Ann writes the following in response to my last post:
Your emails have been very comforting for me at a time of confusion. Thank you. I will take your advice on this.
[snipped details about specific project]
P.S. Why oh Why does Voice123.com advocate billing upfront with 50% down if this is not the standard among VO talent? I have asked a few other talents and each person is pretty much doing it as you are, nothing upfront. Is Voice123.com in the dark??? I think they need to be en-LIGHT-end about this one before they cause talent to lose work over this detail! Of course, my feeling is if you do the work you should get paid right away… But if that’s not how this business works, well… I need to know that!
Another very good question. Since I’d never noticed this recommendation from Voice123.com, I thought I would check the site and see specifically what they are saying. As far as I can tell this is the article to which you refer, the paragraph right after the sample “bid” language. (If I’m wrong, please let me know and I’ll revise my answer to you based on the corrected information.)
Yes, that article is posted on the Voice123.com site, but Caryn appears to me to be simply one of the many professional talents on the site. I don’t know that we can surmise this is the official position of Voice123.com; rather the opinion of Caryn as posted there.
But, there’s a more significant issue here. I suppose growing up in the farm country of Minnesota has left me hopelessly clueless; but I think that it makes most sense to treat one’s clients with the same measure of trust you expect them to have in you. In other words, I disagree with Caryn’s initial premise. If I don’t trust that someone will keep their word regarding payment, then why do I want to work with them at all? My standards about the kind of voice-over work I will do include the idea that I will only work on projects that promote legal, moral and ethical products and services.
I just don’t think it makes sense to begin with an adversarial point of view. The message I get from Caryn’s sample bid post is “I don’t trust you to pay me if I release the audio to you first; so you have to trust me to release the audio to you after I’ve been paid.” I don’t want to find adversaries, I want to find partners, people who like my work, and want to work with me again. I want to leave a sweet taste in the mouth of my clients, pleasant memories of how easy it was to work with me, and how well I gave voice to their stories. People who will hire me again and again. Leaving the impression with my clients that I don’t entirely trust them doesn’t help that happen. Indeed, just the opposite.
Even so, this voice-over business is a business as Freddie Bell points out so effectively here and as he underscored very well in his Voice123.com webminar (which will be available here one of these days). So, we should deal with our clients the way any business does.
We are a service business. In general, a service business bids on a project; performs the service and then gets paid. (Yes, there are lots of exceptions.) But, for example, if you hire a company to come clean your carpets, do you pay them before or after they actually do the work? What about car repairs? Hair stylist? Etc.?
Again, I hope this is helpful. And I’m delighted to hear about your work. I’m sure you’ll do a great job.
PS: Years ago, I often had to wait 90 days to get paid for my voice work. Now, it’s most often only 30. But, I’d rather have a client who hires me 6 times a year and takes 90 days to pay, than a client who hires me (for the same rate) once a year and pays in 30 days. Best of all, of course, is to have both as clients; but if I have to chose just one, it’s a ‘no brainer.’