It can be confusing and overwhelming when reviewing modeling agency contracts, especially if you're looking at one for the first time. Signing the dotted line on an agency contract is a big step in a model's career, and you want to ensure you completely understand everything on the contract before making it official.
In this post, I'll list a few of the critical points you need to look at when signing an agency contract so you have a better understanding of what you're looking at.
*Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and do not have a background in Law. I am speaking solely on personal experience and pointing out things I have seen in agency contracts. If you get offered an agency contract, please read it thoroughly and consider reviewing it with a legal team.
Common types of agency contracts are Non-Exclusive, Exclusive, One-Time-Only, and Mother Agency. Each contract has different parameters of what is expected of you as a model, so it's important to know what kind of contract you're signing.
Region of Representation
This is the area in which your agency will book you jobs, and it varies from agency to agency. Some only cover the city limits, some the whole state, and others the entire South, Midwest, etc.
Agencies make money off the jobs their models book by taking a commission out of each of their paychecks. The standard is 20%, but this number could vary depending on your market and contract type. It could be a red flag if an agency takes more than a 25% commission.
The length of your contract with an agency often depends on the type of contract you sign. Typically, the contract length is anywhere from one to three years. However, it's uncommon to have an agency contract that is longer than that and can be a red flag if it is for more than five years.
Appearance & Conduct
Once you sign with an agency, you become an official representative of that agency. Many agencies will have professional conduct requirements that you must adhere to in order to continue to be represented, as well as physical expectations that you must upkeep. Make sure you look these over and understand the expectations the agency has of you. If you can not uphold those expectations, do not sign the contract.
Signing to an agency is completely free (if they try to charge a fee for this- RED FLAG!), however, there are some standard general fees that models are expected to cover once they are signed. Things such as portfolio books, comp cards, and yearly website fees are all typical fees that models have to pay. The cost of these fees is usually stated in the contract, as is how and when you're expected to pay for them, so make sure you're aware of those before signing anything.
Renewal & Termination
Most contracts state that they will automatically renew unless you provide the agency with the proper termination notice or the agency releases you from your contract. Therefore, it's important to know the termination process before signing so that you know how to get out of the contract if any issues arise.