Models keep asking how to tell if a modeling agency is legit. Like other industries out there, modeling has its share of scams. A lot of young models get scammed every year by sham modeling agencies.
In this article, we have listed some of the practical tips that can help you handle this.
Below is the list of how to tell if a modeling agency is legit. After reading this article, you will know how to figure out on your own if a model agency is legitimate or not.
1. Through Model management companies
There is no better way of how to tell if a modeling agency is legit or not than from people who know the in and out of the modeling industry.
Getting a legitimate modeling agency to work with can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t know the in and out of the industry.
This is why both pro and beginner models work with a reputable model management and scouting company to help pinpoint and put them in front of the most legitimate and profitable modeling agencies.
They help you answer questions like how do you know who to trust in the industry? What are the best opportunities for your particular look? who are the best agencies for your type of model? and many other mind-boggling questions.
Signing up with reputable model management is a nice way to avoid being scammed in the industry. This is because the people running the management company is familiar with the bad agencies and can easily fish out the bad egg on your behalf while you sleep.
There are a lot of model management companies out there (both legit and scammers), but based on experience in terms of reputation and getting value for your money, we recommend you signup with Modelscout.
They represent new and experienced models of all ages, all sizes, and all heights.
Modelscout can help you identify bottlenecks or issues with a business process that would otherwise go unnoticed in your modeling career.
They will also teach you how to understand the industry, and where you belong in the industry to avoid being scammed or deceived, and no experiences are required to be a member.
Aside from the security aspect of your career, they will also teach you how to understand the modeling industry such as your good angles, how to walk, where you belong in the industry, and many others.
2. When they charge you upfront
How to tell if a modeling agency is legit or not is when they ask you for money upfront. Aside from model management and scouting companies, model agencies don’t ask for upfront payments.
Legitimate modeling agencies never request the payment of their services out of your pocket, only scam agencies do. Legitimate modeling agencies only request for the payment of all the services rendered through the model’s paycheck and never out of your pocket.
In general, agencies should not ask you to pay for anything, because they are supposed to make money by marketing you and not trying to make money from you.
In the modeling industry, money flows only in one direction, that is from the model agencies to you as a model. What you will be paying is the percentage of what you earned, and not really anything upfront. This is how to tell if a modeling agency is legit.
So any agency that expects you to pay for anything out of your pocket is scamming you, but that does not mean that every situation asking for money is a scam.
ALSO READ: 10 Key Signs You Should Be A Model
As a model, building your portfolio will cost you in so many ways even on free photoshoots. Every model should be prepared to pay their way through their careers. You will have to spend on transportation, food, and other things.
As a young model, you should always be prepared to make an investment with your agency and this should NEVER be before you sign your contract. There are times when legitimate model agencies will force you to pay them or pay someone else.
An agency will make you pay for your comp cards, portfolio pictures, online portfolio, actual portfolio, and other things. This is entirely normal and pretty much standard across the modeling industry.
The only real difference between agencies is that scammy agencies make you pay for it out of your pocket, while legitimate agencies use it as a credit towards your future revenues.
Major modeling agencies will cover the initial costs of their models and even provide advances for spending money if they are certain that the model is going to get a paycheck. But any and every expense that the agency covered will be taken out of the model’s pay after the commissions are subtracted.
So, the short answer is NO for 9 of 10 questions about paying modeling agencies, but the long answer is not that straightforward when talking of how to tell if a modeling agency is legit.
It is actually Yes and No since there are few variables. It tends to dictate by model, location/market you are in as well, so can not really say the same for areas where the market is very small or model whose earning potential is small. But let’s assume you are in the area market is reasonably large.
There are a few rare circumstances where even a legit place may ask for some payment. The actual scam is when you are asked to pay before you join an agency. Modeling agencies like this should not be trusted, as their plan may be to take your money and run.
3. They don’t have a website
Every reputable company should have a website and this is applicable to a modeling agency. how to tell if a modeling agency is legit or not is when they don’t have their own website.
Also, if you come across a modeling agency that does not have an official landline phone number, an actual address, or a listing with an agents association, such an agency is probably a scam.
There are cases where the modeling agency may be legitimate, but the person contacting you is an impersonator who is trying to use the name of such a reputable agency to scam you.
So you should look into the email they used in contacting you, if the email extension is not linked to the agency’s official website, that means it’s a scam.
For instance, if the email is linked to @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, or @yahoo.com, it means such an offer is coming from a scammer who pretends to represent a legitimate modeling agency.
Paying attention to the content of the email is also how to tell if a modeling agency is legit. Look out for grammatical errors and other little mistakes an actual model agency wouldn’t make.
4. Google the modeling agency’s reviews
If you want to see what other people are saying about a modeling agency, then how to tell if a modeling agency is legit is by googling the model to get reviews on them.
With reviews on the internet, you can typically find a lot of information about the company to know if the modeling agency is legit or not.
In order to find the exact information about the model agency, try searching the agency’s name on google with additional words like “scam,” “legit,” or “complaint.”
Searching for the review of a particular modeling agency on the Better Business Bureau website is also how to tell if a modeling agency is legit. You will see a little background info about the problems that other people had with a model agency.
This website has information on consumer fraud and poor business practices you need to know about and it will help you know how to tell if a modeling agency is legit.
5. Pay attention to their roster
How to tell if a modeling agency is legit is by taking a better look at the modeling agency’s roster.
See if there are some well-known models or at least models who have worked in the industry you can see in their roster.
Usually, legitimate agencies tend to have a lot of models who have recognizable faces on their roster. When you have no idea who any of the models are on the roster, and the agency claims to be working “international”, then you should be worried.
