Sunday, February 21, 2010

Warning Signs that the Job's Just Not Worth It

It's so hard for some of us not to pursue every avenue for work that is open to us, and for the most part, that's a good thing. But sometimes, even when potential clients contact us via phone or email after visiting our web site, and our first inclination is to cement the job, we might be better off to remain clear headed and just let the job slip away.

What types of things should alert us to the fact that the job may just not be worth the trouble or worse, might even leave us without proper pay or regretting accepting the job in the first place?

While most potential clients are completely honest and above board and are sincerely looking for a quality recording, there are some things that cause my hackles to go up after 6 years working via the internet.

I find that many of these relate to clients looking for telephone recordings, probably because they are most often least experienced in dealing with professional voice talent. Again, most are wonderful potential clients who appreciate what a professional brings to their business by projecting a totally professional image when customers contact them by phone.

Those clients who can be troublesome are those who are only looking at the bottom line and seem to balk at the rate you quote them for your services. While we can all appreciate budgetary needs, a modest but fair quote should not have to be defended.

So, although there are no doubt other things to watch for - and I'd be happy to hear from you with more - I'll just list a few things that may indicate it is better to let this job slide.


asks for quote and sounds defensive or stresses need for lower quote

suggests more work to follow if quote is "right"

requests additions of other company names in the script for no additional cost

balks at additional cost for music added to on hold messages

requests recording to be provided " to see what u can do on it" before sending complete script or completing payment process - keeping in mind this person came to you after presumably hearing your demo.

does not respond to explanation that you'd be happy to provide a brief sample to confirm style, etc., once full script is sent.

Note: I always seek that confirmation of style, tempo, quality, etc. prior to recording on my own, anyway. And although I do require payment before sending all complete audio files, I always stipulate that I'll correct any mistakes on my part at no extra charge.

While I've often found it beneficial for me and appreciated by my clients to follow up with them if there is a gap in time between the initial contact and ultimate booking, I've learned that sometimes, it's best to just let those slide that don't feel "comfortable" to begin with. There are too many wonderful clients out there who truly appreciate what we do!


stevef said...

I do a good deal of messages on hold work via an ad agency, and they tell me business is down. Bad. Blame part of it on the economy, but new technology is the real threat to our business.

Today's phone systems promote "do it yourself" messages on hold. I guess you can just talk into your phone and record whatever you want into the MOH memory. So, when a company replaces their phone system, we lose a client. I've heard some of these DIY recordings over the phone. It ain't pretty. Plus, we in the industry insist on paying musicians fairly for their effort, while a business owner can just plug an MP3 player loaded with David Sanborn into the MOH port of the phone system. It's a fight that's hard to win.

Because I'm not trying to land the client myself, I don't have to deal with the question of "Is this worth it?" But sales people I know are telling me it's getting more frustrating every day. I'm not planning on MOH being a major source of income in the years to come.

Voice Over Studio said...

Hi Steve,

I appreciate your comments. I understand your concerns. Anyone who can record their own phone messages, like anyone who buys audio gear, thinks they can be a voice over performer. We can only hope that the clients will realize that their messages do not sound professional and will contact us to upgrade. Many of the clients who contact me have the capability of doing their own, but realize that it's really a mistake. We can only hope more see the light!