I negotiated a fee for a voice recording; the client and I are both in agreement on the terms: How the voiceover is to be read, edited, delivered (WAV or MP3 in a single file or mulitple files) and in what timeframe they can expect the finished recording. Done. Once the client approves the recording I submit the invoice and are paid in a, reasonable timeframe- No problem. If, every time, that were the case we'd all be so much better off; however, it's NOT. Sure, I have clients that submit their electronic payment 5 minutes after the recording was approved (I LOVE THOSE GUYS); clients that pay within the agreed upon 'Net' timeframe (often 30, or 45 days, maybe even 60 days); I also have clients that work off of a 'monthly' arrangment- whereby, I create an invoice and over the course of a month I add to it and submit the invoice on the first of the next month; and I'm paid pretty consistently. I have foreign clients, where you have to watch the exchange rates, transaction fees, investigative fees...and however many more fees there are. Then there are those clients that you have to remind (a few times) that their invoice is open; and if they happen to be from a another country? lol...oh boy.
There are some that would say that you should have foreign clients (if not..all of your clients) submit their payments prior to recording, or held in escrow; in the perfect world that works great, but not everyone is open to that and if you're just getting started in voiceovers- you'll grab up any job that you can get your voice on.
When your discussing a project with a new client (whether it's on the phone or an email conversation) the last thing you want to talk about is how you're going to be paid; don't make that the first point of a discussion- it tends to give the client a bad impression; talk about the project, first; how they want it read and delivered- then ask how payment will be made. If you're an American voice talent dealing with an American company a check, money order or electronic payment can be accepted; it wouldn't be a bad idea if you verified that a check or money order is from an accredited U.S. financial instution- hey...ya never know. Years ago, I had a client with an Amercian address send me a check from a Bahamian bank- talk about a headache.
An American voice talent, when dealing with another country, should only accept an electronic payment (which includes a wire transfer); it's the safest way. The client may offer to pay by check but unless you're absolutely certain that their check is connected to an American financial institution your best bet would be 'electronic'. The electronic 'Pal' site charges a percentage fee (3%) for this service; the bigger the dollar amount, the bigger the fee. A 'wire transfer' is a is a transaction between your bank and your clients bank; basically, it's a direct deposit; although there's no wait-time for the transaction to 'clear'. My bank charges a flat fee for this service, so it doesn't matter how much is transferred, I'll still pay the same fee; check with your bank. For a wire transfer you do have give some info: At my bank, it's the physical address (not the corporate address) and it's routing number; your account number and your address.
Recently I voiced a project for a Canadian client that I worked with once before where I was paid via that 'Pal' site. Once I completed the new project he said that a check would be in the mail..in a day or so. I didn't think twice about since we'd worked together on another project and there were no 'bells or whistles' going off (complacency can really take advantage of you...lol). Well..the $300 check came and when I went to the bank to desposit it the teller told me that it would cost over $100 to cash it (exchange rate and a bunch of those fees that I mentioned before), because it was drawn from a Canadian bank with no affiliations to an American bank- here come the headaches.
The bottom line is; make sure of your financial arrangement prior to recording...it'll save ya a whole lot of trouble down the road.
by Rich Brennan