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how much does voiceover cost?

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

What do I charge for a good voiceover? Thanks to the good old internet feeding you an endless supply of contradictory answers — finding the TRUE and FAIR answer to this question seems near impossible.

Pile of Cash in American Dollars

My mission in writing this is to help inform both the client hiring voiceover talent and the voiceover artist themselves on how to determine what a fair rate should be and attract quality talent

So the first question you need to ask yourself is what is your budget? Negotiating tactics dictate you should never be the one to go first when naming a price, but knowing your range will help you in the process — especially if you have a strict budget. And for voiceover talent — this part helps if you have a set rate guide that you’ve pre-set and can customize depending on the factors listed below.

Factors that affect the rate of voiceover include:

  1. Usage and distribution. Perhaps the single most important factor in determining your rate is what you are using the voiceover for and where you are posting/hosing it. All too often I see job listings, particularly on Pay2Plays that ask for full rights for usage and distribution in perpetuity as the intended usage and this is not okay people. If you only have one takeaway from this then please let it be to request this buyout sparingly. If a voiceover talent is experienced and professional then they will not accept this buyout for anything less than several thousand dollars — as they are basically signing their voice away forever. If this is what you need then go for it, but be prepared to pay a lot for this type of buyout OR work with inexperienced talent who may not be able to give you what you need. For an in-depth look at the different types of usage and distribution, there are, check out this post where I break them all down so you can figure out exactly what you need. For more information on industry-standard-based rates for voiceover, check out this amazing resource.

  2. The genre of voiceover i.e. e-learning, commercial, corporate, internal, IVR, video games, animation, promo etc. For e-Learning, check out this amazing guideline by my colleague Kim Handysides.

  3. The length of the recording — is usually determined in either length of words or length of recording. For longer projects, it is common to set a rate per word or rate per minute.

  4. What kind of audio is required? It is a raw file with no editing? Do you need the file to be edited? Do you need any compression or audio enhancements? Do you need music? All of these are extra steps for your voiceover talent that will often require a little more compensation.

  5. Do you want a live-directed recording session? Or do you want the file recorded and sent over with a round or two of pickups included? These are also factors that affect the rate and should be considered and discussed before your agreement. There are advantages and disadvantages to both: the advantage of a live directed session is you’ll be able to sign off on the voiceover and make sure you have what you need — plus it’s a really fun process to be able to collaborate and direct the talent you’ve hired (if they’re good talent…). If you don’t love the idea of directing talent then perhaps having the voiceover artists record themselves is the better option. Or you can read this post to learn how to direct talent to get the exact voiceover you need.

Those are my tips for determining a fair price voiceover in 2022. Thank you so much for reading — I hope this helps clarify things for you. Please feel free to drop questions down below.

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