When launching any company, it is absolutely essential to budget how much money is needed to get the business off the ground. And starting a voiceover business is no different. More often than not, I’m coming across folks that want to launch a VO business but are tight on funds, so, the big question is... How much money do I need to start my voiceover business?
Before we get too excited, let’s define some terms. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna get crazy with the business lingo, but there are a couple of essential terms to know before you scroll to the bottom of the page to look at what exactly is required for VO.
Starting capital - Money needed to meet initial business expenses
Sunk costs - Money spent that you won’t recover (Ex: equipment)
Fixed expenses - Expenses that are constant, no matter the quantity of goods or services produced. (Ex: rent)
Variable expenses - Expenses that vary based on the goods and services produced. (Ex: raw materials to make a product to sell)
Revenue - Money coming into the business.
Profit - Revenue minus Expenses
Now, how do we apply this to voiceover??
When we launch into voiceover, there are going to be quite a few sunk costs to consider, and this will all come from your starting capital. But how much capital do you need to start a solid voiceover business? Well, let’s break it down.
Education - The classes and coaching to hone your craft and build your business. This should be one of your largest expenses.
Booth Buildout - All the supplies you need to build your treated booth. This could consist of sound dampening supplies(blankets or tiles, a stand to hold your copy, wood or PVC pipe, etc. You absolutely can use things you already have such as clothes, blankets, etc to make a good recording space.
Equipment - The microphone, interface, computer, editing software, studio headphones, etc. Basically, all the equipment you require to do the job. You do NOT have to have a crazy expensive microphone, BUT you do need something of good quality(preferably XLR, not USB).
Marketing - How will someone know to hire you if they don’t know you exist? Marketing expenses come in the form of your website, Pay 2 Play sites, business cards, headshots yes, even for VO, demo, etc. Click here to learn more about demos
Legal and Professional fees - Keep in mind that you may want to hire a CPA or get legal advice as you launch your business.
Business License - If you decide to create an LLC or S-Corp, be sure to budget for those fees. The costs vary from state to state.
Ok, great, but I still haven’t answered the question you keep asking.
HOW MUCH MONEY DOES IT TAKE TO START MY VOICEOVER BUSINESS?
I know, crummy answer. I will say that there are solutions for a wide variety of budgets. Let’s see if I can’t give you some cost ranges to help you hone in on a good starting budget. Please note that these are ballpark figures. The actual cost will vary from person to person.
Education:2,000 - 7,500 dollars
Individual classes and coaching range from 75 - 250 dollars each (on average)
Booth Buildout:0 - Good Lord, I’m going to have to rob a bank to buy that
From making it work in a closet to top of the line Whisper Room. Sound dampening is essential as you’ll find your microphone will pick up EVERYTHING.
Equipment 1,000 - 10,000 dollars+
Quality equipment is a must as it’s what you use to do your job! Now, a mic is only as good as the room it’s in, but a quality XLR mic is still important.
Marketing 2,000 - 10,000 dollars
Big expense, I know, but I included a demo in this pricing range. And, a professional demo is a must - it’s not recommended to produce something yourself (CLICK HERE for my blog about demos)
Legal and Professional Fees 0 - 1,000 dollars
Having a CPA is helpful, but not required.
Business License:0 - 1,500 dollars
I included the 800 annual tax from CA in the estimate Other states may have something similar. Be sure to check with your state’s government for the costs)
So, from a very minimal budget, you can expect to invest about 5,000 dollars or so into your new business. Keep in mind, that there will be additional expenses as your business grows, but those expenses are unique to the business owner and the goals they’ve set for the business.
Having a budget - and recording expenses)- will keep you aware of what you’re spending. And then you can compare the revenue you’re bringing in from your gigs to those expenses to determine how much profit your making. But all that bookkeeping business is for another blog.
Pinching them pennies,