Business Overview

A modeling agency helps its models find jobs in a variety of industries, although the fashion industry is the most prominent. Sometimes the modeling agency works directly with the models and sometimes it works with a head agency that is also working with the models. Agents take on a variety of roles to help models models, including billing employers, paying the models, and helping to market their careers.

Who is this business right for?

This business is ideal for those who enjoy flexible schedules and thinking on their feet. Partially, this is because the agent must be prepared both for inevitable cancellations as well as jobs that must be completed within a very sudden and narrow time frame. Agents should be “people persons” as they must regularly deal with both a variety of models and all of their potential employers. Because of the aforementioned need to function as a kind of manager for the different models, the ideal agent should also be highly organized and highly self-motivated.

What happens during a typical day at a modeling agency?

The daily activities of an agent can vary. Sometimes, it means directing the models to test photographers and helping them determine which images should be used in promotional materials. Often, it means seeking out employment that would be a solid fit with the model and arranging a meeting between the two parties. Early in the process of working with the model, agents typically determine what kind of work they are most suited for, such as whether they find more work on fashion runways or in print magazines. Agents provide all the necessary information about a job to the models and do their best every day to find work for their models. While not a universal responsibility, many agents also assist models in finding the best nutritionists, physical trainers, and doctors, ensuring that they look their best each day.

What is the target market?

The exact types of models that agents work with is limited in part by the kind of business they are running. While “model” typically brings images of runways and fashion magazines, there are other kinds of models who range from people who hold props for photo shoots to people who work behind the scenes to help fashion houses perfect their latest designs. 

How does a modeling agency make money?

The modeling agency business model is actually very simple. The agent has each model sign a contract that guarantees the agent a certain percentage of the model's profits. While this percentage can vary and it is wise to leave room for negotiation, the industry standard for the percentage is twenty percent. This model helps underscore the symbiotic work relationship between agent and model, as it is in the best interest of the agents to find their models as much work as possible. 

What is the growth potential for a modeling agency?

There is modest growth potential for any modeling agency. As an industry, modeling has experienced modest but steady growth in the last half decade, making continued growth a likely forecast. At the same time, the essential core of a modeling agency doesn't really change as it gets bigger. The agent may eventually hire subordinate agents to deal with a high volume of clients, and the agency itself may become large enough to require multiple buildings and many more employees. At the heart of the work, though, it still simply involves the agent securing work for models and receiving twenty percent (or more) of their eventual profits.