Introduction to voice over rates

Let’s start with the actor’s basic session fee (BSF) which is the price charged to record your script. It is often charged as an hourly rate so be sure to get a fixed cost before you proceed. These days, with actors working from home, it often includes the studio fee and delivery of an edited chosen takes WAV file. As a producer you should expect to be able to attend the session via Zoom and be able to listen back to recorded takes in the session. BSFs can vary depending on the type of script. For example, a not-for-profit recording for a small charity may well have a lower BSF than a promo for a multinational brand. Many voices will charge less for an unattended session where they can record when it suits them and deliver your files after normal working hours. Guideline rates range from £175 to £300.

Usage is the term that refers to a fee paid to the voice actor in return for your rights to use that voice in the public domain usually for a licensed period of time. The fee you pay for Usage is based on the size of the audience that will hear the recordings and the length of the license you require. It is also based on the type of recording. A smaller amount would be normal for a not-for-profit gig or a start-up corporate brand film. Larger amounts are charged for multinational corporate films, and online product promos. It’s usually the most expensive part of a voice over gig and there are dozens of different rates for every type of gig from corporates, TV ads and online promos right through to gaming and kids’ toys. You will pay substantially more usage where the digital reach of your film is being increased by paid placement commonly radio spots, TV ads and paid click social media engagement.

Guideline rates range from 100% of the BSF for a small corporate where the usage is charged for web use to 400% for larger brands and promos. Substantially larger amounts are charged for multinational usage and usage in perpetuity. Most voices and agencies will negotiate a usage deal with the client so it pays to shop around.

If you’d like more information on voice over rates there are several resources online to help you agree a budget with your chosen voice over actor. The two I have always found the most useful are the Gravy For The Brain rate card which  is aimed at the voice over actor to help negotiate rates with their clients.  is especially useful for international usage rates and UK advertising costs based on TVRs.

May 2023 newsletter