A legitimate agency makes its money by working FOR you — not by charging and taking money from you. You are hiring them to get you work and you agree to pay them a percentage of what you earn.
Real, legitimate agencies make their money by taking a percentage from models and clients off the work they book. The standard agency fee takes 20% from the model (commission) and another 20% from the client (agency fee).
So, if they book you for a full day for $1,000, they actually will bill the client $1,200. When the model gets her check, it will be for $800. The agency’s profit is $400. Keep in mind your agent is in business and that is how an they makes their money. If you donÕt work, they donÕt get paid!
Modeling agencies that ask you up front to pay money for classes, photographs, comp cards, etc – are NOT agencies that you want to have representing you. You want to be with agencies that make money by getting you work – not by taking it from your pocket.
Unfortunately, many agencies don’t work that way leaving the door open for fake agencies that rip you off with big promises of fame and fortune.
With that said, there are some situations where a perfectly legitimate agency that books real work will ask for money up front.
For example, some agencies now are asking a model to pay to be on their website. While an agency’s website is a very good marketing tool for a model to have and utilize, the problem lays in what the agency charges, which may vary from about five dollars a month to several hundred dollars a year.
Don’t write off an agency just because they have suggested you sign up for their website. The internet is a viable outlet for many agencies and can definitely work to your advantage when used properly.