You can also contact the models on their roster who have recently gotten work through the agency to know their experience of working through that particular modeling agency.
Most times, scammy modeling agencies place photos of successful models they didn’t actually represent, in order to deceive their potential target, and figuring out the authenticity of the models they claim to represent is how to tell if a modeling agency is legit.
They also use names of popular and reputable companies who have actually hired the models they claim to represent, so get contact information of the companies at which the agency says its placed models and find out their experience with such agency.
6. They brag about fake success and promises
When a modeling agency brags about their success, but no one has ever heard of them, this is how to tell if a modeling agency is legit.
If a modeling agency brags about its track record, tell them to prove it and if they can’t prove it, it’s one of the signs the modeling agency is not legitimate.
So always be very careful even if their success stories make it sound like a nice opportunity. How to tell if a modeling agency is legit is by just thinking about what the modeling agency has in mind for themselves and why would they be giving you such fake promises.
It’s good to find a mentor or an adviser, someone who knows the in and out of the modeling industry, someone who will guide you and teach you. That is why you should sign up with Modelscout, they will do that job perfectly for you.
Also, how to tell if a modeling agency is legit is by paying attention to the things they promise you. If a modeling agency guarantees you things that are not usually possible in the industry, it could mean they are scammy.
For instance, modeling jobs can be irregular even for successful models, there are never any guarantees. So if a modeling agency (Especially small agencies) guarantees that you will get work, it could be a scammy agency.
If they promise that after signing with them you will work with high fashion brands such as Gucci, Boss, Fendi, and other high fashion brands, know they are trying g to manipulate you to sign up with them.
Just like modeling jobs, what models can earn is usually variable. So another example is when a modeling agency promises you big salaries.
So if an agency makes these impossible guarantees, just walk away because it’s how to tell if a modeling agency is legit or not.
7. They rush you to sign a contract
How to tell if a modeling agency is legit or not is the way they persuade you to sign a contract. If a modeling agency rushes you to sign a contract, this means you should consult a professional to review the contract carefully.
The scammy agency will rush you to sign a contract by making you feel you will miss out on a big opportunity if you waste time. They do this to avoid you from carefully reading the terms and then discovering the fouls in the contract.
This is because these kinds of contracts are usually one-sided and are in the favor of the modeling agency, not the model. Also, know that the terms in modeling contracts are negotiable.
A legitimate modeling agency will give you enough time (at least three business days) to review the contract with an attorney and will also be open to offering any proposed changes before you decide to sign with them.
You need time to carefully check out a modeling agency before you give them any of your belongings including money or vital information. If a modeling offer is good today, if it’s not a scam, it should be good tomorrow, so no need to rush.
Carefully reading the contract yourself is also how to tell if a modeling agency is legit.
8. They force you to go through their training program
How to tell if a modeling agency is legit or not is when they force you to go through their model training program to get signed to their modeling agency.
A scammy agency will ask you to do a model walk, while you’re walking down their runway, they will criticize your walks and tell you where you need some work and how your walk isn’t strong enough.
They will literally go down in criticizing you in other to introduce their modeling training program. In the end, they will ask you to pay so so amount to join their training program.
The scammy part of it is when they make it compulsory that you must go through their modeling training program to be signed to their modeling agency.
Another sign is when they offer to give you discounts just because they believe you have potential and then make big promises to you such as how you will be featured in big magazines and fashion shows if you go through their training program.
9. Contact your network
Another way on how to tell if a modeling agency is legit is by talking to other models and photographers in your area or contacts to see what experiences they had with the agency.
There are a lot of websites for models and photographers to connect and network with each other and then share experiences. So go ahead and sign up with such websites and then do your research there.
Studying the agency’s social media page is how to tell if a modeling agency is legit.
The agency’s Instagram page is also a good source to connect with models who have worked with the agency and then ask them their experience while working with such modeling agency.
The featured models in the agency’s Instagram post usually have their IG handle tagged, and from there you can click to the model’s profile and then communicate with them by sending them an Instagram DM or an email if there’s anyone available on their page!
When contacting the models, you should be as respectful and polite as possible in other to get their true experience with the modeling agency, and this is a sure way on how to tell if a modeling agency is legit or not
10. Examine the Agency’s location
Most modeling agencies use fake office locations. So how to know if a model agency is legit or not is by examining the agency’s location.
Some scammy agencies will go so far as to create a fake office where you and hundreds of other young models will register and after paying them, they will disappear without doing the job.
It’s not hard to save yourself from these kinds of modeling scams.
Looking into how long the agency has been around is how to tell if a modeling agency is legit. You can ask neighboring shops or offices where the modeling agencies are located to know how long the agency has been there.
The longer they have been in a permanent location, the chances they are legit.
Also, look around the offices to see if the modeling agency has built something that will be permanent in their office which when relocating it can’t be removed. The more you see such things in their office the more you know they have intentions of staying in that location for a longer period of time.
The above article is how to tell if a modeling agency is legit and we hope it helps you avoid scammers.
After a modeling agency contacts you, how to tell if a modeling agency is legit is by doing proper research before you do anything else. If you apply common sense you will be much happier not to sign a modeling contract than falling for one of the numerous scammers out there.
To be on the safer side, you should sign up with Modelscout and then go to sleep knowing too well that everything is in control.
And while doing it on your own, if a modeling agency scams you by taking your money and didn’t deliver on its promises, report such agency to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Thank you for having time to read this article about how to tell if a modeling agency is legit to the end. Don’t forget to share this post with your social media friends.