Fiverr Community Forum

Voice Over Talent On Fiverr - Ruining the Industry?

Hello all,

I’ve been a VO seller here on Fiverr for over two years now. I found Fiverr by accident on a recommendation of a “former” VO talent. I started up an account and pretty soon Fiverr was my most solid form of income as a VO artist.

Then as I was doing my VO market research I found that VO artists here on Fiverr don’t have a very nice reputation among the Voice Over community at large. I’ve seen some pretty heated discussions (and articles) where we are depicted as thieves, sub par, etc. Essentially saying we are undercutting the industry by offering our services for so little. On reddit a few weeks ago I found an article written by a voice over coach that (GASP) actually defended Fiverr. He used to hate Fiverr but when he found out that you can charge more than $5 and actually get close to what normal VO artists charge, he changed his tune. I tried to engage in the discussion on reddit but was quickly shouted down as a defender of the indefensible.

I realize I’m probably preaching to the choir on this, considering I’m in the Fiverr forum, but I am interested in a discussion about this topic. Does anyone else feel like I do sometimes that Fiverr is my “dirty secret” when I talk to other voice over artists in the real world? What are your thoughts?

(Personally I don’t think we undercut the industry. This type of commerce is the future for all types of services. We also take gigs that NEVER would have gone through the traditional system anyway. I think the only difference between me and Joe VO is that I’m willing to charge by the minute where Joe wants to charge for at least 1 hour or more. Just my take.)

I think Fiverr has an unfair reputation for poor quality in the services on offer. The reality is that if you pick up a phone book and go through it, you will find a fair number of rubbish companies as well as some good ones. It’s the same principle here with the added advantage of being able to roughly see the price of any gig you want done.
I do translation and, for example, the STANDARD price for translation of German to English by a translator in Germany is so much more than I charge it is not even funny. So it is understandable that those charging high prices will put Fiverr and other cheaper options down as much as they can.
It doesn’t, however, stop these translators and translation companies from BUYING on Fiverr. I have done complex translations for a number of companies who pay me between 2 and 3 times my normal rate as the work has short deadlines. They then put their translator name and stamp on it and pass it off as their work. Great news for me you think, but guess what? For one of those jobs the company charged 4 TIMES what they paid me! Nice for them when they can get that kind of money for sending a couple of emails. Regardless, I am happy with the price I receive even though they don’t leave reviews for fear of someone catching them doing it.
In answer to your question, based on my example, I would suggest that you ignore the naysayers as the majority are just looking after their own interests.
I have received great services from people here that I know I could not have afforded if I was going to the established industry “professionals”.

I agree. I’ve also had similar situations. I’ve had multiple buyers come to me for work, then I find out they had a client of their own that they were charging 10 times what I was charging. I had one guy ask for a sample requesting I be sure to not put any indication I was a part of Fiverr in the audio. He didn’t want his client to find out about the website and lose money.

Frankly that is what I think a lot of the “respectable” VO artists are upset about. The fact that there are people like that, that will take our “cheap” labor and turn around and charge a unsuspecting client what a “normal” VO artist would charge. If Fiverr didn’t exist then a “normal” VO artist would be getting that work. It sucks for them that this happens, and I’m not thrilled about it either, but those types of people will find a way. I do what I can to mitigate it, but it’s going to happen whether Fiverr existed or not.

My issue really lies in promotion. As I said, Fiverr is like my “dirty little secret” and I’m afraid to advertise my Fiverr services on my website and social media because then my “regular” VO peers will see it and there goes my network. (Which is in VO is HUGE.)

I personally feel marketplace sites like this are the future of commerce. The “middle class” VO artist is changing. You can either be a big wig in the union in LA or NY making a ton money, or you are non union trying to make as much money as you can however you can. Either by local spots or doing a VO for a Taiwanese animator working on a college project.

The reality is that you can also get high value orders here too. Fiverr is now my go-to place for anything before I check elsewhere and I believe that other buyers are the same.
Whether you are getting paid less than you are worth or being used by someone else, the reality is that it is better to be getting work than not getting any, regardless of the source. The same reason that the name Fiverr attracts buyers, is the reason that it puts off some people from selling. I get a handful of $5 gigs per week but my average lately is $60-80 and my lifetime average is $24/order. Those who scoff at $5, have no idea that a decent income can be made as well as the chance to hone your skills and build up a portfolio.
I got a $900 order for one weekend’s work from another site, based on my portfolio from work done on Fiverr. Just stick with it and let the snobs continue watching daytime TV while they wait for a job that is not “beneath them”, while you make money.

I like the way you think…

After 2 years of working on Fiverr as a voiceover, I am now a full time VO and 90% of my income is from Fiverr. i dont think it matters where the money comes from, just as long as you get it

2 Likes

That is exactly what I try to tell people. They think it must come from just one certain place and can’t imagine being open minded about possibilities.

