I recently quoted a job for 3 x 30s radio spots that required a Singaporean female VO for an Arabic market; the clients shortlisted four voices and wanted to check rates. So 4 WhatsApp messages later, I start to get replies.

3 of the voices came back with basically the same price, while the 4th was 50% over. I didn’t have to ask her why, I knew that when she saw which market this was for, she made an assumption on the rates and bounced hers up by half.

I’ve discussed before how shortlisting works – clients whittle off overpriced VO quotes in the first round; they negotiate once they’re down to 2 candidates. Voice four wasn’t upping her number as a buffer to come down a little, she genuinely believed that this market paid a handsome premium.

Truth? It doesn’t.

It pays a fair rate, and it is easy to check online before submitting a figure. There are several voice fee sites with info for markets around the world, and more than one had it correctly that this Middle East market doesn’t pay a premium.

This was not a loading situation, the Middle East client has a new retailer in their mall, and this retailer is from (drum roll!) – Singapore! So their radio ads would air on their local radio only. Their production team knew the best option was a Singapore-based voice agency (us!) to source and record the spots in Singapore with live direction via Skype.

BTW, they went with one of the first three voices and are super happy with the reads.