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How much should voice actors cost?

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Discover how much voice actors should cost for your project. Learn about factors influencing rates and cost-saving alternatives like Speechify Voiceover.

When planning a project that requires a voiceover, such as an audiobook narration, explainer videos, or even IVR systems (Interactive Voice Response System), it's essential to know how much hiring a voice actor or voice over artist will cost.

The fees for voice over jobs can vary widely, depending on numerous factors, from the actor's experience to the type of project. This article will help you understand what you can expect to spend on voice talent for your project, whether you're working with indie creators or professional voice actors.

The average cost of voice talent

The cost of hiring voice actors varies depending on multiple factors, such as word count, recording time, and whether they have a home studio. Voice over rates can be charged as an hourly rate or as a per-finished hour (PFH) rate. For example, an hourly rate could range from $50 to $200, while a PFH rate might be between $200 and $400.

It's crucial to note that experienced professional voice actors may charge higher rates because they're aware of their skill level and can deliver a superior finished audio product.

In addition to the hourly or PFH rates, voice over artists may also charge based on the finished minutes of a project. For instance, a 10-minute explainer video could cost between $300 and $500, while a 60-minute audiobook narration might range from $1000 to $2000. The same goes for radio commercials, tv commercials, or social media products.

Voice over rates can also be influenced by the project type, such as indie productions or corporate videos, or where you find the voice-acting talent. Freelancing sites may offer lower rates, but working directly with a voice actor or going through an agency could provide access to more experienced talent at potentially higher rates.

Understanding the average cost of voice talent can help you budget effectively for your project and ensure you find the right voice over artist to bring your project to life.

Factors that affect how much you spend

Several factors can influence the cost of voice acting. Some of these factors include:

  • Union vs. Non-Union actors: Union actors may charge higher fees due to industry-standard rates, while non-union actors may offer more flexibility in pricing than the union rates.
  • Experience: More experienced voice actors and voice over actors often command higher fees due to their honed skills and recognition in the industry.
  • Broadcast or Non-Broadcast: Projects intended for broadcast (TV, radio) may have different pricing structures than non-broadcast projects (e-learning videos, podcasts).
  • Usage Fees: Depending on the intended use of the voiceover, additional usage fees may apply, especially for projects with a broader audience or longer run times, or if payment is made upfront or rate cards are created for specific milestones.
  • Buyouts vs. Residuals: A buyout is a one-time payment for the voiceover, while residuals are ongoing payments based on usage. The choice between these options can impact the overall cost.

How to reduce the cost of voice acting

There are several strategies you can use to reduce the cost of voice acting for your project, whether it's for audiobooks, video games, dubbing, or other types of voice over work. Some of these tips include:

Use non-union voice actors

Non-union actors may offer more competitive voice over rates and flexibility in pricing compared to SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) members, making them a more cost-effective option for some projects.

Choose talent with a recording studio to limit post-production costs

Voice actors with their own recording studios can save you money on post-production costs and ensure a higher-quality final product for various project types, including audiobooks and video games.

Ask about recuts

Some voice actors may be willing to provide recuts or revisions at a reduced rate, which can help you save money if changes are needed after the initial recording, especially in dubbing projects where precise synchronization is crucial.

Finalize your script and direction before recording

By ensuring that your script and creative direction are finalized before recording, you can avoid costly changes and re-recordings. This is particularly important for video games and other projects that may require specific types of voice performances.

Understand the voice over rate guide

Familiarizing yourself with industry-standard rate guides can help you better negotiate fees with voice actors, ensuring you get the best value for your money. This is especially helpful when dealing with SAG-AFTRA talent and understanding their pricing structure.

Negotiate buyout or perpetuity agreements

Instead of agreeing to pay residuals based on usage, consider negotiating a buyout or perpetuity agreement. This means you'll pay a one-time fee for the voiceover, which can help you control costs for projects with long-term or extensive usage, such as audiobooks or video games.

Consider using AI-powered voiceover software

AI-generated voices, like Speechify Voiceover, can be a cost-effective alternative to traditional voice actors, offering high-quality results at a lower price point. This technology can be particularly useful for projects requiring various types of voice performances or extensive content, such as audiobooks or e-learning materials.

Try Speechify Voiceover for your next project

If you're looking to save money on voice acting without compromising on quality, Speechify Voiceover is an excellent option to consider. This AI-powered voiceover software can generate realistic and engaging voiceovers for a variety of projects, from explainer videos to audiobooks and more.

One of the main advantages of using Speechify Voiceover is its cost-effectiveness. By leveraging cutting-edge AI technology, you can access professional-sounding voiceovers at a fraction of the cost compared to hiring a voice actor. Additionally, Speechify offers a wide range of voice options, allowing you to choose the perfect voice to match the tone and style of your project. To get started see how Speechify Voiceover can bring your project to life while staying within your budget.


How much does a good voice actor cost?

A good voice actor's cost can vary depending on their experience, reputation, and the specific requirements of your project. In the voice over industry, established voice artists may charge higher rates due to their expertise and ability to deliver high-quality performances using their own voice. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 per hour or more for a skilled voice actor, depending on your project's needs.

How much should a voice actor charge per line?

Voice actor charges per line can vary depending on the project type and the actor's experience. For instance, a voice actor might charge between $3 and $10 per line for video game projects or commercial voiceovers. It's essential to discuss the project scope and requirements with the voice talent before starting work to determine an appropriate rate.

How much do voice actors charge per hour?

Hourly rates for voice actors can vary based on experience and project complexity. Generally, rates range from $50 to $200 or more for less experienced actors, while seasoned professionals may charge $200 to $500 or higher per hour.

How much should a voice actor charge per word?

Voice actors may charge per word for certain projects, with rates typically ranging from $0.10 to $0.50 per word. The rate depends on the voice actor's experience and the project's specific needs.

How much should voice actors charge for a TV or film voiceover?

For TV or film voiceovers, voice actors may charge a flat rate or negotiate a salary based on the project's budget and their role. Union voice actors, such as SAG-AFTRA members, may have specific rates set by their union.

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.