Let’s Make a Deal! How Trading Services Can Be a Win-Win for Commercial Voice Actors

As a commercial voice over professional, I end up fielding a lot of email inquiries from prospective clients, and one of the big questions I always get asked is, How much is this going to cost? Quoting commercial voice over projects is certainly part of my daily routine. My responses can vary depending on the situation, the client, the relevant aspects of the project and how the finished project will be used.

A new client found me online recently, looking for someone to narrate a short video for his company website. When we got around to talking about price, the amount he was offering was below my standard rate for that type of project. Even though I wanted to help him, I had to politely decline the opportunity to do the job for him. He was a bit disappointed, but understood why I had to pass.

Fast forward a few days, and this same client comes back to me with a sweeter offer. He asked me if I enjoyed tea…

I Don’t Work for Peanuts But I May, On Occasion, Work For Tea

His company is Socha Tea, and his revised proposal included a gift certificate to use on his website for a generous quantity of tea (to make up for the cash shortfall in his budget). As it turns out, I do happen to enjoy tea. It’s great for the vocal cords and is a nice change-up from my usual morning cup of coffee. Since I still wanted to help this person get what he needed, and loved what his latest offer included, I agreed to the new terms.

After completing the project, I asked for a copy of the video for use in my marketing. And I mentioned that I might like to use the story of our first job working together in a blog post. The topic of bartering for commercial voice over services is an interesting one to talk about, since it can sometimes bridge the gap when a client’s budget is below what a talent needs to charge.

Do you have any interesting voice over trade/barter stories? Please share in the comments section below!

Helping a company with getting their product to the marketplace is part of my mission as a commercial voice professional, and in serving this particular client, it seems I am getting served a little extra special treat for myself.

Socha Tea also does a fair amount of community fundraising and a portion of all their sales goes to their non-profit partner, Wells Bring Hope, to support humanitarian programs in West Africa, providing clean, safe water to those in need.

So, I invite you to visit Socha Tea’s website, partake in some lovely tea (at a nice discount) and in so doing, help bring safe water to less fortunate folks in West Africa. Sounds like a win/win, any way you look at it.

Have you ever traded your commercial voice over services?

Have you ever received something extra special and unique in exchange for your voice over services? Please share your stories in the comments below.

is a commercial voice over talent with more than 20 years of experience. She has collaborated on thousands of projects and partnered with hundreds of production companies, marketing and advertising firms, commercial voice-over recording studios and corporate/business clients around the United States and throughout the world. Check out her Commercial Voice Demos and request a Commercial Voice Talent Audition for your upcoming project.

9 comments on “Let’s Make a Deal! How Trading Services Can Be a Win-Win for Commercial Voice Actors

  1. Ed Waldorph on

    Bartering is big business. Do you know there is even a trade association—International Reciprocal Trade Association? Estimates are suspect because there are so many “off the books” transactions—the IRS is not pleased. In 2012 the market was estimated in the US at 12 billion dollars.

    There are a number of online barter houses trading everything from cosmetic surgery to kid’s clothes. The sector has grown by double digits for the last several years.

    As for me, I’ve bartered in my other business for years but not for voice work… yet. (;->)

  2. Trish Basanyi on

    Great topic, Debbie! Years ago, I was contacted by a startup MLM (Multi-level marketing) company that sold DIAMONDS. They wanted the text on their website’s home page to be also available in audio….and they had little money for it. For 6 months in a row, I received several small diamonds once a month! I had them appraised by a jeweler and they amounted to well over what I would have charged. I’ve done several other trade deals since, but none of the others beat a “girl’s best friend”!

  3. Debbie Grattan on

    Thanks for the responses. Yes, I have even seen profiles of this type on the news, where folks will trade services for most everything, and can do very well at it. I didn’t realize the problem it can be for the IRS. But I must confess, I don’t have much sympathy there.

    Trish, I love your example of the diamonds! Wow! Did you ever use the stones to make any jewelry?

    I have also gotten product from clients in the past – beauty and self-care items are frequent “gifts” from clients for my services, in addition to normal fees.

    Keep those examples coming!

  4. Trish Basanyi on

    Nope, they’re still sitting in a bag in my jewelry box. lol But my 10th Voice-aversary is coming up…..maybe I should get them mounted as a present for myself. 🙂

    I did check out the IRTA……their membership fee is $1000! Yikes.

  5. Helen Moore-Gillon on

    Brilliant idea… Love your blog, loved the video, have just ordered some tea from Socha!

  6. Jeremy Sobeck on

    I’ve contribud to a biblical project where a video dubbed in my native language was used. I didn’t asked for anything in return as it was for missionary cause. But, it was such a great experience. I realized doing voice over is not an easy thing to do and it takes more than just a good voice. It takes an excellent team to put together a quality voice over project. This is why I understand why voice over services are valued at a price.

  7. Jeremy Sobeck on

    Just recently, I’ve again rendered my services free. Its a fairly short voice over project for a non profit organization doing voice over of short films (biblical storirs) that needs to be dubbed in native language. I’d say it’s never easy to do voice over. I’d understand why it costs more to hire experts for they have brillant skills and they know a lot from experience.

  8. voice over commercials on

    Never really traded my voice over something just for free or for something in return. But the way advertisements are doing nowadays it would seem doing voice over commercials is a promising skill which can be profitable. It it has been a career for some then it sure must be an exiting career path.

Comments are closed.