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How much does it cost to hire voice actors?

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How much does it cost to hire voice actors? This article will give you an overview of the factors affecting voice actor prices and tell you more about celebrity voice actors.

Voice-over actors are used for many things today, from radio commercials to video games. However, hiring a professional voice talent can be expensive, especially considering the many factors that affect the voice-over rates.

This article will give you a general rate guide for hiring a voice-over artist and review the factors that impact how much voice actors cost.

A price estimate for voice acting jobs

The price for hiring voice-over talent depends on the quality of the voice actor, the length, word count, and type of the voice-over job, the reach and usage of the recording, and additional costs and fees.

Voice actor quality

Professional voice actors are more expensive to hire than beginners and most freelancers. However, the professional voice-over actor might bring you more than just a finished job. They’re aware of what’s trending on the market and know how to make engaging voice-overs, so even though you might pay more upfront, the final product will be worth your money.

Length and word count

Since most voice-over jobs are individual projects, the cost of the voice-over work is usually calculated by the finished hour or per word. Read at a regular speed, a one-minute voice-over can fit in around 150 words. This leads to the voice-over project costing between $50 and $250 per minute and an hourly rate of around $1,200.

Type, reach, and usage

The type, reach, and usage of the voice-over job greatly impact the price of the voice actor. The type of voice-over means that they can be used for various purposes, such as podcasts, educational videos, audiobooks, video games, etc. In addition, voice-over can be broadcast and non-broadcast.

Broadcast usage

Broadcast usage refers to public media like radio and TV commercials and has a wider reach. Depending on the duration and the market size, the price can be between $300 and $2,000.

For some countries, broadcast usage can also depend on the standard rates of the voice-over industry or voice actor union like The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG AFTRA) in the United States. On the other hand, hiring non-union voice actors means that you don’t have to comply with the rates set by unions.

Non-broadcast usage

Non-broadcast media refers to everything that the consumer can pause, rewind, etc., such as audiobooks, podcasts, e-learning and explainer videos, and streaming services like video games. They usually come with an unlimited license term for commercial usage.

Additional costs

Lastly, when considering the budget for your voice-over project, you must consider additional fees, costs, and losses in case of unplanned circumstances. The fees might include licensing or buyout costs that allow unlimited use of the recording of the voice actor.

Other additional costs include pickups, bungling, tags, revisions, and redos if errors cannot be corrected in post-production. Furthermore, if neither you nor the voice artist owns a home studio, you have to include the cost of renting a recording studio.

How much does celebrity voice acting cost?

The cost of hiring a celebrity voice actor depends on the same factors that affect the cost of hiring a freelance voice talent. However, while this option might provide you with the best voice-over, it’s also the most expensive and requires serious budget calculations.

Celebrity voice actors fall into the professional voice actor group. They have the skill and experience that got them to that level, and for that, they’re paid much more than beginner voice actors. They’ve also earned their title by promoting their voice and making connections in the voice-over industry.

Many celebrity voice actors started as regular actors. Still, due to their unique voices, many animated movies are willing to pay up to $10 million to get them to voice a character in their films. For example, Eddie Murphy earned $35,000 per hour for his role as Donkey in Shrek 2.

Then there are those who perform voice over work but primarily work behind the camera and regularly work in animation. One of them is Seth MacFarlane, who’s most famous for his voice-over in Family Guy and American Dad. It’s estimated that he made $50,000 per episode of Family Guy in 2016.

Some actors make a breakthrough as voice actors because of specific roles. Such an example is Idina Menzel, a Broadway singer who became recognized as a voice actor only after her role as Elsa in Frozen. Today, her net worth is around $20 million.

The two highest-paid voice actors are certainly the creators of South Park, Trey Parker, and Matt Stone, who also voice most characters in the show. It’s estimated that Trey Parker’s net worth is about $600 million, while Matt Stone’s is even higher, at $700 million.

Spend less and create more with Speechify voice-overs

If you’re on a tight budget, voice-over software like Speechify might be a better option. Speechify is a text to speech generator that features a voice-over service and allows you to make high-quality narration for your social media posts, e-learning videospodcasts, and much more.

You can choose from more than 120 types of voices, including the voices of some celebrities. You can even request a custom voice and make your videos one-of-a-kind. If you want to reach a wider audience with your content, you can translate your voice-over into any of the 30-plus languages offered on the website.

Try Speechify for free today by going to its website and downloading the app on your chosen device.


How much is a 3-minute voice-over?

A 3-minute voice-over usually has around 200-400 words and costs approximately $300.

What is the average length of a voice-over?

The length of a voice-over depends on the project. Commercials are usually 15-60 seconds, while the length of social media videos can range from several minutes to a few hours. Audiobooks usually last 4-6 hours, and movies and cartoons featuring voice actors usually take 1-2 hours.

Is voice acting expensive?

Voice acting as a profession can be expensive for those just starting their careers. It requires time, skill, and money for voice acting classes, recording equipment, and other necessary tools to polish your voice acting skills.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.