How Model Agencies Make Money

By  |  0 Comments

Model agency fees often seem clear as mud to new talent…

It can get a little confusing because it’s never as simple as charging a flat percentage or rate to a client.  And of course, those percentages can vary by location or agency.

It should be noted that legitimate agents don’t charge their models monthly dues or upfront fees for representation.  A model agency’s role is to book you paid work and then take a percentage of the proceeds charged to a client.

In a perfect world it would be pretty straight-forward.  Let’s say, for example that Agency XYZ collects an industry-standard 20% fee for their work.  If they book their model a $1,000 photo shoot, that would be $200 to the agency, right?  Wrong.   How it really works is that the agency takes 20% of the models fees, and charges an additional 20% of the models fees to the client.   For example:

Model:  $1,000 x 20% =  Agency takes $200 and the model keeps $800

Client:  $1,000 + 20% = $1200  charged to the client and the agency keeps $200

So, a $1,000 photo shoot actually costs the client $1200 and the agency gets $400 total.  The percentage to the agency is actually 33% in this case… not too shabby.

Keep in mind, it’s not always always gravy money.  Like any other business, agents work hard to set up deals, and not every single one pans out.  But the future still looks bright for agency models: overall, the model agency industry has grown about 2% in the past 5 years, with expectations of modest growth to continue next year.


Article:  Jim Jurica