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What is 'PFH'?

Updated: Sep 21, 2023



Audiobooks are charged at a ‘Per Finished Hour’ rate. This means you take the finished length of all of the audio of the finished Audiobook (Titles, Chapters, Credits etc but not including the retail audio sample), which is called the 'runtime', and multiply it by the producer's PFH rate. This amount is calculated at the end of production, as some books have a faster pace, and some have a slower pace. So the exact fee can only be calculated once production is complete and you have a final run time.


It doesn't matter how long it takes a narrator to complete those finished hours, the fee stays the same!


This is industry standard, and you find similar information on ACX, Findaway Voices or from other Audiobook Producers.

Let's use my rate as an example:


My Rate -

Research and Narration - $225 pfh

Proofing and Mastering (Listening for any mistakes, fixing them and mastering the audio to meet ACX/Audible standards) - $75 pfh

Total - $300 pfh

An average narration is 9,300 words per finished hour.

Therefore, if your book is 50,000 words:

50,000/9,300 = 5.38 hours long.

Total cost for Audiobook Production

5.38 x $300 = $1,614.00

If your book is 200,000 words:

200,000/9,300 = 21.51 hours long.

Total cost for Audiobook Production

21.51 x $300 = $6,453.00


PFH Normal rates

A quality narrator would not charge less than $180 pfh just for research, narration and $70 pfh for Proofing and Mastering. So a minimum of $250 pfh for decent audio. Anything less and there is a reason they are charging less. They are less experienced, do not have pro-grade equipment for industry-standard quality audio, are doing narration as more of a hobby, etc.


I would say the standard price for an experienced, established professional with studio-level audio equipment and post-production is - well, my rate, as that is where I sit in the market - $225 pfh for narration, $75 pfh for proofing and mastering so $300 pfh (without QC).


SAG-AFTRA The Actor's Union

If your Narrator is a member of SAG, you would need to add union fees and paymaster fees on top of the PFH fee.

SAG-AFTRA H&R Fees are 14% of the total pfh fee

(this goes towards health and retirement, allowing a narrator to access health care from SAG and make payments towards their retirement)

Union Approved Paymaster fee - I use www.skywirepaymaster.com so let's use their rates as an example:


50,000 words

5.38 hours long

5.38 x $300 = $1,614.00


$225.96 - 14% of PFH fee

$50.00 - Skywire Paymaster Fee


$1,889.96 - Total with H&R and Paymaster fees.


200,000 words

21.51 hours long

21.51 x $300 = $6,453.00


$903.42 - 14% of PFH fee

$50.00 - Skywire Paymaster Fee


$7,406.42 - Total with H&R and Paymaster fees.



Please note - a narrator may give an estimate on how much they will charge for an audiobook, and require 50% upfront to hold the spot in their schedule. This is only an estimate to work out the deposit. For all audiobooks, the final fee will be calculated upon completion of the project, and if you have paid a deposit the final amount owed can be worked out then.

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