One of the age old debates for voice over talent is the rise of the lowballer – the VO talent who will do a :30 spot for $25 or an audiobook for $200. But Capitalism being what it is, if the lowballer can provide the same quality of voice as you for less, then why should they pay more for your service?
The answer is that last word: Service. Provide service that goes above and beyond and you prove the value of your rate. So how do you go above and beyond for your clients? Take a gander at the following list. I know some of these will be controversial, so sound off in the comments!
Deliver it faster
Does the client need the reading done in a week? Then give it to them in 6 days. Or even 5. Deliver the final product before they expect it. I did this for a client a couple of weeks ago. They got it 2 days before the deadline, reviewed it, sent me performance notes, and I had the pickups to them before the original deadline. Needless to say, the client was super happy.
Give them free pickups, even for copy changes
This one is the thorn in the side of many a voice talent. The client gives you the script, you record it and they come back a day or two later saying that some muckety-muck in management made some copy changes. Usually, the talent is paid for these pickups, sometimes for the full studio rate. But to go above and beyond, try giving the client a free pickup. I did this last week and the client was floored! I was going to be in the studio anyway, so what’s the harm? Sure, my time is worth money, but making a client so happy that they come back to you outweighs a few bucks i would have made from the session.
Caveat: Don’t let the client take this for granted. This is a gift and make it clear in the invoice that this is typically a billable service. Put the line item in the invoice and then after the subtotal, cancel it out with a “courtesy discount”. That way they and anyone else looking at the invoice will know that this is not something that everyone gets for free.
Accept payment other than Paypal
Paypal is super convenient and easy to use. And for the occasional Craigslist ad it’s a blessing to have it available for upfront payments. But a lot of places won’t use it since their billing departments cut checks. Advertise paypal as one of several payment options you accept along with checks, money orders, even wires.
Move from net 30 to Net 45 or even Net 60
Everyone wants to get paid and no one likes to bug clients about ponying up the cash for services they are now using to make money. But corporations are sluggish and bugging the client at exactly 30 days of invoicing makes you look greedy and desperate. Yes, you’re entitled to the money. But pushing out an extra 15 days to give the client some breathing room isn’t going to break your bank.
Send a gift
You certainly won’t see lowballers doing this one. But if you’ve had a good paying client, send a thank you note and a gift card. I’m not talking about a $50 starbucks card for a $100 message on hold gig. But if your job was particularly generous, a gift basket or gift card isn’t going to eat into your profits too much. And making a gensture like that will go a long way.
I have to admit, I stole this from DB Cooper. But if you’re doing a gig at another studio, bring a plate of homemade cookies for the producer and engineer. You will be their best friend for the day.
The key is to evangelize your service
Tell them what you’re going to do
Tell them you did it.
The point is to do something extra for the client and make sure they are aware that this is an extra little something you provide. This may seem obvious to many of you, but how many times do you really do it?