Choice: The Evolution in Voiceover Rates

confused 3d character standing under direction boardHaving choices is a good thing. When I get my car washed I have a choice of three different levels. Silver, Gold, or Platinum and each level provides a bit more than its lower-priced sibling. I see the value of Platinum when compared to Silver and typically settle for Gold. I determine the value of my purchase and decide which suits my needs.

The idea of choice is something I’ve been considering for my studio. Offering three price points for professional services, each building on the services of the previous, just like the car wash. Would this give clients the perception of better control of their purchase or just confuse the process?

Currently, my rate per project includes a full range of services for one base price. This example is for non-broadcast and the size of the script and intended audience would impact the final rate.


Breaking things down into price point levels would look something like this:

The rate for the Green Package would be what I’d typically charge for a job. For example let’s say my current rate is $200 for up to 2-minutes of explainer video narration. With the tiered levels Green would be $200, White would be only 10% less than Green or $180. Purple would be 25% more than Green or $250.

I’m guessing I’d want the step-up between White and Green insignificant enough that clients would feel it was a good value for the small increase in price. The value proposition should still be in place between Green and Purple but maybe one that the client has to really consider before selecting it.

Another option is to create perceived value by pricing the Green and Purple identically. Numbers could be $200 for White, $250 for Green, $250 for Purple. According to a study by Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics, when a group of MIT students were presented with price points like those outlined above, Green was totally ignored and Purple was identified as the best deal.

However, when Green was removed, the students selected White because there was too much contrast between White and Purple. The students became bargain hunters and convinced themselves they didn’t need the upgrade. Hmmm…

Is there another rate method that might work better? I’d like to know your thoughts and ideas. Please share your suggestions in the comments box below.

© 2015 J. Christopher Dunn

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6 thoughts on “Choice: The Evolution in Voiceover Rates

  1. larrywayne February 25, 2015 / 12:52 pm

    Hhmmm. Never thought about this concept, J. Christopher Dunn. At first glance, it looked to me like you could make slightly more revenue from the session as most clients would pick the green. But, the purple might actually harm you as you are locking in your pick up rate, if I understand the table correctly. I often get call backs from clients wanting to change a script that I previously voiced. I would think there is more room to negotiate a rate for the pickups when there is no preset long term pickup price. Does that make sense?


    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Christopher Dunn February 25, 2015 / 3:35 pm

      Good points and I think it would depend on how each service was weighted in the base rate. Establishing what “Long Term” means against “Limited” would ideally be formulated on the type of project. My current no-fault pickup period maxes at two days without charge. Long term might be a month up to 25% of the script. I’m just tossing numbers out there as examples. Anything is possible. 🙂 Thanks for the comments!


  2. gterzza February 26, 2015 / 8:44 am

    I’m not so sure. Sometimes too much choice confuses the customer – I’m of the Gordon Ramsay school… restrict the options on the menu, but make them clear, compelling and tasty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Christopher Dunn February 26, 2015 / 12:29 pm

      Yeah, I totally get what you’re saying. There is the chance of making what I propose to complicated.

      I’m a fan of Gordon Ramsay but I’m sure even Gordon would agree that dinner does not mean everybody gets (affords!) Beef Wellington. 🙂

      Or, maybe a different way to think about it: not one price for an entire meal but a break down and choice for appetizer,entrée, main course, and dessert. One person eats just one course but some eat all four.

      Thanks for your comment!


  3. DebbieGrattanVoiceovers March 10, 2015 / 10:59 am

    Interesting idea. Especially when there are so many different clients with varying budgets, it makes sense to have choices. I try to evaluate each new client individually, and base pricing on my standard, and then what makes sense for them. But in reality, I do often offer all the services above to clients across the boards – even when I’ve agreed to bargain price it for them, for whatever reason. But I’ve never listed rates for my services anywhere, because I like having flexibility in quoting individually.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Christopher Dunn March 11, 2015 / 10:59 am

      Debbie, thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I appreciate your comments!

      It’s a tough call to know when to adjust a rate to match a client’s budget. Asking a client how much has been budgeted for voiceover has worked about 10% of the time. I like to help out anybody who’s interested in using my voice. I’m in the voice actor business not only because I enjoy voiceover, but because it’s the way I make a living. Paying the bills is uber important.

      My core offering is my voice and everything else is a value add. Like you, I offer everything to everybody, whether they need it or not. Could distinguishing value with price points, which offer tiered benefits, be the evolved way of billing clients? Maybe. I’m still giving the possibility thought and have rethought the method several times.


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