Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

3 Reasons Why Telephone Voice Over Jobs Rock

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

August 16, 2009

Comments (19)

Woman on the phoneTelephony has an undeserved reputation for being "entry level" voice over work.

Whether true or false, that doesn't mean that the recordings are worth less or should go for dirt cheap simply because they are:

A) Some of the shortest recordings
B) For a company that is small or starting out, or
C) Perceived as easy cash

Do you think that a company wants to hire just anybody to represent them on their front line of customer service?

Not a chance!

Find out three reasons why telephone voice over work is one of the sweetest (and most important) gigs here on VOX Daily.

Telephone Voice Over Work

Being the voice of a company, institution, or an organization's telephone system is not due to dumb luck or the maxim that the lowest bidder always wins... voice talent book these gigs because their voice and interpretation best represent the client and convey their message exactly as they would communicate with and engage their customers.

Getting steady voice over work recording voice mail greetings, auto attendants, on-hold marketing, and so on is a testament to how much a client values your services, valuing them to the degree that they are comfortable letting your recorded voice look after their customers, prospects, and anyone else who might call their offices for whatever reason.

The Beauty of Voicing Telephony Scripts:

Just as the company believes in you, entrusting their callers to your care, you should also gain a number of benefits, both tangible and intangible, namely increased confidence, steady work, and opportunities to work on voice over projects regarding other aspects of your customer's business.

Let's dive in a bit, shall we?

3 Reasons Why Telephone VO Jobs Rock

1. Yield Confidence

By virtue that they hired you on and show no sign of changing voices, your confidence levels are on the up and up, knowing that your voice represents their company to everyone who calls... and they like it that way!

2. Steady Work

As their telephone voice, you'll be along with them for the long haul which may mean years of steady work, some of which may include periodic revisions to existing prompts (which you bill for), and any updates they may require as the company grows and communicates with its customers by phone. Don't forget the opportunity for additional work.

3. Relatively Fast and Easy to Record

Telephone jobs are reasonably quick and pay well. Unless you're recording a massive telephone tree with hundreds if not thousands of prompts, the bulk of your work will not exceed a couple of pages double-spaced. Basic phone systems have fewer than 250 words, some have 500, and others do exceed those numbers depending on their complexity.

What's The Catch?

Is it all a walk in the park?

No!

Just because voicing some of these kinds of jobs may be easy, don't underestimate the complexity of jobs that call for special requirements such as pronunciation, naming of files, file format, recording a multitude of prompts, and so on.

Some of these gigs are quite complicated and you'll need to follow instructions to the letter to make your customers happy and to keep them on board as your clients.

One thing you'll definitely want or need to do is brush up on file formats and delivery methods unique to telephony.

You never know when someone will need .ulaw files encoded or some odd compression request that you'd never hear for broadcast quality audio. Remember, these voice overs are coming out of a phone (perhaps even a mobile device), not a television or radio, and the file formats and sound will be different and not necessarily pristine in the pure sense of the word.

If this sounds like a lot, don't even get me started on telephone script writing (it could happen!) and post-production elements such as music and sound effects and all that implies! Many phone systems have royalty-free music beds that accompany the voice over... but that's a subject for another day.

Does This Sound Like Entry Level Voice Over Work to You?

From my perspective, not only are telephone jobs by far the most universally in-demand voice over commissions, they are also the doorway to other jobs.

Also, I'd like to emphasize that just because some of these jobs may be 25 words or less doesn't mean that you charge a pauper's fee.

Charge your per page rate.

If a company is going to use your voice over in a buyout situation (which means they get to use your voice over forever and ever if they wanted to), they should be paying a respectable fee for usage of your voice over, the work that went into it, and your time.

Ask anything less and you will find that it is an uphill battle if not impossible to work for that company again and command a higher fee for your work, regardless of what it is or how complex.

The recommended professional fee?

A minimum of $100, especially in an audition situation where they've already budgeted at least that much to post. To some of you, $100 is unthinkable because your minimums are much higher than that. If so, keep doing what you're doing!

If you've been bidding below $100, I hope this article has given you some incentive to reevaluate what your time, effort, and the use of your voice is worth.

Selling voice overs for less than the minimum does much to decrease the market value for voice over recordings, whatever their use or application.

Have Anything to Add about Telephone Voice Over Work?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Neustockimages

Related Topics: auto attendants, hired, IVR, jobs, MOH, radio, telephone voice overs, voicemail


Comments


    Hi Stephanie,
    I was awarded a telephony job for a bank in Texas last fall. I took it without knowing how long the script was. Turned out, it was for the bank's 16 branches in three states and for about 12 messages (less than 5:00 total) it paid almost $2000. The beauty of it is, like Stephanie said, that you are the "brand" for the company, the first voice the customer hears, AND.... most likely they will call on you again when it needs updating. I'd say the same goes for a web intro...the company is looking for a voice to represent who they are--young and hip, mature and professional, cutting edge or trendy. And you never know where that seemingly small job will lead, so go for it!

