What to Charge as a Voiceover Artist

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How much you can charge as a voice actor depends on the medium, market, project size and scope, your union status, and your experience in the field. If you want to learn more—plus learn some expert tips from industry insiders—this voiceover rate guide has you covered.


How to set voiceover rates

Counting money



Are you recording a TV commercial, film, radio spot, audiobook, video game, or multimedia project? You can expect to charge a different amount for each. As per Voices, Gravy for the Brain, and BunnyStudio, here are some expected ranges

  • Radio spot: $250–$350
  • TV commercials: $100–$10,000
  • Audiobook: $2,000–$5,000 
  • Video games: $200–$350/hr
  • Starring role in animated feature film: $10,000


Consider location (local, regional, national, or international) and length of use (weeks, years, or forever). You can find a full breakdown of the market price ranges at the Global Voice Academy Guide.

Project size and scope

You’ll also want to consider the amount of time desired for the recording and its word count when determining what to charge. Your hourly rate for voiceover work is calculated based on the per-finished hour (PFH). For example, for zero to two finished minutes with a word count of under 400, you can usually charge $100–$500; and for 45–60 finished minutes with a word count of over 5,500, you can usually charge $1,300–$2,500.

Union status

SAG-AFTRA members working on a union project receive minimum rates. SAG voiceover rates will usually be higher than those for nonunion members; however, those who aren’t yet in SAG can usually charge within 10% of union minimum rates.


Finally, your experience and reputation in the field dictate the amount you can charge. Notorious narrator David Attenborough can charge thousands of dollars per minute, while voiceover rates for beginners will start at a much lower range.

What to consider before offering a quote, according to CD Kate McClanaghan

voiceover artist

Eduard Goricev/Shutterstock

1. Worth

Know what the job is worth. Many VO actors offer the lowest common denominator and don’t charge enough to begin with.

2. Precedence

Whatever quote you offer sets a precedence the client will come to rely on in all your future dealings. This rate will be passed on to their colleagues when they refer you, as well.

3. Overages

Corporate production clients often initially claim they “only need a voiceover for this project.” However, statistics dictate a 90% likelihood of voicing additional work that’s “unforeseen” at the onset. For example: The client expected the final time on the project to run 10–20 minutes in length, but instead it’s running an hour and a half—more than four times longer than the initial estimate.

This is often due to the client’s lack of production experience; don’t let it be because of your short-sightedness. Consider in advance how you intend to handle overages the client hadn’t bargained for. Determine when to work with the client, when to hold them accountable, and when to cut your losses.

4. Change

How many “pickups” or changes will you allow? If the mistakes are yours, make it right. But if the client keeps changing the script—which they will—how many changes are too many? If you don’t specify what your rate includes from the start, the client will likely assume they’re allowed unlimited tweaks, even within a year or so. They aren’t. This is work and you have a service to provide. Protect yourself in advance. Put the client on a timeline to expect changes on this invoice—and anything outside of the scope of work will incur overages.

5. Re-use fees

An additional full fee should be invoiced if the client intends to re-use or continue to use the final recording beyond the agreed timeline, such as after a year, 18 months, or whatever timeline you determine with them from the start.

6. Conflicts

Regardless of whether you’re brokering all your own sessions or not, you’re ultimately responsible for keeping track of your “conflicts.” In other words, if you have a Burger King commercial running, you can’t even audition for McDonald’s. It’s a conflict of interest to work for the competition. That’s the case whether you’re union or not.

