Is Voices.com Legit? – And Is It Actually Worth Your Time?
Voices.com is one of the most popular voice-over marketplaces out there, but is it actually any good? Is Voices.com legit?
If you dig around online you will find some complaints about it being a scam and whatnot, which is why I decided to look into things further and see for myself.
In this review I'll be going over what Voices.com offers, how the process of job postings and auditioning works, getting paid and how much talent can expect to make, complaints and more.
*Note: This post is mostly written for those looking to join and do VOs to make money.
- Website: Voices.com
- Type: Voice-over work platform
- Cost: $499/yr for talent and 20% fee for clients
In a nutshell, Voices.com is a website that connects clients looking for voice-overs with talent looking to get paid to do voice-overs. Clients can easily post jobs and then the large market of talent can audition as they please.
The company was founded in 2003 by David & Stephanie Ciccarelli and is based in Ontario, Canada. Currently Voices.com is one of the largest websites of its kind, with clients and talent using the platform from over 160 countries.
Overall it is a decent platform for both clients and talent alike, but has some serious downsides, as I'll go over.
How It Works
1) Job Posting
It all starts with the clients. At Voices.com clients are able to post jobs for free. There is no fee associated with simply posting a job. The fee comes when they actually find talent and make a transaction.
A job posting will have a title, the desired language, gender, script, and other important details like the budget.
*Note: They offer clients a lead brokerage service where they will help clients get leads for their job postings. In a nutshell, they handle the hiring process. This sounds nice, but is something that should probably be avoided due to the shady activity I'll talk about shortly... in which they take clients' money and pay talent much less than they should, pocketing the extra.
Freelance talent and members of Voices.com will then have access to the job postings. They will be able to filter through available jobs and audition as they please. There is no obligation to audition for jobs at any rate, but since the annual fee that Talent has to pay is quite high, you will likely want to make good use of the opportunities available if you are talent looking to make money doing VOs.
Auditioning consists of reading scripts outlined by the client and following any guidelines listed, recording the audio and submitting it through the platform.
Talent will also provide quotes for how much pay they are willing to complete the job for.
The client will then be able to listen to auditions and choose as they please. Voice.com has a "VoiceMatch" algorithm that helps select Talent it finds to be the most qualified, which makes things a bit easier on the client trying to filter through all the auditions coming in.
The audio is submitted through the platform and Voices.com also handles the payments.
To ensure that clients actually pay talent for their work, they hold the money in escrow and release it to the talent after the work has been confirmed and approved.
The fee for this transaction is 20%, which the client pays on top of their pay to the talent performing the VO.
Types of Work
There are many different clients using this website and they are looking for all sorts of different VO work.
- Non-broadcast jobs that largely pay based on the word-count of the script
- Broadcast jobs where you can land regular VO jobs on a consistant basis
- Local radio VO jobs that can pay consistently
- Internet ad VO jobs and more...
Ideally most people would probably like to land some sort of ongoing job where they are provided with work again and again, but most jobs on this site will be one-and-done types of deals, where clients will be looking for someone to complete just 1 project... and because of this you will likely want to continuously apply to new jobs to continue to get new work.
As you work, and submit high quality work, you will also be able to build relationships with clients that can possibly get you repeat work in the future, which can greatly affect earning potential. Clients are able to privately invite talent to audition for jobs, which are listed with a padlock icon next to them in the Hiring tab. However, Voices.com limits communication between clients and talent (and I'll go over why!), which lessens the ability to build client relationships.
Voices.com makes money from both the clients and from the talent.
Clients are allowed to post jobs for free, but are hit with the 20% fee if they actually use the platform to hire talent. This 20% fee is added onto the talent fee. So, if a client is paying $500 to hire talent then they would pay $600 total... $500 + $100 fee (20% of $500 = $100).
And they make money from talent with the membership fees, which are $499/yr... a price that many see as outrageous.
How Much Can You Make?
I know a lot of people reading this are probably talent looking to make some extra money, which brings up the question of how much can you make?
There are people who make good money doing voice-overs through platforms like this, but it seems most people just make a little extra here and there, and use Voice.com as one of a handful of platforms.
Unfortunately there are no good numbers I can provide. The amount you make will, of course, depends on your talent and equipment, and on the gigs available from clients.
Another big determinant factor is the competition from other talent looking for jobs. Remember, talent provides quotes when auditioning... so if there is a bunch of desperate talent offering low quotes to complete jobs, then this will lower the chances of making much and even landing decent paying jobs in the first place.
Doing voice-overs, which I even listed on my mega-list of 70+ ways to make money online, is becoming increasingly popular... which means competition is getting tougher... but at the same time there are more opportunities opening up to help balance things out.
According to a reply from Voices.com's support team: “On average, book 2-7 jobs from every 100 auditions. So, if you submit 100 auditions in 2 weeks, you might get something.”
The support team also suggests that you audition to at least 7 jobs per day.
On the website they list the rates that they suggest clients pay for projects, which can give you somewhat of an idea of how much you can earn as a worker, but things are still a bit blurry.
*Note: The budgets suggested for the clients include the 20% fee, so you have to subtract out 20% and then are left with the Talent Fee, which is the money that goes toward paying talent.