    Posted by:
    • Robin Rowan
    • August 17, 2009 9:43 AM

      Hi Stephanie,
      Great article! One thing I'd like to add is that telephony can often transfer over into a company's branding across several platforms. We become a familiar voice to not only callers but potential TV viewers, radio listeners, website visitors and podcast subscribers. There's also the added bonus of low cost advertising that on-hold offers. Companies large and small have a captive audience that can be kept up-to-date on little known services, trivia and important information. Telephony isn't going away either. In good financial times and bad someone has to answer the phone.
      It's a compliment when a company entrusts us with possibly the first impression their customers experience.
      ~ Lisa Rice

      Posted by:

        Golly, I have been serving a "MOH" (messages on hold) client steadily for about 3 years. He inserts the audio for a 430 store chain of plumbing supply houses across the US. The advantage is, I don't have to deal with strange audio formats, music etc. I do about 50 scripts per month and all that is required is for the audio be cleaned up and ready to drop into their system. I have paid many, many, many house payments from this line of work and it fills the gaps between other jobs.

        I'll add something else. Often, I find many of these scripts lacking in quality writing...OK, most of them. While that's no shocker, it does serve me well. How? Some of the crazing tongue twisting word combinations and run-on sentences can challenge me...in a good way. It allows me to try different mindsets as I read and really has been a huge blessing to me and my family. As a single income household with a wife and two children...NO complaints from me!

        Posted by:

          Dear Stephanie,

          Your post on Vox Daily was spot on. I so appreciate someone in the industry validating and appreciating what we do! I am the American voice for Cisco (going on over 7 years now) as well as the "Golden Voice" for Varolii Corporation. (since 2004) I am on over 30,000 systems nationwide, and continue to update my clients prompts on a weekly if not daily basis. Although I would prefer to book more national promos and commercials, these telephony jobs are my bread and butter, and I feel so blessed to be able to stumble down to my studio in the morning, (my traffic is dodging the dog toys on the way down the stairs) and work out of the comfort of my home.(bathrobe attire acceptable) I am proud of what I do, and make a personal effort to sound as warm and friendly as possible when recording these types of scripts. I also get a good dose of humor from time to time. Just last week, my husband walked into the living room and said, "Babe, I just got a call...from you...telling me I had suspicious activity on my credit card!"

          Thanks for putting a fresh and positive perspective on the telephony world!

          Appreciative in Seattle,

          Leslie Wadsworth

          Leslie Wadsworth
          Voice By The Sea, Inc.

          Posted by:

            Telephony work "entry level"? Not in my books... more like a senior position....... I'm thinking " Vice President, First Impressions".

            Posted by:
            • Terry
            • August 17, 2009 1:31 PM

              Working on some telephony for one of those "regular" long time clients who send me files every week. This is for in store announcements - they upload them over the phone, so they fit into the telephony area.

              Posted by:

                Just finished a quick set of outbound phone messages for a company that I've worked for going on 10 years. They are consistently one of my top billing clients, and the work is done from my telephone, so I can do it anywhere! Makes it nice when on vacation, to still be able to do a little work, and make some income. These kinds of clients are really the bread and butter of the industry, though I do like cake once in awhile too!

                Posted by:

                  I've done absolutely masses of telephone vo's - I still like doing them but it's the radio and tv commercial, documentaries and games voiceovers I'd like more of!

                  Posted by:
                  • Naomi Sachs
                  • August 17, 2009 2:21 PM

                    I actually prefer telephone work to audio books or documentary voiceovers. I like projects that are easily done in a day, the per hour rate is much higher and the clients usually send me ongoing work. At the end of the year, when I see thousands of dollars are coming in from telephone work, you don't hear any complaints on this end!

                    Posted by:
                    • Hana Haatainen Caye
                    • August 17, 2009 2:21 PM

                      Leslie, I agree with your comments. It is a blessing that the work is recurring and waiting for us every morning. I receive referrals on a daily basis from a company that offers virtual services. Connie - I'm with you in looking forward to some cake once in awhile. Seems to me the majority of the work in this particular industry is directed towards females...

