaps broadcast usage like TV or Radio? Or is this an internal/nonbroadcast project?
  2. Where will you be advertising? Regionally, nationally, locally, or worldwide?
  3. How long do you plan to use this particular campaign?  2 weeks, 3 months,  6 months, 1 year?
  4. Do you plan to have the voiceover artist do cutdowns from a :30 spot to a :15 spot?
  5. How long do you think your session will be? 1 hour? More? Less? Will it be directed or a self-record?

In this VO world, all of these questions matter, and each response will help determine a rate for your project. If it feels overwhelming, don’t worry – it can be. There are resources available to help you.  Many voice actors are SAG, so they will often use union rates. The SAG website can help you with this at www.sagaftra.org/contracts-industry-resources/voiceover.

Additionally, there are a host of non-union voiceover artists like me, who use tools such as https://globalvoiceacademy.com/gvaa-rate-guide-2/. If you look at this guide you will find price ranges for just about everything that you can do with your project.

Here is one last tip. AVOID the word PERPETUITY in your campaign, if possible. It hurts voiceover actors by preventing them from working in your category forever. I know that sounds melodramatic, but that is the way the business works. Professional voice artists will respectfully ask you to remove words like “exclusivity” and “perpetuity” from any contracts. Remember, voice actors are not employees, so they have to be very careful when it comes to signing a contract with words that may prevent them from procuring work in the future.


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