Especially at the beginning of their career, almost all models are faced with the question of whether the application at a model agency or a model portal is the right next step for their professional life. Maybe you are also thinking about introducing yourself to an agency or applying to a portal to get more chances for jobs. But what is the difference between a model agency and a model portal? Is it even worthwhile to be under contract with an agency? How do agencies and portals earn their money? And how do you recognise serious model agencies that value fair cooperation instead of driving their models into debt with prepayments? That and much more you will find out here!
1. How do model agencies work?
How do model agencies actually earn their money, and do I have to pay them? You have probably asked yourself these questions before. If you are a model under contract with an agency, interested customers do not contact you directly with their requirements, but instead contact your model agency. Your agency will suggest candidates from their database who fit the job and if the client decides to hire you, you will get the job. Employees in model agencies therefore take care of customer requests, coordinate appointments and also take care of advertising, public relations and contracting for the models in your file. In return, however, you have to pay a part of the fee of your assignments, in about 20 to 30 percent, to the agency. So model agencies earn their money through this commission.
More information on how much you earn as a model can be found here: https://go-models.com/uk/magazine/salary-of-a-model-how-much-money-does-a-model-actually-earn
2. How do I identify dubious model agencies?
Like everywhere else in the world, there are unfortunately also some black sheep in the model industry, who want to earn their gold by making false statements, acting unfairly and paying unjustified fees to inexperienced models. To recognise dubious agencies immediately, you should pay attention to the following points:
- Advance payments: If an agency asks you to pay in advance for comp card photos, that's a bad sign and shows lack of reliability. In serious agencies, professional shoots for your comp card are only charged when you are booked through the agency and receive an order. So, the shoot will be charged with your first job, but you will not be charged extra in advance.
- Casting events: Mass events in hotels or other large venues are always suspicious. Serious agencies focus on quality instead of quantity and prefer to take a closer look at individual applicants or let their model scouts find new talent instead of hosting big events.
- Advertising: Caution is advised with model agencies that only advertise by flyer or with posters, especially if no company address is given, but only an e-mail or telephone number. You should also keep your hands off any offers by mail, especially from abroad!
- False promises: Even agencies that promise you immediate and quick success and that promise you a dazzling career as a supermodel are to be considered dubious. After all, only a small number of models make the big breakthrough and no agency can guarantee the success of individual models, no matter how much they themselves are convinced of the candidate.
- Expensive additional events: If an agency wants to talk you into expensive courses, with which you allegedly get better jobs or higher fees, you should refuse this and refrain from further cooperation. Getting into debt before the first job is not only a bad start, but also makes it harder for you to break away from the model agency afterwards. As long as there are still outstanding bills to be paid, you will have to stay there and work until they are paid off.
- Nudes: If an agency demands nude pictures, that's highly dubious behaviour. Of course, serious model agencies will also expect pictures of you in your underwear or bikini, where your body is clearly visible. But nobody has to be completely naked with reasonable agencies! As soon as nude pictures are demanded of you, you should take this as a red flag and distance yourself from the agency in question.
3. How do I identify reputable model agencies?
Now that you know how dubious agencies present themselves, here are some hints to recognise that you are dealing with a serious agency:
- The first and most important indicator to recognise a serious model agency is a professional, up-to-date homepage, as well as customer reviews and recommendations. Also, you can ask other models about their experiences with agencies to hear firsthand which companies are highly recommended.
- As already explained, a serious model agency will not ask for advance payments or lure you with unrealistic fantasy offers. Serious model agencies earn their money on a commission basis, i.e. when their models receive assignments.
- When you apply, they will ask for your measurements, but also your age and address. Also, a portrait and a full body picture are desired. If you are not yet of age, you also need a declaration of consent from your parents.
If you want to make sure that you really get a serious model agency, it is best to apply to an agency that is a member of VELMA, (Association of Licenced Model Agencies). These include Model Management in Hamburg, SEEDS Management in Berlin, Louisa Models in Munich, Model Pool in Düsseldorf, East West Models in Frankfurt or Brody Bookings in Stuttgart.
4. Is there an alternative to model agencies?
Anyone can apply for a job at serious model agencies, but to really be included in the file is quite difficult. Model agencies have specific demands on candidates, because there is still the idea of a "typical" model body and model measurements, which usually have to be shown in order to be accepted. Candidates should wear size 34 or 36, be 1.74 m or taller and be between 14 and 23 years old. Candidates who deviate from these requirements will usually be rejected. This leaves many applicants discouraged, of course, but there is also an alternative to model agencies and other ways to become successful as a model! An alternative possibility is provided by online model portals, where a wider range of different types of models are accepted and recruited. In the next chapter you will learn more about this!
5. What are model portals and how do they work?
On a model portal models are brought together with clients and new campaigns find fresh faces. Our portal go-Models offers models and clients (e.g. agencies, photographers) the opportunity to contact each other in a portal protected by a login and to enter into a business relationship if desired. Model portals have the advantage that a more diverse group of model types is represented here and customers from different areas can find a wide range of new faces.
6. Is go-Models a model agency?
No, go-Models is a model portal that brings models and potential clients together. Clients can view the published comp cards and the go-Code of the models on our platform and contact their favourite model. So, go-Models is not an agency, because a contract for jobs is made directly between you and the client and we don't charge any commission! With us you can become a model even without ideal measurements, because we are a portal for everyone: Kids- and baby models, best-agers, but also curvy models and fitness models are part of our categories! With us your charisma counts more than ideal measurements!
7. At go-Models you profit from numerous advantages:
- Model-Portfolio: In your online portfolio you can upload photos and update previous experiences, personal data, talents etc. at any time.
- Model profile: You can upload up to 30 photos to your profile and the photos are automatically optimised for screen display. Your profile (photos, talents, data such as height etc.) is directly visible to clients.
- Online PDF-Comp card: Here you can create your own comp card in just a few minutes.
- Clients: Potential clients can contact you directly via your profile.
- Job Requests: You can receive job requests from your local area or internationally.
- Make new contacts: You can meet new people and get in touch with clients from different industries!
- No commission: The money you earn through jobs is 100% yours. In contrast to model agencies we do not take any commission.
- Favourite: Clients can mark you directly as their favourite.
- Job Application: In your personal job list you can apply directly for jobs.
- Being independent: On our online model portal you can manage your model profile anytime from anywhere!
8. Is go-Models free of charge?
With our application form you can apply completely free of charge. If we send you a confirmation and you want to become a member, you will sign up for an annual membership. You can get all the great services for 132 Euro incl. VAT for a full 365 days. Calculated on a monthly basis, that's just 11 €, which is less than a visit to the cinema with popcorn! On your way to more exposure, more orders and more customers this is a small but very worthwhile investment!
9. Bottom line: model agencies vs. model portals
Whether it' s a model agency or a model portal, both formats bring you a step closer to your career aspirations and increase your chances of getting lucrative model jobs. When selecting potential model agencies, you should pay close attention to professionalism and follow the above-mentioned tips in order to avoid wasting time and money. Serious model agencies are well connected and offer good representation and support in the industry, but they often have very specific demands on candidates and often only represent models with the " typical" measurements. If the concept of a model agency does not suit you, online model portals could be interesting for you, especially if you are not within the "classic ideal dimensions" or the age required by agencies. In this case you pay a small fee for the annual membership, but no commission is charged for your assignments. Whatever you decide, we wish you a lot of fun and success on your journey!