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438 Camino Del Rio South #116
San Diego, CA 92108

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How much money do models really earn?

The rates are highest in New York City where it's not unusual for a model to make 5 or 6 thousand a day. (That's for 8 hours). In most other markets around the United States such as LA, Chicago, or Miami, the day rates are more like 1500 to 2000 a day. Although even in these markets if a client is very interested in a model they will pay the higher rates.

In most markets the hourly rate is 150 dollars, usually with some minimum amount of hours, such as a 3 or 4 hour minimum. These rates are for what is called "print modeling", this includes; magazine ads, catalogs, and/or brochures.

Rates for other types of modeling vary considerably. Use the following as a general guideline:

Promotional - the kind used for trade shows and product demonstration, generally earn about 300 dollars a day.

Runway – 200 for 1.5 hours

Kids – 50 to 75 an hour for print modeling

Acting – This category is divided between union and non-union.

Union jobs are governed under contract minimums and involve what is called “residuals”. These are payments that keep coming in during most of the life of the airing of a production. To give you some idea of what actors make, currently if a union actor gets a one day booking on an “episodic” such as ER or CSI they make about $700 each time they appear in an episode shot on their booking day.

Non-union jobs are basically a free for all – anything goes. These types of jobs are basically the training ground for people to move up to union jobs. There is certainly nothing wrong with doing non-union jobs. Many people specifically do not become union members because then they are not allowed to do non-union jobs.

Agency Fees And now a word (or two) about agency fees. The way agencies make money, and this goes for all legitimate agencies around the world, is that they charge the model a fee, normally around 20%, and, the client, normally around 20%.

An example would be a client books a model for $1000 a day. The model goes and works for the 8 hours. The agency then adds 20% to the $1000 and bills the client for $1200. The client pays and then the agency pays the model $1000 minus 20% or $800. So here’s a question: if the agency charges the model 20% and the client 20% what percent does the agency earn on a booking? – 40%? – wrong. The entire invoice was $1200 remember? And the agency earns $400, ($200 from the model and client each). So if you divide $400 by $1200 you get 33%, that’s how much an agency earns on a normal booking.

There are also no guarantees, in many cases an agency will work days, or even weeks, with a client on a booking only to have the client cancel it at the last minute, meaning the agency worked all those days or weeks for 33% of 0. That means zero or nothing for the arithmetically challenged.






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