Your first big paying job as a voice over professional is so exciting. There might be some smaller ones initially, which help to pay the bills, but bring little to nothing above and beyond those debts. When that big one finally comes in, and you receive that check for thousands of dollars, the joy is immense. And, there also comes the feeling that you have made it. Now that you have earned money like that, you can continue charging similar rates to future clients, right? Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case.
Even though voiceover talent generally work remotely these days, your pay for a particular job will depend on location. This is something that is hard to grasp, especially when you are trying to build a foundation for your business, and wanting so badly to turn a profit. The truth of the matter is, though, that even the company that is contracting out the work will be at least partially driven by local economic factors. While a company in a big urban hub may be willing to pay $4,000 for a radio commercial voiceover spot, a company, of the same size, in rural America may only have a budget of a few hundred dollars for the same type of work. Although you are working remotely, these companies are operating in entirely different markets and are, therefore, likely to have budget restraints because of where they operate. It's important to find out how what you are recording will be used. Where it will play, etc.
Does this mean that you should always take the job -- whether it pays $4,000 or $400? No. There will be times during your voiceover career when you will turn down paying work because it doesn’t pay enough to justify your time in the recording booth. However, in the beginning, as you are building up your portfolio of work and trying to establish yourself in the industry, turning down work means accepting much greater risk than it would after having built a reputation throughout the industry. But always maintain a healthy respect for the voiceover industry by finding out what you can regarding "going rates" for various types of voice over projects.