One of the main reasons the chart above isn't that great representation of the pay people actually receive is because of how Voices.com often pockets varying, and sometimes large, amounts of money paid by the clients... which I'll talk about next in the complaints section.
As I've already mentioned, Voices.com uses an escrow services called SurePay. They first take the money from the client and then hold it in a 3rd party bank account, releasing the funds to the talent after their work has been accepted.
The options for getting paid are either PayPal or check in the mail.
Payments are sent on a weekly basis and are always 1 week behind.
For example, on SiteJabber, which is a site that people usually go to bitch and complain about websites, it has close to a perfect 5-star rating...
There are lots of reviews about the helpful customer support, from both clients and talent... and... to be honest... almost too many positive reviews, which leads me to believe that some are forced or, at the very least, strongly encouraged positive reviews and are not really 100% genuine.
That said, I don't want to paint too much of a negative picture. I'm sure some of the positive reviews are real. It's just that there is no way I believe in all of them... especially because when you dig a little deeper you can find quite a bit of unsettling complaints...
#1 - Lack of Transparency
There are quite a few complaints about their lack of transparency when it comes to pay and how they handle clients' money.
Voices.com will manage client listings and often pocket money for themselves, according to a number of sources, such as this review from someone who's been involved with voice-overs since before Voices.com came to existence.
If a client has a $1,000 budget for a VO gig and they pay for their lead services, Voices.com might list the gig for only $500, and then pocket the other $500!
Now of course they deserve to earn a cut of the pie for their service, but the problem is that there is a complete lack of transparency here and clients don't know how much they are listing for, which often results in poor talent being hired and large amounts being pocketed by the company.
#2 - Limited Ability to Contact Clients
One major problem with Voices.com is how they limit the contact talent is able to have with clients.
Talent is not able to contact clients during the process of auditioning, which is likely a way to protect their interests so that nothing gets in the way of them pocketing extra money, as described above.
This not only is this a very shady activity, but it also hurts the talent's ability to build a client base.
Voices.com handles the payments through their escrow service called Surepay... and they charge a whopping 20%.
This can get very costly, especially with larger budget projects. It would be nice if there was some cut-off, or maximum fee amount, but it doesn't seem that there is.
This mostly hurts the clients, but also indirectly hurts the pay talent might receive because clients will be forced to lower their budget to cover the costs of such a high fee... meaning less earnings for talent.
There also have been some complaints from talent that clients often don't pick any winning candidate for their job postings, which could be due to cancelling the job, finding talent on other websites, etc.
One review on SiteJabber that I came across is from someone who claims that about 25% of the jobs they auditioned for never closed, which is a surprisingly high number.
Too Much Competition
Anyone who wants to get started doing VOs can join Voices.com as long as they pay the membership fee. This is great if you are a beginner getting started, as it gives you a path to do so, but some people complain that there is just too much competition. Sometimes there are hundreds of people auditioning for the same jobs.
This also leads to some people who are desperate for jobs to offer low-ball prices, which pretty much ruins it for all those looking to work for a decent wage (as I already talked about).
There have been quite a few complaints that I've come across, like that below, from people who have auditioned endlessly with no luck.
A complaint that goes along with that above, but is from the client side of things, is that talent can be unreliable. This is largely due to Voices.com allowing anyone to join and there not being any requirements that must be met.
As you can see below, this client claims that unreliable talent makes things difficult and often leads to missed deadlines...
It would be nice if there was some sort of ranking system where talent could achieve different levels based on their experience and knowledge.
Pros v Cons
- Easy to use for both clients and talent
- Lead services available
- Large marketplace
- Safe payments through escrow service
- No experience needed for beginner talent to get started
- Educational library available for newbies
- Good support team
- High fees - 20% for clients and $499/yr membership fee for talent
- Lack of transparency with payments
- Untrustworthy reviews (many seem fake and/or encouraged)
- High amounts of competition for talent
- Unreliable work for clients due to inexperienced talent
Is Voices.com a Scam?
Voices.com is not a scam. They are a legitimate company that provide a legitimate service, and have a A+ rating with the BBB because of this.
They do engage in some shady practices and aren't transparent with their listings and how much they pay talent with the budgets from clients, which is definitely on the scammy side, but overall I wouldn't call them a scam.
Conclusion - Worth Joining?
There are downsides and upsides to joining Voices.com, for both clients and for talent. Although there are quite a bit of negatives, the fact that they are such a large marketplace still makes the opportunity tempting.
I'm not going to tell you whether or not to join. This is a decision you will have to make for yourself. Opinions are mixed, but it seems that most talent would agree that this is just one of a handful of platforms you should be using if you are trying to make decent money in the VO business, with other good alternatives being Voice123 and Bodalgo.
Getting started as talent is all about making a killer profile and applying to plenty of jobs.
You aren't guaranteed work and clients will select who they think is the best fit, so be sure to market yourself. Demo VOs are a must, and you will want to create a handful to fully show your VO talent.
Getting started is always the hardest part. But, if you stick with it and manage to build client relationships, get repeat jobs, and learn how to work Voices.com into your schedule to make money regularly it can be worthwhile.
PS: Since you are looking for flexible online freelance-type work, you might be interested in doing what I do to make money online. Check it out if you have the time 🙂