When working with clients or customers, I want to have a great, long-lasting relationship, repeat work, and serve my clients. So, whether you are a solopreneur, SMB, or large corporation, establishing a working agreement, or SLA (Service Level Agreement), is essential if you want your business to thrive and have a good reputation. In my IT Project Manager days, when working with new vendors, an SLA was one of the first things to consider when kicking off a new project.
Here are a few guidelines I use and find beneficial as a voice actor running my VO business to create and establish a great working relationship from day one and going forward.
Scope of Work (SOW) , Statement of Work, or Scope of Service
SOWs outline the scope, timelines, and cost of a project between you and the client. I want to know the depth and breadth of work I deliver to the client or customer. For example, as a VO actor working with an eLearning developer or corporation, I want to ensure everyone is aligned with the scope of work (SOW) or service.
Establish your level of service to the client – Make clear what you offer, as the service provider, to the client, and vice versa. For example, I will provide 2-3 takes of the script; each take will vary in intonation and pace, including de-breathed and QC’d delivery of separate audio files within 48 hours of receipt of the final script. Ensure the client agrees with that or establish some benchmarks for delivery time. Include everything you provide, like processing the audio, revisions, pick-up policies, etc.
In other words, be clear on what you DO and DO NOT provide so that there are no surprises for you or the client.
Payment Expectations: Well, of course, we all want to get paid! So make sure you inquire about payment policies and processes. Meaning when, how, and what. Hopefully, early in the scoping of the work, the budget and rate have been established and agreed upon. But make sure you and your client know how and when you will be paid. For example, Net30, upon receipt of the audio file, within 10 business days, etc., are all payment options or policies. How will you get paid via ACH, a payment processor like Stripe, PayPal, Zelle, BillDotCom, or Gusto?
There are several other components included in an SLA, but determine what works best for you and your client. Make sure it has the right level of detail, and everyone agrees.
Your relationship should not be a fast food relationship; as the service provider, you shouldn’t be taking orders and letting the client have it “their way.” Instead, in the beginning, be clear and on the same page, and partner with your clients or customers to provide insight or feedback when appropriate. Establishing an SLA is how I create and build relationships and establish trust, and hopefully, that will lead to repeat work.
I hope this was helpful. Please share your process, or what you do and how you work with new clients or customers in your industry. I would love to hear.
How can I help?
At My Voice Works Management, we specialize in providing excellent, quality, and professional service for any VO project, including commercial, radio, digital, e-learning, corporate narration, and audio description, among others, with a breadth of emotion that brings your script to life and connects to the heart and soul of your audience.
Whether you’re a small business, a large corporation, or an independent producer, we take pride in understanding your projects and delivering high-quality recordings that go above and beyond expectations because our focus is on the outcome before the income.
To ask a question or learn more about voiceover, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the industry and how we can help you learn and grow in voiceover.
And if you are looking for a voice actor for your next project, check out my VO work here.