I like your quote ( it doesnt matter where the money comes from, just as long as you get it

I’m just breaking into the industry. Being a voice actress has always been a dream of mine. I am starting to get quite a few requests, and I was wondering if any of you have had issues, with people taking advantage of your service? Like, "Oops I sent you the wrong script, after receiving a recording and expecting you to redo it at no additional charge, or perhaps the script being over the word limit you set? Just curious if these are red flags or things that happen frequently or if it is just a one time thing. I certainly understand slip ups, but I don’t want to be played for a fool either. TIA

If you’re new, people will definitely try to take advantage of you. Don’t let them! Stand up for yourself and your work. This is a common problem on Fiverr when new sellers are desperate for sales and good reviews while bad reviews can sink you immediately.

If they sent you the wrong script, that’s their fault and they should mark the order as complete and you should get paid. Then they should make a second gig for the second script they sent you! Fiverr will protect you in these cases (that’s why you’re paying 20% of your earnings to them, after all). If your buyer sends the wrong script and you deliver your voice over and they ask you to redo it because THEY messed up, it isn’t your fault and Customer Support will back you up.

As for scripts being over the word limit, send a gig extra that covers the rest of the fee. Say “Your script is X number of words over what I charge for a $5 (or whatever amount) gig. Please purchase this gig extra if you would like me to record the entirety of your script.” And if they don’t purchase it, just record part of the script (the part they paid for!) and deliver that. Just as above – you did your part, if they whine, Fiverr can protect you.

I’ve had a buyer who really tried to push the envelope regarding an order. Even after I gave a huge discount, they kept asking for more and more! Eventually, I just raised my prices and told them that if they wanted to work with me, they’d have to pay the same prices as everyone else (which were now 2.5 times higher than what they were paying when I made them custom orders). They didn’t buy anything from me after that and I’m happy not to deal with them anymore. Don’t let people push you around! Do what you said you’d do for the price and that’s it. You don’t owe them anymore than that.

2 Likes

I have faced similar situation in my country… when i spoke to one of my fellow voice talents here in india… they said Fiverr is a cheap market for low quality voice overs and most of the people have an impression in India that when you want a low quality and budget friendly voice over … choose fiverr… i have had several arguments with many people in India on this…

I have infact personally shown lot of people how good and top notch voice talents that we have here on Fiverr… but this is like that saying Unless you put your feet into the water you will not know whether its cold or hot … Changing the mindset of the people here its little difficult !!

Thanks for the info… I was definitely afraid to take a stand because I’m trying so hard to build up my portfolio. I will know better next time!

This is the socialist mentality of people in certain professions. Taxi drivers fear Uber, licensed realtors fear “For Sale By Owner,” graphic designers hate Fiverr logos from $5, and the VO mafia fears more competition.

The reality is that their fears are unjustified. When Budweiser, Microsoft, Apple, needs a VO, they talk to their advertising agency who talks to the editorial houses who do a casting. Maybe 5-20+ people show up, record their voices, and whoever gets chosen will make $250, perhaps more if they become the voice of the brand. I knew a guy who was the voice of a car brand, he was recording radio spots once a week or once a month, don’t remember which.

However, the clients we get on Fiverr are rarely like that. Their budgets are very limited, if they’re spending $50 on Fiverr is because they can’t afford $500 or $5,000 outside of Fiverr.

The problem is that some people don’t understand volume sales. I had to quit two copywriter groups on Facebook because they only care about doing $500 to $3,000 jobs. They don’t get it, those jobs require so much talk, so many revisions, so much drama, that by the time you’re done you’re basically working for $5 an hour, maybe $20 if you’re lucky. At those wages, I’d rather take my chances with Fiverr.

If you’re a VO Artist, do you want to record one 300-page book or 60 commercials of 60 seconds each? It’s obvious that the second job pays better, and if you build a queue, people will be paying obscene amounts of money for one-day delivery. I’ve seen people that charge $100 for one day delivery.

Suffice to say, they should just join Fiverr and stop complaining about it. Fiverr is here to stay.

3 Likes

Until the next Fiverr shows up :wink:

I’ve seen some Fiverr clones, but they don’t have the traffic so your gigs end up sitting there, doing nothing. The CEO of one site even got angry with me because I tried refunding an order. He gave me a lecture about ethics, my duties as a seller. I told him to delete my account.

Now, if a billionaire were to create a Fiverr with no fees, maybe supported by unobtrusive web banners and by selling information, like Gmail, maybe that could be a threat to Fiverr. Perhaps Facebook could get in the game, or Google, but chances are they won’t.