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Billing for Retainers?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

April 23, 2008

Comments (4)

Woman using a calculatorHave you ever had to work on a retainer?

If you are into radio imaging, telephone voice over work, voice over for the web or providing voice overs for anything else that needs constant updating, you are probably familiar with working on a retainer.

Although it may be old hat to you, there are people starting out in the business of voice over who are new to the concept and need some guidance -- that's where you wonderful pros come in :)

Share your experiences with retainers and add your voice to the conversation!


The word "retainer" comes up every so often whenever a client wants to retain your voice for a period of time.

From my understanding, retainers are usually monthly arrangements wherein you work for a client for a flat fee for a previously agreed upon number of voice overs or audio packages.

Quoting for Retainers

How should people who are faced with retainers for the first time quote for the work? What factors come into play?

How do you bill for retainers?

Please share your thoughts. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,



Related Topics: radio, retainers, voice over jobs, voice over work, voices.com



    I'd love to hear everyone's advice on this. I was on retainer for a company about 3 years ago, my agent handled the negotiation. What they worked out was a flat fee up to a certain number of scripts and after that a fee per script that was somewhat reduced. This was before I had an ISDN setup and went to the studio 3 times a month which was a 2 hour drive.

    Posted by:
    • Leo Donato
    • April 24, 2008 10:09 AM

      Hi Leo,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that there will be a lively discussion around this topic!



      Posted by:

        The bad news: my job as an advertising exec was eliminated.
        The good news: that same employer is hiring me as a voiceover talent and paying me on a retainer.

        The retainer is the same as a half months pay with my old position BUT now it’s just a fraction of the work.

        They also had me doing a free lance job for a 3rd party with the emphasis on FREE and of course that job ended along with my ‘real’ job but NOW I’ll get a retainer from that 3rd party as well. … so LIFE IS GOOD!

        It’s not always bad to lose a ‘real’ job so that you can focus on your ‘dream job’ and that’s where I am now. What a gift being able to work full time on my voiceover business. My goal? To never ever have a ‘real’ job again.

        David Brower

        Posted by:

          Hi David,

          Thank you very much for sharing your story about retainers. It sounds like this is a far better arrangement for you and I'm happy to hear it :)

          Best wishes,


          Posted by:

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