A part of voice over that intrigues people is: “You can make tons of money in your PJs?” At least that’s what you’ve probably read on the internet or seen in an ad promoting someone’s course.
The bottomline is that while you can make a great living in voice over, it doesn’t just happen. You have to truly treat it like a business and not all voice over genres are created equal. Here is a list of the most lucrative voice over genres.
1| COMMERCIALS (TV/Digital Broadcast)
For a national spot, you could make $3500 OR more for a year usage. That’s minimum for a non-union spot. For certain union spots, you could make tens of thousands.
Of course, the tough part about this is there’s more competition and barrier to entry. To get the high paying commercial jobs, you’ll need to have an agent (you’ll want to for contract negotiation) and you’ll be most likely competing against 500-700 other talent.
2| CORPORATE/INDUSTRIAL NARRATION
Typically, the lowest rate for this is $350/minute. On average, you should expect to make around $600 per project. I know…quite a jump from commercial. For time spent, this can be a lucrative genre. They’re more frequent, you can obtain them from multiple sources (agents, online casting sites, personal relationships, studio rosters) and because there’s so many, there’s less competition.
To make $100,000 in your voice over career, you’d only need to do 1 $400 job per weekday in a year.
Some subcategories pay even more. Airport narration pays up to $2000. Of course, you can book far more corporate/industrial narration jobs in a year versus an airport.
This one is tricky. If you do the rate per word, with the average of $0.25/word, an e-learning job for 60 second copy (which on the high end would be 180 words) would only be $45. BUT if you’re able to charge per hour, it could be up to $2400 for a raw hour of recorded copy. Raw means unedited.
This one is a little tricky as well. For smaller stations, you could make $150/promo but if you are doing national promos, it’d be more like $1000/promo. The other positive about promos is that most of the time, you will have a bunch of promos to do at the same time. You may be doing local promos but they could send you up to 4 at a time, so you’d make $600.
I didn’t include radio imaging because unless it’s a huge station, most likely it won’t be a ton of money. They sometimes set the rate by page or put you on a retainer.
Are you wondering why you didn’t see ANIMATION or VIDEO GAMES on there? Because, typically you’ll take home around $250/hour session for those. It’s not the most lucrative genre of voice over. However, if you book a character on a popular game or show, you can make some great money with appearances at conventions.
AUDIOBOOKS is another genre that doesn’t bring in a ton per hour. You’re looking at just a little over $200 per finished hour, which can take up to 2 hours to record and you have to read the book beforehand, so that time needs to be factored in as well. The positive side is that there’s a lot of opportunity in audiobooks right now, it can offer consistent work and depending on where you book it from, it can qualify you for SAG health insurance.
To learn more about how much you should charge for different projects, check out the GVAA RATE GUIDE. Find the genres you like the best, decide how much you want to make per year and then determine how much you’d need to do per day. From there, you can create goals and action plans.