Terry Green is heard by 30m a month: who is he?


post office

The chances are that you'll have heard the voice of Terry Green, a technology entrepreneur, in the last couple of weeks. You're in good company: around 30 million Brits hear him every month. However, only a select few have known who he is.

So who is Green, and how easy is it to make money from your voice?

Who is he?

Green, a 53-year-old from Stratford-upon-Avon, is the voice of the 'consumer flow management' system, which tells queuing customers which till is free. His voice can be heard saying 'Cashier number six please' in The Post Office, Boots, M&S, Sainsbury's and a number of other stores.

Green told the Daily Mail that he got the gig largely because he co-founded the technology business, Qmatic in 1981, which delivers the technology behind the queuing systems. It's an enormous business, which covers around a quarter of the world's population. Green sold his stake in the business a while ago - and works as an independent customer experience consultant with a number of businesses.

On his website he lists a number of personal achievements, such as writing the book on customer service, "You're Next" and working with the Department of Trade and Industry for ten years to encourage more innovation in British SMEs. However, this was his only voiceover job.

So can you make a living from your voice?

The hourly pay for a voiceover artist is around £200 for an hour in the studio. However, getting each hour is a mammoth task.

The internet has made it much easier for people to post their work online with voiceover casting websites. If you have a distinctive voice, the ability to deliver a line convincingly in a number of different styles, you can easily sign up.

However, don't expect the work to come rolling in: you are up against hundreds of other professionals - and increasingly celebrities are lending their voices to big brands too.

Many people will also not use voiceover artists who do not have an agent. You will need a very strong, professional showreel to get an agent - and may well need to hone your craft at lessons. Once you have an agent, they will give you more exposure - but you will pay the price with a slice of everything you earn.

The experts say that there are currently over 100 established artists in the UK, but only a select few get work regularly, and even then they don't have job security - because fashions can change and suddenly their voice is no longer in demand. For this reason, even the most successful professionals have this as a second job.

Technically, therefore, it's possible to make a living from voiceovers, but it's hardly an easy option. It may be easier to follow Green's example: launch your own business, and keep the voiceover work on the side.