Making Voice-Over gig is not a hobby activity so make sure you get paid for it. If you’re relatively new to the VO industry then getting your first paid gig is a pretty big deal. At last somebody has seen or rather heard your talent and hired you for a project. These are exciting times. You deliver the voice over, you send your invoice and you wait….and then you wait some more….and then you don’t get paid!
Okay, I know that’s a fairly negative scenario but it happens. It happens to new VO artists and it also happens to experienced VO artists but it probably happens to the latter a bit less because they have learned from bitter experience!
When you launch your VO business, being clear about your payment terms is vital. In some cases you won’t have a great deal of control over the payment terms but where you can, you need to make sure that your client is aware of your expectations.
Let’s take a look at a few scenarios:
Ad Agencies/Production Houses where you don’t have a current relationship – With both of these it’s pretty unlikely that they are going to pay you up front for your work. They’ve never worked with you before so they are more likely to want an invoice and then you will probably have to wait 30 days or more for payment. This is a little bit annoying but your money is pretty safe. You can be reasonably confident that you will get paid; you just have to wait for it. Ad Agencies and Production Houses are working with VO artists all the time so they don’t want to get a bad reputation for not paying, you just have to be a bit patient that’s all. Be aware however that some agencies don’t pay you until they get paid by the client. This could potentially lead to a long wait.
Ad Agencies/Production Houses where you do have a current relationship – You have more bargaining power with these companies. You’ve worked with them before, they know you and they hopefully like you! You might be able to negotiate getting 50% of your fee up front or getting your invoice paid swiftly on completion of the job. It’s all about the relationship that you build with them.
Working with corporates – If you are working directly with a big company then it’s pretty unlikely that they are going to pay you anything up front. You are going to be tied into their invoicing system and their red tape. This is a bit of a pain but once again, your money is pretty safe. You will get paid and you will have to be patient. Working with corporates is normally quite lucrative so you won’t mind the wait so much because you’ll know that there’s going to be a big pay check at the end of it!
Working with individuals – Get paid up front! If somebody wants you to do a voice over for the video that’s going on their website or any other bespoke project then it is prudent to get full payment up front. Depending on the method of payment, also wait for the money to clear before you do the work. I know this sounds very untrusting but unfortunately too many VO artists have been stung too many times by working with individuals who don’t pay. Trust your gut instincts. If you meet with the client and you feel that they are somebody you can trust then maybe you can take a 50% deposit and the rest upon completion. It’s really your call but experienced VO artists will tell you that full payment up front is your best option.
The method of payment is also something that you want to nail down. You could incorporate one method of payment or several. Payment options such as PayPal, Credit Card, Electronic Transfer are some of the options available to you, each with their own separate costs. Determine which ones will work best for you and make sure that your client is geared up to pay you in your preferred method.
What are your thoughts about getting paid? Do you have any experiences you could share? Please let us know.