The average commercial actor's salary

Unlike the movie or theatre actor, commercial actors have the potential to make residual income from their work (though this is usually the case for union actors). Salary ranges for a union commercial actor can vary according to whom the commercial is for (the company) how many times the commercial is aired and where the commercial is aired. In contrast, nonunion commercial actors are paid a flat fee, regardless of how many times the commercial airs. Thus, the average commercial actor's salary is largely dependent on union status.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the "median hourly wages of actors were £10.70 in May 2008." The bureau states that annual salaries are not listed because of the short-term nature of acting work. Commercial actors seldom work more than a few days at a time. Those belonging to the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) make minimal annual salaries on average. This is due to high competition from other actors and the unpredictability of work.

Union Commercials Actors

Under SAG and AFTRA agreements, commercial actors earned £384 per session as of 2009. For commercials airing at least 13 weeks, actors earn £1,080 in residual income. Commercial actors on long-running national commercials can make upward of £97,500 according to talent agent Bill Nauom. However, the average union commercial actor is likely to earn not much more than the 13-week residual rate. Also, due to "conflicts of interest," which limits actors from working for competing companies in commercials and the need for new faces in commercials, employment for union commercial actors is further limited.

Nonunion Commercial Actors

The wages for nonunion commercial actors may vary from no money to a couple of thousand dollars for a commercial. No residual payments are made to nonunion commercial actors. The average nonunion actor does not make more than a thousand dollars. This is evidenced by a recent casting notices from Actors Access, an industry website used by actors and casting directors alike. In a May 2011 casting notice for Actors Access, a nonunion commercial for "Jungle Speed" paid a fee of £390 plus a 10 per cent commission fee to the agent.

Voice Actors

Though they do not appear on camera, voice actors are also commercial actors. Salaries for voice actors on commercials are also largely determined by union and nonunion status. SAG and AFTRA rates are £172 per session through 2012 and commercial voice actors are paid this same rate each 13 weeks of use. As with on-camera commercial actors, the average voice actor is not likely to work on a commercial that runs longer than 13 weeks. Nonunion voice actors earn between £130 and £325 per session for their work on radio and TV commercials.

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