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Do you Charge for Revisions?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

June 13, 2006

Comments (32)

With over 30 comments, this post is a hot topic!

Greetings,

If you've been in the business for a while, you are probably familiar with revisions.

A revision, when pertaining to voice-overs, is an alteration made to an existing recording, whether it be slight or significant.

Usually, ongoing revisions are made to recordings that are meant for long-term use, such as telephone systems, but revisions can also be made to ensure customer satisfaction when recording commercials or work that will not need revision in the future.

The request for changes or revisions is inevitable when you are working with organizations for long periods of time, particularly if you have recorded their telephone system.

Clients of yours may return to you months after the original recording and need an extension changed, a new greeting, an employees name added to the list, or updated on-hold messaging. After all, you are the voice of their company and they need you (and your signature voice) to grow with the company.

Some talent do revisions as value-added services while others charge for each subsequent revision. It would be interesting to know your philosophy on this.

Do you charge for revisions or provide bonus revisions for loyal customers?

Have your say and leave a comment on the blog :)

Looking forward to this conversation!

Stephanie


Comments


    I get paid for Quality Audio, and
    meeting the Client's deadline...

    Any extra changes to the script, (such as revisions) can lead to additional charges.

    Communication with the Client is key, as they'll need to know whether or not the Time it takes to make the revision warrants an additional Charge (or if it's a simple thing that takes no time at all).

    Tim Lundeen

    Posted by:
    • Tim Lundeen
    • June 21, 2006 3:54 PM

      It depends on each situation. My clients know that I will cut their approved script to the satisfaction of the agency and/or client. If a revision is requested after the job is finished and time has passed, they are aware that a fee for a revision is expected. If this is a long-term client and you wish to do revisions for a reduced rate or throw in an update due to your relationship, that's just good business. However, my clients expect to pay for any updates and I charge a reasonable fee. You certainly do not want to teach a *new* client that revisions are no big deal and bring'em on. You're then looking for trouble. Train your clients well and under-promise and over-deliver always.

      Posted by:

        As a professional actor and voice over performer and former union member, there really isn't a question. Revisions are changes to the already recorded and approved voice files, messages, etc. That being said, I do just charge a small fee for small changes, and if it is a VERY LOYAL and ongoing client would possibly consider a very minor revision without charge - especially if several have been done recently. I think most clients understand that our time is money and they expect to pay for revisions. If revisions are expected at no charge, some clients will stipulate that in the original bidding process and the talent can build that into the bid. I don't think it really creates more loyalty or respect not to charge. In fact, it's often just the opposite! You know the old saying, "No good deed goes unpunished"!

        Posted by:
        • Anonymous
        • June 21, 2006 3:55 PM

          A revision is nothing more or less than a fresh piece of copy to be given life via voice talent.

          Yes, there is a charge for revisions and we usually do it on an hourly rate or fraction thereof.

          For long-term customers, and where appropropriate, we will provide consideration.

          Jim Rauh

          Posted by:
          • James Rauh
          • June 21, 2006 3:56 PM

            Great question...YES & NO. I usually establish a firm understanding per client per project. Clients will sometimes ask me if I am willing to do a pick-up if needed. Let's take for example a corporate presentation where they have 25 slides and each slide has a short sentence or two and then a few bullet points at a rate of $2500. If I feel additional work may come my way, I will tell them that I am willing to do a pick-up with a max equivalent of 1 slide at no charge, afterwards the charge would be $100 for each slide thereafter. NOTE: I usually record the entire slide even if they only need a sentence or two for continuity and this often is much appreciated by editors/producers.

            Now, if they happen to point out that a word was not said as clearly as it should have or something whereby it is an error on my part, of course there would be no charge, however there are often script changes and thus my initial response is an additional charge would apply.

            I must add, in feeling out each individual situation, you can often curry much favor by being sensitive to the client/production companies needs yet still hold a professional level of respect for yourself and your craft. I do feel it's best to err on the side of graciousness than the otherway around!

            Posted by:

              Unless the client UP FRONT asks for a price that will include x number of revisions, there is a charge. The only exception is for ongoing cients who bring consistent work...I would do a couple sentences for them for nothing, but otherwise, definitely, yes. I liken it to this: I once aruged with a car dealer that my trade was worth more than he was offering...after we had negotiated a price for the new car. He said that sure, he could bump up the price for my trade in, but then the price for the new car would go up as well! I could either take wholesale for the trade and PAY wholesale for the new car, or retail for both...so if a client wants the lowest initial price...that does not include revisions. Now that said, I have a minimum 1-page rate, and for a really small revision I might charge them only half a page...and also if the revision comes within a day or two of the initial recording, I might throw it in. We have to be careful of sending the message that our time and talent isn't worth anything...and that's what freebies can do.

