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Wow! I received over 850 responses to my recent survey to voice actors. As promised, here are the results!

What was the purpose of this survey?

Voice actors ask us here at Voice123 for opinions/advice on getting an agent and collecting payment. I wanted to find out how our community feels about these topics so we can provide an objective answer. We also get asked why Voice123 charges an upfront subscription fee instead of collecting commission on each job booked. We do this so that voice actors can manage their own business. We do not want to be in the middle of transactions and negotiations. We think it’s better this way, but we still wanted to know what you think!

 Question 1

Question 1 Chart

I asked this question just to get an idea of who was answering our survey.

 Question 2

Are you represented by talent agent voice acting

I asked a few follow up questions to the 35% of you that said you do have an agent.

Question 3

how much income from voice over agentQuestion 4: How much commission does your agent charge?

I left this question open ended because I know many agents charge a different percentage depending on the type of job (union vs. non-union, for example). The vast majority of answers were in the 10-15% range, but there were many in the 20% range as well. I was not surprised by these answers, but I was surprised at the amount of talents that reported that they had no idea how much commission their agent charges. Your agent works for you and you should know how much you are paying for their services! Make sure to read those contracts thoroughly before signing. Check out this post in our forum about some “sketchy” practices to watch out for.

Now, for the interesting part about agents.

Question 5: Do you feel the commission charged by your agent is fair? Why or why not?

For the most part, respondents felt that the commission they pay is fair. There are many that said over 15% is too much in most cases. Here are some highlights:

Yes. They hunt for me, in their forest, and give me the larger portion of the kill.

Yes, I only pay my agents for work they bring me. I book dozens of gigs on my own.

Yes. If for no other reason, I don’t have to chase down money. My agents(s) also are very aware of what specific types of projects suit me best. They can weed out a lot of auditions that won’t work.

20 is excessive…10 seems more fair

Not really because I don’t know what the client is actually paying so I am not sure how much my agent is taking

No. I feel I’m working harder for them than they are for me most of the time.

Question 6: If a client that found you through your agent contacts and hires you directly for other projects, do you still pay your agent a commission?

This is a question that has come up several times for me, and honestly, I wasn’t quite sure how to answer it. So, I’m asking you!

do you pay your talent agent You can see that the majority said “yes.” Here are some of the responses from those that said “sometimes”:

If a client that I work from through an agency contacts me directly, I always tell them thanks, but to please contact that agency with regard to booking me. Helping a client to sidestep an agency is a great way to get dropped from that agency, and earn a bad reputation as well.

If it’s a union gig, yes, probably. If not, probably not.

It depends on how long my relationship is with that client. If its a one off I’ll pay commission but if I’ve established a relationship that now lasts longer that that involving my agent I feel entitled to not pay commission.

Depends on fee and size of job, if substantial, then no problem, if small, then probably not

Question 7

collect payment voice actor voice123I have had many clients that want to pay 90 days later or more, but I am glad to see that this is not the norm.

Question 8: What are your payment terms?

This is another question the Voice123 Team is asked quite a bit. Should I ask for money upfront? 50/50? Should I get paid via PayPal or check? What about revisions? I left this question open-ended, but it seems many of you are using PayPal to collect from your voice over clients. Here are some highlights:

50% up front – 50% upon delivery of files via PayPal – – Guaranteed work – Re-do’s are free.

If a first time client, 50% of the fee up front, and 50% due upon completion. For established clients net 30 with either a check or PayPal.

I accept PayPal, Check, or cash. No money until job is completed. My online clients pay immediately. My old clients pay the old fashioned way-by mail-60 to 120 days.

I usually don’t request upfront payment. Many companies pay on a net-30 schedule, so that isn’t a possibility. I have never NOT been paid. I wouldn’t do a large amount of work with a new client unless the client payed at least half upfront. I think that you are more likely to be ripped off by the low paying clients that cancel their projects and don’t pay you for your work. I normally prefer checks because PayPal takes a cut of the money.

I expect to get paid 3 months after the gig for non-union work in NYC. It’s a luxury to get it sooner. With Voice123, I usually get payment within 60-90 days. But a lot of other clients take more than 90 days. Union work is structured and paymasters usually cut the checks within 14-30 days. I prefer paid by check/direct deposit or Venmo/Chase Quickpay for V123 clients because it’s seamless. However, my international clients use PayPal because it’s safe and secure, but the withdrawal fees are annoying.

I ask for upfront payments only for big projects. Usually, I present the work to the client with watermark and request payment through PayPal before the final delivery. I am paid with checks and wire transfer only for bigger amounts/bigger projects.

I hope this gives you an idea of how other voice actors work and helps you determine what payment methods work for you. Thanks to all the voice actors who took a few minutes out of their day to help me write this post!