It is no simple feat to get the attention of a reputable modeling agency. In most cases you don't choose the agency, the agency chooses you. However, if you're lucky enough to have more than one modeling agency interested in you, stay grounded and take the time to evaluate them carefully before making a final selection.
Check the Better Business Bureau records for each interested modeling agency to see if each company is a member. The Better Business Bureau maintains grades for members ranging from A+ to F. Knowing the agency's grade will help you make your decision; however, you should use it as a guideline, not an authoritative source. In some cases new fly-by-night agencies may manage to get a high rating for some time. If the agency isn't a member or has negative reports that is a red flag to keep in mind when making your decision.
Review the agency agreement for each company carefully. Hire a lawyer to go over the finer points with you, as the language can sometimes be confusing.
Determine if any of the agencies require an upfront payment. If one or more do, scratch those options off the list. A professional modeling agency will make the investment in you, including photos for your portfolio, travel and styling.
Compare how and when you will receive payment after completing jobs as well as the advance (if one is offered) to see which agency offers the best deal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, models make an average hourly wage of $20.46 as of May 2010. However, some top professional models receive $250 per hour or more.
Request and review a list of current and past models who have worked for each agency. Research the careers of these models to see how they've performed with the assistance of the agency. Check the list of casting clients as well to see if the agency works with high-profile, reputable companies.
Ask each modeling agent representative if they offer personalized training and guidance for new models. It is important that you have proper grooming to succeed on modeling calls.
Tips & Warnings
- Hire a manager and lawyer to help you navigate this process. Also, consider the advice of experienced models who have been through the process already.
- Better Business Bureau; Consumer Tip: Be Brainy and Beautiful --- Don't Get Taken by a Modeling Scam; August 2010
- Cleveland Live, Inc.; BBB to Start Giving Grades to Businesses; Kathryn Kroll; January 2009
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010: Models
- "Forbes"; The World's Top-Earning Models; Kiri Blakeley; July 2007
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