be in it for the money


One of the reasons I am so focused on making sure voice talents continue to see a career in voice over as a business is because I’ve witnessed so many who get caught up in the joy of getting the work that they ignore the key detail within the “career” part of the equation – getting paid.

I have been VERY fortunate in my career…less than a handful of times has any client tried to stiff me; I am bless with very professional and nice clients. You probably are (or will be) too. The overwhelming majority of potential or existing clients in our world are ethical people.

But a very few aren’t so my advice up front is that you create a process for every client where you have more control over how funds are delivered to you and you establish that control in your initial negotiations. I have a one page work order/agreement that lays out for the client (and, in the case of those few stiffs I mentioned, the courts) work, payment terms (am a big fan of payment upon delivery) and payment amounts. Professionals I work with don’t mind this a bit document one bit and in fact appreciate it.

Understand that no matter your level of voice over experience, some clients will try and pull a fast one; these are people who are usually unscrupulous in all aspects of their lives and it may just be your turn to deal with them. Sorry, its your turn to take out the trash.

My friend and fellow voice talent Jeff Kafer has had occasion to blog about this problem. And today I read on the Yahoo Voiceover Group about a collection challenge fellow voice talent Cheryl Fall’s friend has faced with an international client. You think its challenging to collect from across the street? Try collecting money from across the seas. Here’s Cheryl’s post (complete with collection emails), reprinted with her permission:

Jobs from India
Posted by: “Cheryl Fall” cheryl.fall
Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:54 pm (PST)

Hi All,

About a month ago, someone posted a message asking about voice opportunities
coming in from India. I had replied that I avoid doing any work with anyone
who contacts me out of the blue from India or other offshore locale, because
it is difficult to get paid.

Recently, a fellow voice talent did a huge job for an group called VoxBox,
based in India. This job consisted of hundreds of individual files that had
to be recorded, edited and delivered within a very short time frame. Seven
(7) months later, she has still not been paid – and probably will never be

For the record, this is a well-known Spanish speaking voice talent with MANY
years of experience, who I work with on a regular basis. Excerpts of her
emails to this client are below, and she gave me permission to post these to
the group. Hopefully it will help others understand why I do not do business
with offshore companies.


On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 1:25 PM:

I sent you the invoices again yesterday when you said you would pay only
$500.00. I am sure you had time to review them by now and determine that
the total due is more than $500.00. We are waiting for full payment through
pay pal immediately. I Just check the account. No payment has been

I will send $500 via Paypal. Give me a few more days. I need to refill my

Yours Sincerely,

Melroy D’Mello
Founder – Vox Box

On Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 2:28 PM:

Hello Melroy,
We received your email promising to pay us the first week of November. We
are already on the second week and no payment has been received yet. My pay
pal account does not reflect your payment either. When do you intend to pay
and through what method?
Looking forward to hearing from you,

Melroy D’Mello has sent you a message.
Date: 10/27/2009
Subject: RE: Please reply to my email messages requesting payment

I will send across payment by first week of next month. Sorry for the delay.
Appreciate your patience and hope you can forgive this delay.

On 10/25/09 10:34 PM:
I am not willing to wait any longer than the 6 months passed since working
for your math project in Spanish. You have repeatedly ignored my messages
and have disregarded my inquiries for payment. Please be so kind as to remit
payment immediately for the money you owe me and reply to my email from
today Sunday, October 25, 2009.

I have received all six invoices :
I request your patience for a short time more and to take this up in
exactly a week and a half’s time as Melroy is currently travelling on
business and handles the payment procedures. We are considering taking a
låna pengar with the help of Sambla but need approval from our manager.
Shawn Pereira
Project Manager
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 3:18 AM:
Hello Shawn,
Since Merloy is not available, he mentioned in his automatic reply to refer
all emails to you. Thank you.
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 22:38:45 -0700
To: Melroy D’Mello <>, Michelle <>

Hi again Melroy and Michelle,
Would you be so kind as to forward payment for the attached invoices? It
has been 75 days since I sent these invoices.
Thank you kindly for your prompt attention to this matter.

One Response to “be in it for the money”

  1. […] blog…and thanks again for that) the issue of payment terms for voice over services provided was addressed here recently. It revolved around American voice talents who work domestically and internationally with one story […]