Updated: Dec 30, 2020
These figures are based on estimates, your mileage may vary.
Voice-over is an extremely low-cost business to begin and is one I wish I had started sooner.
My first business was a retail store. When I started the store, I took out a six-figure loan from the SBA. When I started my voice-over business, I spent less than $5,000 for training, two demos, a website, and my recording space over the course of six months when I decided to go full-time.
So how much should you expect to spend when you’re starting out?
Here are 5 Start-Up Costs To Expect As A New Voice Actor
1. Evaluation and training - Reach out to several reputable coaches and inquire about what they offer. Even if you have a background in acting and business management, you'll need to learn the expectations and standards of the industry. Every new talent needs at least a few coaching sessions. Everyone has different levels of talent and skill so the amount of training required varies greatly depending on the individual. Evaluation & Training: $300+
2. Consultation with a professional engineer specializing in voice-over - A 60-minute session with a professional voice over-engineer can give you personalized answers on how best to treat your recording space and what equipment is best for you. One consultation will save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars and hours of frustration in the long-run. Engineer Consultation(s): $100-$500
3. Sound treatment and equipment - You cannot be a professional voice-actor with a USB mic and an untreated room. Professional voice actors at the very least have isolation booths while many have custom-built studios in their homes. Again, work with your voice-over engineer to devise a plan on how best to treat your recording space and which equipment is best for your vocal range. Sound Treatment & Recording Equipment: $700+
4. Demo - Professional voice actors have professional demos. You should never make your own demo. Everyone who works professionally in this industry has a trained ear and can tell the difference between a homemade novice demo and one created by an actual producer. Your demo is how you get jobs so it should sound perfect! Professional Demo (script creation, rehearsal, music/SFX/, mixing, etc.): $1,000+
5. Website - Your website should be tailored for voice-over with a personalized email address. The cost of this can vary greatly depending on how much you can manage yourself. Website hosting fees, maintenance, etc.: $100-$1,000
(This all of course doesn't include the cost of incorporating, subscription service fees, and other miscellaneous operational costs.)
That still only brings your grand total to $3,000 on the low-end of the estimate.
If you had told 18-year-old me that I could have begun my voice-over career with $3,000, I would have done that instead of taking out a six-figure loan to start a retail store.
What do you want to learn about next? Let me know in the comments below!
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