Solicitor’s advice: What you need to know when signing up with an agency

Ariel signing a contract in The Little Mermaid

Read over contracts so you’re not giving away all the money you’ve made 

You know you’ve hit peak creator if you’ve signed up with an agency to create content for brands. But make sure you read the small print for any contracts your sign or you could end up handing over up to 50% of your hard-earned cash to the agency. Ben Polak, solicitor at Brandsmiths, gives you four tips to stay on top of agency deals.

  1. Do your research 

Be careful when entering into contract with talent agencies and make sure you research the agency properly before signing anything. Often they offer things that are too good to be true, when ultimately they just want you to pay some upfront fees and have no intention of finding work for you.

2. Don’t pay anything upfront

Never pay any money/sign anything on the day that you first speak to the agency. Any reputable agency would never do this. A model agency cannot ask you for an upfront fee. Acting/dancing/singing agencies can charge in connection with publishing your details on their website but ask them how this is going to help you get work. They can’t take any money from you for 30 days after signing the contract and you have the right to withdraw from the contract during this time.

3. What’s the commission?

It is common for an agency to charge a commission. Be careful not to agree to too high a commission. E.g. you should not accept 50% commissions as this is too high – talent agencies typically charge around 10% commission. 

4. If you have agency issues

If you have a problem with an agency, contact the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate to ask for advice and to report an offending agency.

If you want to get specific advice on a contract you have signed, call Brandsmiths on 0203 709 8957 or email

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