How to negotiate with a voice over artist

If you search around any number of voice over groups on social media, you’ll find that there’s one thread that rears its head time and again, and it’s generally a concern (by which I mean moan) at how our rates are being continually knocked down by a combination of clients with tight budgets, entry level voice artists charging practically nothing and freelancer sites like Fiverr.

But whilst we continue to moan about market forces, we are faced with one of two very difficult choices. Either we accept that this is the way things are, or we attempt to become the advocates of change. Why are they difficult? Simple really – if we choose option 1 then we’ll all eventually be working 24 hours a day just to be able to afford a packet of crisps. If we go for option 2, then we have to get every single voice over artist on the planet to agree – so you see the problem right there.

Putting that aside for one moment, let’s get back to the issue of negotiation. I want you to imagine this conversation taking place between you and Gordon Ramsay:

“Nice to meet you Gordon”

“Nice to meet you too, what can I do for you”

“Well we love coming to your restaurant. The staff here are always so friendly and attentive and your food is, of course, delicious.”

“Thank you very much”

“See, the thing is, I’m really in the mood for chicken this evening but your cheapest entree is £23.99. But I can get two pieces of chicken with chips and a drink for just £5.49 if I go down the road to KFC, so…do you think you could do anything about the price?”

“F**K OFF!”

So where did the negotiations go wrong? Seriously? You still need me to point it out?

The sad fact is that we voice overs are faced with similar conversations with clients almost every day and it’s so unflattering. We’re always delighted when we’re told that a new client likes our voice and wants to use our skills on their next project. but how do you think it makes us feel when we’re then told that the other ‘artist’ with whom they’ve spoken with do the same job for ten pounds?

And that, in and of itself is a whole other issue, and one that I am happy to address. If someone calls and tells me that some other artist has said they’ll work for ten pounds, my response is always the same: “Then why are we having this conversation?”

Think about it, someone who can do the job as well as me is offering to do it for the spare change you have down the back of the sofa and yet you’re still shopping around?

So should you attempt to negotiate with your voice over? In some cases, yes. It’s quite possible that his quote goes slightly over your allocated budget, whereby a compromise can be reached. Most important though, don’t start your search from a position of price – you’ll always find someone who will do the job for nothing more than a credit on his or her website.

It’s up to you, and you really only have to ask yourself one question – are you in the mood for fine dining or a Bargain Bucket?