              Posted by:

                There is jeopardy in giving away anything. Too many are unwilling to say NO, and are taken advantage of in this business and we all suffer for it.

                Yes, simple pickups maybe given away to create goodwill, but often the inexperienced producers which troll these waters are looking for the talent to carry the burden of their mistakes or clients indecision.

                If they were playing in the majors and had to pay session fees and studio fees for pickups, then they would come to the first session with final copy or suck it up and pay the freight. But no, these"producers" are getting free studio time and pickup sessions so why should they be concerned?

                Posted by:
                • Anonymous
                • June 21, 2006 3:59 PM

                  Yes, you should charge for revisions. The exception is 'when YOU make a mistake'.

                  PJ the DJ

                  Posted by:
                  • PJ
                  • June 21, 2006 3:59 PM

                    For loyal clients I'm willing to do up to three minor revisions on a given sound clip, i.e. very minor as in requiring little/no re-recording and is mostly a digital editing issue.

                    Mostly I'm happy to change an inflection or two on a few clips if people ask.

                    If they change the script after I've started recording in any way though, then I charge it as a new clip.

                    If I messed something up the of course I don't charge.

                    [sr]

                    Posted by:
                    • SR
                    • June 21, 2006 4:01 PM

                      Hi,

                      I once did an extra few lines. It was requested a week or so after the actual job and I suggested a $25 fee. I never got paid - though I sent a few paypal reminders.

                      On another occasion I did 2 reads for a client and didn't get the job. He was polite and grateful and offered me $25 for my time.
                      On yet another occasion I auditioned and was hired. it was a holiday weekend and i spent 2 hours on the work. It seems that, meanwhile, the client had "hired" some other voices - a lame excuse was made and I suggested a good faith payment for my time. My emails were ignored.

                      I would happily do a re-read for nothing - if the client was polite and respectful not time-wasting and ungrateful. I've experienced both!

                      Kara

                      Posted by:
                      • Kara Noble
                      • June 21, 2006 4:02 PM

                        Nine times out of ten, I charge for revisions - usually about 1/4 to 1/2 of what the original fee was. If it's such a small change that it takes no time at all, I sometimes tell them "it's on me this time".

                        Another VO talent put it this way to me... Suppose you hired a painter to paint your house blue. After he's finished painting, you decide you want it red instead. The painter ain't gonna do that free just because you changed your mind! It's the same here. Unless it's my error, I charge a revision fee.

                        Posted by:
                        • Anonymous
                        • June 21, 2006 4:02 PM

                          I agree with Brian in Charlotte, it's best to err on the side of graciousness.
                          And for me, it depends on the project.

                          For example a large voiceover project may need "pick ups" where the price has changed, etc. and I will do it at no charge (and like someone else also mentions, I do the entire paragraph/phrase/screen.)

                          I also do not charge if it is MY fault w/pronunciation, miss reading the copy, etc.
                          I will charge if the entire project/script has changed..and I let the client know up front.

                          It really is communication and a matter of discretion.

                          Posted by:
                          • Liz in Illinois
                          • June 21, 2006 4:04 PM

                            I guess I look at it this way. If I buy a 2006 model car, I don't expect the dealer to give me the 2007 model when it comes out. Same thing goes for copy. It may be almost the same...just a few tweeks here and there, but there is a reason they call it a a revision, and the client should pay for it.

                            Posted by:
                            • Anonymous
                            • June 21, 2006 4:05 PM

                              I tell the client up front that the fee quoted includes "reasonable" revisions. Before the read I talk to them about the definitions of "reasonable" and "revision" for the project. More important to me is getting some exactitude re the length and complexity of the script before I commit to a firm quote.

                              Posted by:
                              • Dan Burton
                              • June 21, 2006 4:06 PM

                                Mixed bag. I just finished revising a project for a client. The original project was a couple of months ago, BUT I agreed at the outset to one expected revision for my fee. So there is that.
                                However, for most projects, even for longterm regular clients, I charge a fee for revisions. Nine times out of ten the "approved copy" is changed by the client due to their mistake with a legal point or price. If I've made a mistake or had a clarity issue - that is always free.
                                That being said, I agree with the comment by 'brian in charlotte' about graciousness. Because every situation is unique.

