When models are looking to sign with an agency, they often get so caught up in trying to impress that they completely forget that they need to be asking the agency just as many questions as they’re being asked.
Even though you have to apply and get accepted to an agency and they are the ones getting you jobs, they can’t make money if you’re not making money. Since their payments come out of your checks, they are working for you. Because of this, it’s essential that you also interview them and ask them questions to make sure that the agency is a good fit for you. Not all agencies are created equal, and some are much better than others. I have also learned from my own experience that just because an agency looks good on paper and has a pretty good reputation, it doesn’t mean that they’re the right agency for you. It’s essential to do your research and make sure an agency is legitimate before submitting or agreeing to meet with them.
When you meet with a modeling agency for the first time, it is very much like a regular job interview. They'll almost always ask at least these three questions: 1. why do you want to be a model, 2. what type of modeling are you interested in, and 3. why did you choose their agency. These basic questions will help the agency get to know a little more about you and your goals so they can determine if you’re a good fit for them.
Always let the agency lead the interview, but don’t be afraid to ask questions if something doesn’t make sense or contradicts what you have found in your research. It’s much better to ask the agent to repeat something or explain it further than to just go along with whatever they’re saying. Have a notepad and pen handy with your questions written down, so you don’t forget them, and don’t be afraid to take notes while speaking with them. It shows that you’re listening to what they’re saying and will help you remember key points of your conversation.
By asking questions and taking notes, it shows that you are engaged in the conversation and take it seriously. Below are some questions to ask the agency during your meeting:
What types of jobs do your models book?
It’s helpful to know the types of modeling jobs the agency is booking their models for to get an idea of what types of jobs you would be submitted for. Is it primarily commercial work? Do they book a lot of runway? If they mainly book promotional modeling jobs and that’s not something you’re interested in, they may not be a great fit for you.
Who are some of your clients?
Knowing some of the clients the agency’s models are getting booked for will give great insight into the agency’s quality and the types of markets they do business in. If they’re working with brands you’ve heard of, you know that they are a reputable agency and have excellent connections in their market.
How long is your average modeling contract?
Knowing how long their average contract is, is essential because you want to have an idea of how long your contract could be. Contrary to popular belief, shorter contracts (1-2 years) are standard, and anything longer than that could be a red flag. If you’re not happy with your agency, you don’t want to be stuck in a long-term contract that is difficult to get out of.
What is your commission rate?
This is a fundamental question because you want to know how much will be taken out of your paychecks. The standard commission rate ranges from 15%-25%; anything more than that could be a red flag.
Do you help place your models in other markets, or are you only local?
If you want to expand your modeling career to more than just local bookings, signing with an agency that has a reach beyond what your local agency has is vital as they will have the direct connections to help you get into other markets. If they only work within a small region and don’t have any outside connections, it will be harder for you to move into other markets.
If you get offered a contract at any point during your agency meeting, congratulations! But don’t let your excitement get the best of you- never sign a contract on the spot! It’s always best to have them send over the contract to review so that you have time to digest the interview and then look everything over. When you sign a contract, you’re legally binding yourself to the agency, so you need to be sure that you completely understand what you’re getting yourself into.
As with anything, there are some red flags to keep an eye out for when you’re meeting with agencies. Always have your guard up and be aware of any inconsistencies. Your safety is of the utmost importance and potentially getting yourself into a sticky situation is not worth any contract! For some common red flags to be aware of, check out this post.