                      Posted by:

                        Wonderful comments & I have to agree with Lisa Rice....I have been the "telephone" voice for Oracle (US division) & AHN (All Headline News) for years - plus many others. An advantage for being the "telephone" voice is that it branches out to other parts of the company that need your voice! I've since voiced company videos & will shortly be voicing another company's website - all stemming from the 'telephone' voice. Often when asked what I do, I'll answer, "You know when you call someone and you get that voice telling you to push 2 now, that's me - I'm the voice you love to hear!!"
                        My final comments is to keep in touch with your clients, remind them that you are available for other voicework (ie: radio/tv spots, documentaries, corporate videos, etc).

                        Posted by:

                          I have done plenty of voicemail systems work for trade or for friends over the years. Working in radio has been my primary job so I really didn't pay attention to the favors and giveaways. Now looking to establish a less sporadic VO career, I am perplexed by the whole idea of pricing. Especially in a variable rate competitive bidding model.

                          When you mention per page, is that how most work is done or is it per project? I do not want to undercut the market (I don't believe in devaluing our work) nor do I want to overprice out of ignorance.
                          Thanks to anyone who can take the time to set me straight.

                          Posted by:
                          • Lisa
                          • August 24, 2009 4:47 PM

                            I record telephony scripts everyday. I have several clients that send me work on a weekly basis. As was said before, you are the first voice that a customer hears. Smart companies understand that and want to give a good first impression.

                            And yes, telephony work can expand to other "branded" aspects. I've recorded web audio and other internal audio for clients that started off as "just" telephony.

                            Posted by:

                              Great article! and spot on about not under valuing our services. It would be great to get the 'big gigs' like the commercials etc, but I also really enjoy the telephone voice over jobs and just love my job!

                              Posted by:

                                I've been told countless times that I have a great phone voice - its has actually landed me a couple positions. I just did a random search and this popped up, it had never crossed my mind to actuallu do something with it! What is the best way to start something like this. I currently work full time (on the phone lol) so I would have to do it part time. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

                                Posted by:
                                • Tracy
                                • October 14, 2012 8:20 PM

                                  Hi Tracy,

                                  Thank you very much for commenting! I'm glad you found this post. I have asked someone from Voices.com to send you some getting started information and answer any questions you might have.

                                  With warm regards,
                                  Stephanie

                                  Posted by:

                                    This is great info to have - after putting my VO dreams on the back burner for years, telephone systems have found me, and my company has had me record about five or six different phone messages, a couple hold messages, surveys and pre-recorded calls over the past couple months, and I have been charging them $100 per finished minute. In well under half an hour, start to finish, I can make the same amount I sit behind a desk eight hours to make? I'm hooked. It's great to know your voice is calling people and helping people and all you did was stand in a closet in your pajamas and record it one time. I went to an acting conservatory and focused on voice work there, and know with dedication, I could get more jobs, and branch out from phones. I always planned to try to get into VO when I had demo money and time, but it has fallen into my lap and I want to keep it there! Is there anyone who has any advice on parlaying telephony into a more varied VO career, or advice on finding consistent phone jobs (specific websites or anything)? Any help is appreciated. Thanks so much!

                                    Posted by:
                                    • Haley
                                    • March 26, 2013 10:57 PM

                                      Hi Stephanie,

                                      When you say $100.00 you mean per hour-correct?

                                      Thanks for the nice blog ~

                                      Posted by:
                                      • Jordan
                                      • January 2, 2014 6:40 PM

                                        Hi Jordan,

                                        Thank you for your comment and question.

                                        You could charge $100 per hour for the time it takes to record. Most phone systems recordings are very short though and may not take more than an hour. We encourage talent to quote what they feel is appropriate and have set budget minimums so that clients cannot post jobs that pay less than $100.

                                        Take care,
                                        Stephanie

                                        Posted by:

Leave a Comment



Recent Articles

SpeechMasterPro Helps Pros Speak Better

When Famous Actors Voice Video Games

Why Voice Trumps Music When Calling Customer Service

How Analytics Levels The Playing Field

Press A Button, Silence Someone's Voice

Does Environment Affect Vocal Performance?

Optimus Prime, Sheriff Woody & What Makes A Character Great

Should you Ello?

Do You Dread Public Speaking? Try These Exercises!

Vox Talk wants YOU!

   

Radio Advertising Center

Radio Advertising Solution Centre

Explore a new resource hub covering all aspects of planning, scheduling and launching successful radio advertising campaigns.

Radio Advertising Solution Center

Subscribe by Email

About Vox Daily

Vox Daily offers a daily dose of voice acting news, articles, tutorials, interviews, intelligent conversation and business ideas for voice talent and voice actors.


Follow Us

   

Our feed & social options update you with special offers and news as it happens.

New YouTube Video

Watch videos on YouTube