                                Posted by:

                                  Client requested script revisions after initial recording & file delivery are subject to additional fee, with a 100.00 minimum.

                                  To not charge is an invitation to allow any given client who may underprepared to make corrections and/or changes on the fly or make it up as they go.

                                  Their poor planning is not my problem. That being said, there are always exceptions for good, loyal customers and certain circumstances. I include this policy in every quote, so there is no confusion by either side.

                                  Bobbin Beam

                                  Posted by:
                                  • Bobbin Beam
                                  • June 21, 2006 4:08 PM

                                    OOPS- I have a revision....I forgot to say that if it's my mistake, I re-record at no charge. Bobbin Beam

                                    Posted by:
                                    • Bobbin Beam
                                    • June 21, 2006 4:08 PM

                                      Imagine this was ten years ago and you had to drive to a studio a half hour away. A week later the producer finds he had the date/address/price incorrect and would you come back to change it. I'll bet you'd charge something then...well, what has changed? As talents, we are now supposed to record, engineer, edit and self direct. Doing revisions (other than talent error) for free is cheapening what we do. Producers locally would often open a negotiation with 'it's only a couple lines' looking for a bargain. A friend offered good advice...'Great, I only charge for the first word anyway-thes rest are free'. Charge something for script changes, never for mistakes.

                                      Posted by:
                                      • Anonymous
                                      • June 21, 2006 4:09 PM

                                        In the professional voice over world (Union: Aftra, Actra, Sag) there just isn't any question about this.

                                        A client who is already paying less than union (remember - few union voices go out at scale - many go out at multiples of scale) and expects talent to provide this "value added service" just has no appreciation for professional voice talent. Sure you want the job... but at what price?

                                        In my opinion this kind of client education is just the sort of thing that Interactive Voices should be doing so nobody is asked to do anything so ridiculous.

                                        Posted by:
                                        • Anonymous
                                        • June 21, 2006 4:09 PM

                                          This question is for you at (interactive voices) Do you charge for your services to the client? That is once your services have been approved by the client. And does the client charge for their product or services. unless of course the mistake is ones own. I rest my case.

                                          Posted by:
                                          • Bernard
                                          • June 21, 2006 4:11 PM

                                            My rule of thumb is that if I have made a mistake obviously I will fix it no charge. If the client has to make a copy change, I try to be reasonable. If it is a word or two or a sentence or two I won't charge. And if it is a client who gives me a lot of work and someone I have an on-going relationship with, I might not charge.

                                            You really have to weigh the pros and cons. Is this a person who you know has a limited budget, or perhaps is genuinely inexperienced when it comes working with voiceover talent?

                                            Having said that, when clients start re-writing paragraphs, or when they have given me a certain direction on a read and then completely change their mind, yes I do charge for my time and effort.

                                            The amount though is always tricky. If it is a substantial change I usually charge half the original amount. It is important to tell clients up front what your policy is.

                                            Posted by:
                                            • Anonymous
                                            • June 21, 2006 4:12 PM

                                              Hi Bernard,

                                              Thank you for your question.

                                              You are right to say that all businesses charge fees of their clients, and rightly so.

                                              When customers see value in the services and opportunities provided to them, their patronage validates the respective business.

                                              There are many currencies at play, some of which have been mentioned today.

                                              Graciousness for one, financial compensation is another, and the fine art of communication the most important of all.

                                              Jobs, aside from dollars, are also another currency in the voice-over marketplace.

                                              We do everything that we can to earn the trust and business of organizations in order to bring high quality voice-over jobs to you.

                                              All of our customers are important to us as is mutual respect and a thriving community :)

                                              Thank you to everyone who has participated in this discussion!

                                              By all means, carry on - I'll leave it here for now :)

                                              Stephanie

                                              Posted by:

                                                Most of the time I do not charge for revisions if they are reasonable. Naturally, if I made an error I would never charge no matter how large the redo.

                                                The only time I charged extra was when there was a request for additional voice services where I created the copy and recorded it.

                                                Each project comes with a different set of circumstances.

                                                Karen Gerstman

                                                Posted by:
                                                • Karen Gerstman
                                                • June 21, 2006 4:14 PM

                                                  The first revision is at no charge. Any revisions after that incur a charge.

                                                  Posted by:
                                                  • Anonymous
                                                  • June 21, 2006 4:15 PM

                                                    I don't charge my clients for the first revision. However, any after that incur a charge.

                                                    Posted by:

                                                      Yes indeed i charge for revisions.

                                                      I am a professional and time is money, most clients understand this completely.

