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Agency Fees 101

Agency Fees are normal but what exactly is a legit charge?

Pay attention to every charge and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

All agencies set their own fees. They decide what they will and won’t charge for and it can and will change at anytime.

Unfortunately most agencies do not provide a sheet with these charges upon signing. You can ask but some might not even have a list made up and ready to print.

Commision should ALWAYS be 20% (or less if you’re lucky or for talent agents)

But other than that 20% commision, nothing is written in any models contracts that states the exact price of the agencies fees. It will just say that they can and will charge for a certain list of things.

Here’s a list of some legit charges and a range of prices that I have experienced.

This is in no way a complete list of agency fees. Things vary from agency to agency and from city to city.


Cards – from .50 to $3 per card

Book– $50-$100

Prints-.50-$2 per print

Web fees– $10 a month to $50 a month

Model apartment– varies widely and is usually ridiculously high. $1200 for a bunk in a room with 4 to 6 other models is not uncommon. I absolutely suggest finding your own arrangement if at all possible. They can’t force you to stay in the model apartment. But some might imply they can. They don’t own you and you are NOT property but they will say things like ” we need to know where you are at all times.” If you can be professional and show up to your castings/jobs on time then they have no reason to keep you from staying elsewear.

Model driver-when in town for more than one specific job- .10 a mile and $10 an hour 8am-6pm and $20 hour after hours in LA. Korea and China were set monthly fees for a driver on call 24/7. The prices were determined in my contracts before leaving USA. NY and Hong Kong subway is easier than anything else usually.

Test shoot– free -$500 dollars Some test shoots do cost money and are still legit. Its usually a small fee around $200 and may or may not include a stylist, MUA or Hair Artist. But the more famous the team the more money. The agency usually will put it on your model account and you pay it out of your next incoming check. If they are asking you to pay a lot for a team you can barely find on google thats a red flag. If they ask you to pay up front before being offered a contract thats a red flag.

Classes– $50-$150 per class. Usually outsourced from a former model an agency might offer walking classes or posing classes. They don’t guarantee anything. Feel free to ask questions and make sure its worth it for your specific growth to take the class. Or come take my classes 🙂

Commission on expenses – So in my experience when you have to drive really far and the client decides to give you a gas expense or pays you to get your nails done or a spray tan, if you don’t explicitly ask for the agency to wait until the client actually sends the fee some agencies will pay you the expense when the client pays for the day rate AND take a 20% commission on the expense. So you would be paying money out of your gas or tanning money to your agency. But if you ask to wait until the client pays it you get the whole thing minus ZERO in commission. So you get the whole quoted amount or full receipt amount. I don’t know why the client pays them separately they just do. So be sure to pay attention to this and ask you agent or finance person how you can avoid this charge.


Agency Fees can also include things like cell phones or maps when you are in a foreign country.