For voice actors just getting started in the industry, two of the most common questions include: “How do I become a voice actor?” and “How much does a voice actor make?”
Voice acting salaries can vary widely from person-to-person, year-to-year, project-to-project, as well as usage of the recording (local, national, international) and length of time (6 weeks, 1 year, in perpetuity, etc.). It is also important to keep in mind that voice actors are typically paid on a per-job basis.
Some jobs pay more than others due to the specific effort required to complete that project, and regularly depend on a number of other variables.
Read on to learn about how much money voice actors make, how to get paid for voice over work, and how to set your salary as a newcomer to the industry.
How much money can I make per job?
Before you get started in this exciting and highly rewarding industry, you need to develop an understanding of the range of voice acting salaries that you can expect from different types of voice over work.
Every voice over project will belong to a different category of work with its own market distribution, which will have industry rates that will directly determine the amount of money you’ll earn from the project.
If you’re providing voice over for cartoons and animation, the industry rates generally range from $100 for a short, 15-second animation, all the way up to $10,000 for the starring role in an animated short. You can expect even higher if you’re cast to play the lead role in an animated feature film.
If you’re pursuing a career in audiobook narration, the standard rates commonly range between $200 – $300 per hour of recording. Since most audiobooks consist of about 4 – 6 hours of recording, an audiobook narrator’s salary usually works out to about $1,500.
To gain a clearer understanding of how much money you could make for a particular voice acting job, take a look at our Voice Over Rates page. This is a helpful guide to estimate your annual voice actor salary.
Note: The figures listed on the Voice Over Rates page are only suggestions. Voice acting jobs may be posted with budgets that are higher or lower than the suggested rates.
Voice Acting Salaries for Broadcast vs. Non-Broadcast Work
The amount of money that a voice actor earns from a job will depend on whether the recording is for a project intended to be broadcast or not.
For instance, most clients who post non-broadcast work, such as audiobook or video game jobs, pay according to the script’s word count. For example, a project with a word count of 4,500 – 6,000 words has a suggested budget range of $750 to $999.
However, if you contribute your voice to a project that will be broadcast, you’ll be paid according to the market distribution and usage of the voice over.
For example, a two-minute voice recording for a local TV commercial that airs for 13 weeks has a suggested budget of approximately $500 – $749. If a broadcast voice over project involves larger market distribution, you will likely be paid at a higher rate due to the size of the project’s audience.
Professional vs. Beginner Voice Actor Salaries
The ceiling of a voice actor’s salary can be immensely high. However, it’s worth recognizing that success only comes with a great deal of hard work and valuable experience.
To provide some perspective, a top voice actor like Nancy Cartwright, who voices several characters on The Simpsons, makes about $400,000 per episode.
As a beginner, it’s best to be realistic about your starting income and expected annual salary, because when you’re only getting started in the industry, you’re bound to lack industry experience—and that’s okay. However, you can still make a decent amount of money while working from home and setting your schedule, as long as you’re proactive about setting a fair and accurate voice acting salary.
How to Set Your Voice Actor Salary
As a voice actor, your voice is your business. You are essentially an entrepreneur, and as such, you ought to think of your income just like any savvy business owner would.
This means that what your business makes, and the voice acting salary that you earn, will be contingent on whether you are making more money providing voice over than you are spending on the operating costs of advertising your services.
This boils down to ensuring that you are quoting properly for all the voice over jobs you’re auditioning for. Your quote should always take the valuable time and resources that you’ll be devoting to completing the recording into account.
Your voice actor salary will steadily increase as you gather more experience and have more projects under your belt. Compared to the point when you’re first starting out, once you’ve established yourself as an in-demand ‘pro,’ you can begin to quote higher rates.
This handy article on Setting Your Voice Actor Salary takes a deep dive into calculating your expenses, and thus will help you ensure your quotes are on point too.
How to Quote for Voice Over Projects
On Voices, voice actors set their own rates. You’ll never be required to bid for work at a rate that is below what you feel is fair for the job.
While it’s true that having control over the ability to assert the monetary value of your work is a powerful asset, you should also take your time to understand the industry trends and rates to get a good idea of how much your time and efforts are worth.
Voice Over Payment
As a registered voice talent on Voices, you won’t ever have to worry about doing unpaid jobs, because our SurePay™ service ensures that all voice actors receive payment for every project they complete.
SurePay™ reduces the fear of failing to get paid, so that you can focus all of your energy on delivering the highest quality of voice over work, which will in turn result in positive client reviews that help you stand out in the marketplace.
You can easily view all your project earnings under the ‘Payment’ section of your account.
At the end of each year, you should calculate your earnings from all your income sources and total up your voice actor salary. Making more than $100,000 is a great voice actor salary and if you’re not there yet, make this your goal!