                                                      However for a very loyal and onging client I am prepared to make very small updates to script free of charge.

                                                      One hand washes the other.

                                                      Posted by:
                                                      • Andy
                                                      • June 21, 2006 4:19 PM

                                                        As a rule, I don't charge if a revoice is due to my error - customer satisfaction is key.

                                                        Script changes are a different story and I charge fairly.

                                                        My relationship with the client can allow for some flexibility, but charges for revisions are a realistic part of the production process.

                                                        Posted by:
                                                        • Anonymous
                                                        • June 21, 2006 4:19 PM

                                                          It needs to be clear up front that charging for revisions after the original product has been completed is part of your contract.

                                                          If you finish the work, and a client comes back two weeks later wanting something changed, then theoretically they could get a year's worth of work out of you at no charge.

                                                          My opinion is to always charge for revisions-- just make sure that's understood up front.

                                                          Posted by:

                                                            I concur with everything I've read.

                                                            Yes revisions get charged.
                                                            Yes, size, history and potential of client are taken into consideration.

                                                            Interestingly it is my biggest commercial client that has the most revisions, mostly due to changing price and item right before air time. For them, we've worked out a special pickup rate that is generally 25% of the original spot.

                                                            Posted by:
                                                            • Gene Tognacci
                                                            • June 21, 2006 4:20 PM

                                                              A "Voice Talent" provides a "Service" - not a product. If a company that sells products has requested from the customer anything that is above and beyond the actual sale of the original item - "surcharges" are the industry standard.

                                                              A PROFESSIONAL voice talent will do a little homework and make determinations in advance about fees for services rendered.

                                                              We often reply to postings that are somewhat generic in nature and the client themselves may likely not be that well versed in hiring voice talent, in fact, change that to "likely not aware", as evidenced by the "cattle call" web sites that will take anyone with a 150.00 PC or MAC and the chat mic it came with who "wannabe" voice talent. A potential client can be inundated with replies that raise a few eyebrows, as they had no idea the response they would get. When that happens, take it from one who knows, they listen to the first few and “make a choice” – not always the best one either.

                                                              Ken Jackson Voice Productions has been in the commercial broadcasting and voice talent business for 43 years. One of those, "been there, done that, AND GOT THE T-SHIRT" deals. The mistakes I've made along the way could make for an interesting book in itself.

                                                              Today, however, I simply do not have problems with fees I charge and come to the table of a new or existing client with well understood "rate card basics.” For the job I auditioned for I charge the fee I bid. When "inadvertent" little things pop up, and they will, such as a VO for a video I did a few days ago for a client in Ohio. I was not given a "colloquial" pronunciation for a city there. The city was "Urbana" Ohio. You very likely just read it wrong because the locals say "Ur Bah' Na". Fortunately I have great SOTA software and all I had to do was "surgically" remove that one word and replace it with the correct pronunciation. Of course I had to make sure the "flow" remained the same so it didn't sound obvious that the name was "inserted" rather than part of the original recording. My fee for that “correction” was zip. It's called "Customer Service" and I dish it out by the shovel full. I get lots of repeat business like that too.

                                                              Now, the rest of the story, a client, or his agent, keeps sending "revisions" or requesting add-on's to the original agreed upon job description. THAT is when my SERVICE gets expensive, or at least increases proportionate to the clients "new needs.”

                                                              If a voice talent tries to build a rate card to cover every possible contingency - you'll have one a mile long.

                                                              It almost comes down to an oxymoron:

                                                              "Be well prepared and go with the flow"
                                                              Ken
                                                              KJVP

                                                              Posted by:
                                                              • Ken Jackson Voice Productions
                                                              • June 21, 2006 4:22 PM

                                                                Hi all,

                                                                Revisions to the original script are included if they want a different inflection or if they didn't include a pronouncer for someone's name and I guessed at it, things like that.

                                                                Script changes--absolutely I charge for those.

                                                                And as an aside, there have been a few clients wanting audio books read for $300 or some outrageous price.

                                                                If NOBODY responds to these, they will get the message that it is an insult to people who do this for a living!

                                                                Posted by:
                                                                • Robin
                                                                • June 21, 2006 4:23 PM

                                                                  Ken Jackson's comment nails it as far as I'm concerned. Deliver customer service by the shovel load. Well said.

                                                                  New and different copy nearly always results in a new charge. Corrections to my mistakes (as many have said) are always no charge.

                                                                  Be well,
                                                                  Bob

                                                                  Posted by:

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