You might be wondering why I am stating the obvious here. I mean, you record a voice over, you get a check, right?
Well… not exactly.
An Inner Circle member who is just starting out told me she had gotten “stiffed” on her first three jobs from three different clients. How frustrating! And let’s face it, she is not alone. Many talents, even some experienced ones, have a hard time getting their clients to cough up the bucks. Here’s how to prevent it from happening to you.
SEND A BILL
Also known as an invoice, you’ve got to send a bill if you want to get paid. It sounds obvious, but many voice talents have never had to worry about this in their day job where their pay is deposited right into their bank account. A woman in one of my seminars once told me she realized several months after her first job was done that the reason she never got paid was because she hadn’t sent a bill. Too embarrassed, she let it slide. If it were me, I would have sent an invoice marked FINAL NOTICE.
SET YOURSELF UP TO ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS AND PAY PAL
Credit cards are easier than ever to accept with Square, a free card reader and app that hooks up to your Smart Phone. There are no set up charges and a nominal processing fee per transaction In most cases you’ll see the money in your bank account the following day. To set yourself up with a Pay Pal account go to www.paypal.com. Again there’s a small service fee but many customers will happily pay quickly that way.
CLARIFY BILLING PROCEDURES UP FRONT
Make sure you get the name, address, email address and phone number of the person in accounts payable. It will often be different from the person who hired you for the job. Some clients will issue a purchase order number which you must include on every invoice in order to get paid. Others require job numbers or other specific information. Failure to follow billing procedures can really delay payment, so ask questions and keep careful notes before you send the bill.
KEEP CAREFUL RECORDS
As your business grows, accounting software like Quickbooks will help you keep track of who owes what. At the very least keep an accordion style tickler file so you can follow up with a call and an email on the day invoices are due. File a copy of your invoice on the day of the month it’s due and move it ahead accordingly to remind you to call.
Make your collection calls every week, calling as soon as the invoice is over due. Never be rude or demanding, even to the slowest payers. Be persistent, be polite. Politely tell your contact you are following up on a past due invoice and would like to know when you can expect payment. You may have to resend your invoice and call several times before you get paid. But if you are pleasant and friendly during your follow up, your check will be on the way in no time.
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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist
and founder of The Great Voice Company,
a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors.
The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit www.greatvoice.com
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