How to raise your VO rates, according to talent manager Jeffrey Umberger

Voiceover artist


  1. Begin at scale: Firstly, there’s scale. Scale minimum is an established rate minimum that you should expect for a professional job from professional buyers. Everyone should begin here. Yes, you may be less experienced than other VO talent at your particular stage of the game, but after you’ve studied, perfected your craft, learned to tell the “story,” and can deliver a message authentically and effectively, then you’re ready for scale minimum rates. 
  2. Slowly increase: Let’s say you have been voicing a certain product for a good period of time, even for a year or more. This might be the time to tell your agent or manager (or yourself, if you’re self-managing) that before signing a new agreement with the buyer, you’d like to see an increase in rate based on your success with the campaign. You may be met with resistance—or a buyer may agree that you do indeed bring such value to a campaign that you’ve earned an increase in the minimum rate.
  3. Use your influence: Maybe you’re an influencer with a notable social presence that allows you to influence purchasers. You can certainly expect more money based on the draw of buyers you bring with you. Influencers can find increased rates if their face or name is recognizable. Of course, since not all influencers’ voices are that well known, it’s not a given that you’ll automatically earn more. 
  4. Explore the same product conflict area: It’s also not uncommon for a voice actor to be sought after in the same product conflict area. For example, if you’re the voice of a restaurant chain and another chain is interested in using you, the brand you already voice for will need to increase your rate by the time the next agreement rolls around—or they risk losing you to the new brand. This leveraging can benefit you, and if the original brand wishes to keep you on board, they’ll need to fork it over. 
  5. Work with your representative: All representatives of strong professional talent should strive to establish the best rates possible for their clients. You should at a minimum receive scale plus 10% for most any job, whether it be union or nonunion. As your work becomes more widely known, partner with your representative to help seek over-scale, double-scale, triple-scale, and so forth. Time and experience do pay, and as you develop a bigger reputation in the business, you can use that experience to demand more than minimum pay.

6 tips to raise your voiceover rates, according to voice coach Rhonda Phillips



  1. Stop apologizing: Apologizing means that you’ve done something wrong. Raising your rates to industry standards isn’t wrong, it’s good business. Having an open and honest conversation with your client is the best way to go. Let them know that you value the relationship that you’ve built over time. Present them with facts about why your service is top quality and the benefits of working with you. Share your long-term goals and include their company within that vision. Show that you’re invested and believe in their company as well as the value that you place on your business relationship.
  2. Set a date for your rate increase to take effect: Your clients need time to process your request. Notifying them about an increase in rates that will not take effect for several weeks will give the decision-makers time to absorb the idea. Consider giving your client at least six to eight weeks’ notice before your rate increase is implemented.
  3. Be prepared to negotiate and hear the word no: You’ve sent the email to your client informing them of your new rate structure and when it will begin. Perhaps you’ve even included links to current online rate guides to help them understand what industry standard rates are. Good job! Now it’s time to decide a couple of things. Are you willing to negotiate rates with them? If they say no and won’t agree to your new rate structure, have you thought about parting ways with them? Knowing the answer to these questions is critical. Personally, I’m always open to negotiate with a client within reason. However, I’m also not afraid to say farewell if the client isn’t interested in fair rates—and really, the clients who pay the least almost always demand the most.
  4. Sound and look your best: Audio quality is everything in our line of business. Is your sound on point? Is your studio everything it should be? Do you have killer editing skills? If you’re asking for top quality pay, you have to produce top quality work. When I say look your best, I mean your online presence. Is your website looking good and functioning properly? Are all of the links working? Does it put a spotlight on how amazing you are at your job and why they should use your services? Is your social media up-to-date? Again, when you’re asking for more money, show why you deserve it!
  5. Improve your quality of work: We can all improve the quality of our work in one way or another: Improve your sound. Get more coaching. Give them a faster turnaround time. Learn to edit your audio better. Respond to auditions and emails more quickly. Jump on tasks as soon as they hit your desk. Be nicer. Show your appreciation. In general, work harder. After all, when you show how valuable you are, they’ll be more willing to pay you what you’re worth.
  6. New clients, new rates: When you acquire a new client, be sure that you set yourself up for success by setting proper rates from the start. Confidence is key!

Overall, when it’s time to increase your rate structure, be confident in the value that you know you provide. Understand that you may have to use some negotiation skills along the way and let a few clients go. But with your hard work, dedication, and excellent customer service, those low-paying clients will soon be replaced with others who will value your work and pay proper rates. Now get out there and charge what you’re worth!

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