The big question to whether a model should freelance or be represented by an agency exclusively is always a topic for debate. In this article, we explore the differences and pros and cons between freelancing, and signing an exclusive contract with a modeling agency.
A lot of girls who are looking to venture into modeling often started off as a freelance model. Freelance models have the benefits of finding jobs that are of their own interest; negotiate their job rates with clients; work at their own pace; and most importantly, settle client payments themselves without any hidden agency fees. That being said, a freelance model has to start off with building a strong portfolio him/herself and has strong personal contacts in the industry to be able to secure jobs regularly. Freelance models also bear the risks of being underpaid without knowing the true market rate, or the risks of clients not paying without the protection of an agency. Also, a lot of clients tend to believe that only agency-represented models are of good ‘quality’ models, hence denied the opportunity for freelance models to participate in their castings.
There are various kinds of modeling agencies and while their contracts could be generally similar, they could differ a little on their minor terms. Most agencies will not allow models to take on freelance jobs outside of the agency by themselves. Every kind of ‘out-of-agency-jobs’ that are being offered has to either be rejected. This restricts the model’s freedom to get more jobs to earn extra money during jobless-days, and also restricts the model to control on when will she get paid. However, there are many pros of joining an agency: it ensures clients that you are of certain standards to be represented by an agency; the model gets agency protection against any law or payment issues; the agency handles all the job details and scheduling; the models get opportunities to be sent to agency-exclusive castings and sometimes direct-booking jobs.
The above are just a general overview of how the two categories differ and how they go about in the modeling industry. However, there are certain agencies that actually allow ‘non-exclusive’ contracts in which the model is represented by them but they do not restrict the model to get outside jobs. Ultimately, it is up to the model to determine which option to take on depending on the preferred career path.