A legitimate modeling agency makes its money by working FOR you — not by taking money from you.

That’s right – when you sign your modeling agency agreement – the fine print says that YOU are hiring them to get you work.

You agree to pay them a percentage of what you earn.

Modeling agencies who 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 modeling agencies who are interested by making money by getting you work – not by taking it from your pocket.

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Click here to read what the Washington State Attorney General has to say about Modeling Scams.

Click here to read what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has to say about modeling scams and agencies that ask for money up front.

Click here to download a copy of the FTC report in PDF format.

Exception to the rule…

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. It doesn’t cost an agency several hundred dollars to run the entire website, let alone an individual model’s page.

If an agency is representing 100 people and charging each of those people 200 dollars per year to be on the website, the agency is then making a profit from the website and not from getting their talent jobs.

So what do you do when this happens to you?

Don’t discount the agency just because they have pitched their website to you. They may actually be booking work that you want to have a shot at. Instead, negotiate. Ask the agency to put you on their site without an upfront payment, get you a job, and then deduct the fee from your earnings.

If that idea does not work, politely decline. Remind the agent that you are in this business to earn money and need to do so before you spend more money.

You should feel confident in leaving, not having spent the money. If some time later, you do decide you want to spend your money on the website, I assure you that the agency will still take your money.

If you don’t sign up for the website right away, it doesn’t mean that the agency won’t work with you. If the agency was sincerely interested in getting you work and not just taking your money, there is still a good probability that they will send you to castings.

Do I need to pay a modeling agency

As much as they may push their website, these agencies are businesses. Businesses are about profit and an agency is not going to turn down an opportunity to book you a job if you are what their client is looking for – just because you didn’t sign up and pay to be on their web site.

I have had MANY models leave an agency after not paying the money for the web site and a week later have the agency call them with a casting.

If you are lucky enough to have this happen to you – be sure to pay the money for the web site as soon as you receive your check. The agency showed faith in you – return the faith.

Recommended Reading about Modeling Scams

  • Do I ever have to pay money up front for a modeling agency to represent me?