The voice over business isn’t like traditional retail. Clients don’t come to your store, take your voice over off the shelf, place it on the counter and give you their credit card.
I wish it were that simple!
If you’re like most voice talent, that being the self-employed, entrepreneurial kind, among other things, you are the CFO of your company. You’re accounts payable. You’re accounts receivable. Many hats. No increase in pay!
I’ve been doing voice over for a very long time. In my time, I’ve been able to maintain a very high payment record. Last year, as an example, I received payment for 98% of my jobs. The year before that the number was about the same.
I’ve had many emails from voice talent who haven’t been as fortunate, and they’re never really sure what to do. With that in mind, let me share a few tips that have helped me over the years.
3 Ways To Make Sure You Get Paid
1) Invoice immediately: I send my invoice with the final audio. I don’t wait for approval. Sometimes that can take weeks. If I wait weeks, there’s a distinct possibility that either myself or the client will forget. This has happened to me! I make sure the client knows I will be available for any pickups, retakes, corrections, etc. But I invoice immediately.
2) Follow Up In 35 Days: With the reality of today’s economic climate and common business practices, it’s my experience that many companies, especially larger ones, will pay in 30 days. Individuals and smaller companies can and often will pay immediately. But 30 days has been the average for my business. If I haven’t received payment within 35 days (30 days + 5 days for post) I send a polite follow up email. Which leads to my next point.
3) Always Be Polite: If you assume that people are out to screw you, stop doing voice over right now. I mean it. Just quit and go get a regular day job. If your attitude is that people are out to take advantage of you, your business will fail! Have you ever forgot to pay a bill? Have you ever forgot to do anything? Did you do it maliciously? Or did you simply forget? People forget. We’re human. NEVER assume a client is trying to screw you, and NEVER go on the offensive in your invoicing communication. I’ve had invoices overdue by 8 months or more before… and they still eventually got paid. And I was polite during the entire process!
If your attitude is that people are out to take advantage of you, your business will fail!
Bonus Tip: Thank Them In Advance
When I have an outstanding invoice that I’ve inquired about more than once, I send an email something along the lines of, “I apologize for bothering you about this again, but I was hoping to check on the status of invoice ###. I really appreciate you looking into this for me. Thank you in advance for your consideration.”
That email has resulted in more collected past due balances than any other tactic I’ve tried in nearly two decades of voice work.
Your reputation and integrity is the most important thing. Kindness is key in all situations. No matter what, be polite and take the high road. It will always produce a better result!