Video Daily The Video Production Blog

How much do voice-overs really cost?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

October 13, 2006

Comments (3)

This topic has been up in the air for the years. This past Spring, our team collaborated with dozens of professional voice talent to settle the score on acceptable benchmarks for non-union voice-over rates. Download the PDF Standard Voice-over Rates here.

Ever wondered how much voice-overs really cost?

Voice talents, as you can well imagine, were quite passionate about this topic, and eager to help 'set the record straight' on the median fees charged by professionals working in the online voice-over marketplace.

After a series of conversations, feedback emails, comments on the VOX Daily Voice Overs blog, telephone calls, and live chats, we compiled and averaged the rates, bringing them closer in scale to the rates of organized unions such as AFTRA and SAG.

You may ask "What's the difference between union and non-union? Shouldn't non-union voice-overs be far less expensive?"

Well, consider this: Being a member of a union has certain benefits. By charging union fees and following the rules of conduct when contracting a voice-over job, the profits received by the talent contribute to their pension and or health plan as well as protect them from misadventures with clients who fail to compensate them according to their written agreement.

Unions have established fees that are charged for voice-over work, whether it be for broadcast, film, industrial use, and so on.

Non-union voice talent, or, those who are not affiliated with a union, do not have a governing body to provide them with assistance and the perks of benefits. These professional talent who opt not to be in an organized union are in most cases just as talented and experienced as those registered with the unions.

Due to the fact that there was no 'official' non-union standard rates card, and also because a significant number of talent getting started in the industry are non-union, the ability to charge random fees crept in, and in many cases, inexperienced voice talent charged far less than they should have been for 'professional' voice-over services.

This is where the schism between the two groups occurred.

Professional non-union talent have an uphill climb when it comes to keeping those in the non-union circle accountable, quoting an appropriate rate for work. This is why we have set budget ranges starting at a minimum of USD$100 for posting a voice-over job.

When it comes down to it, a voice-over is a voice-over is a voice-over. Each voice-over is a call to action, whether it be for sales, customer retention, or for educational purposes. The voice talent is your salesperson, and it is their voice that works tirelessly to promote a product or service, raking in the sales for your organization or company.

The voice talent is also your organizations' audio ambassador and is often the first point of contact between you and future customers. People come to trust the voices they hear and associate them with your brand, building brand equity for you and correlating your offerings with honesty, excitement, or great tasting food, depending on your business.

The cost of a voice-over is calculated by not only the performance, but factors in production costs, how the audio is used, how often it is heard, by the size of the audience, market size (local, regional, national), and also if the audio will be used in perpetuity, in other words, as long as it is available for consumption and you are making a profit off of the voice-over.

Keep in mind that recording voice-overs is how these professionals support their families and make their living. There is a lot of added value tucked into a voice-over not to mention skill and technical savvy acquired over years of career dedication and educational endeavors.

Click here to download the Standard Rates Sheet.

Please bear in mind that each talent reserves the right to charge their own rates. The Rates are designed as a reference for non-union, dry voice rates (dry voice means no music or sound effects).

If you have any questions or comments, you can contact us via traditional methods or leave a comment on the blog.

Best wishes,

Stephanie and the Team


    Wow, thank you so much Stephanie- I am just now attempting to gain entry to the world of Voice, and this card is very helpful for determining rates and the article provided some much needed information!

    Again, thank you.

    Posted by:

      What's a good day rate to ask for a nonunion film documentary VO?

      Sherry Klein

      And yes, I'm a member!

      Posted by:

        Hi Sherry,

        Thank you for your comment and question! I am unsure of what to quote but do recommend that you visit the union sites and see what they charge.

        If it is for film, go to the Screen Actors Guild site

        Check for rates too. This is Canada's performer's union (Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists).

        Best wishes,


        Posted by:

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