Many people will tell you that you should only pay an agent after you book a job. I have heard by others that if you pay at any other time, the agency is running a scam, and is not a legit agent. That can be the case, but it is not always accurate. One situation where you could actually pay an agent a fee without it being connected to a job is if you are requested to have your head shot, voice over or acting reel on the agent’s web site, or the site that is run by another company. That would be a time where you are paying a fee to an agent without it being connected to a booking.
Now that I have shared that information with you, now I would like to tell you about a time I negotiated with an agent about the web site fees. This will not always work, but if you like, you can always try it out and see what happens.
I have been with this agent for quite some time. Years ago, I booked a ton of work with her. For a number of reasons I have not gotten a booking with that agent for nearly 5 years. I recently viewed her web site and saw that the 4 photos she had of mine were old. I have much more recent and stronger photos that should be used on her site. I was thinking that maybe that was one of the causes for me not to be getting the work that I use to with her agency.
I decided to get in touch with the agent, and asked if I could have my newer shots uploaded to her site. She told me what the cost would be to change the shots, and I was not sure if spending the money was a wise decision. I know that by having my best and most recent shots on the site will at least give me my greatest opportunity to get booked, but I also was not sure if there were other reasons why I was not getting the bookings. Perhaps, she was not marketing me as hard as before, or maybe her particular market simply was not booking my type right now.
Negotiate with the Agent
So, I made the decision to negotiate with the agent. I told her that since it has been so many years since I booked a job with her, I wanted to request that she upload the new shots and simply deduct the uploading fee from my first booking. She said that would be fine with her. I guess she truly believed that it would be financially good for her to make her money in the future though my bookings.
Sometimes negotiating with an agent will work, and other times it is a simply “take it or leave it” proposition. I figured it was certainly worth asking. The worst thing she could do was say no. And, in that situation, I would evaluate things to see if I thought it would be worth the investment.
I have found that it is always worth asking, as long as you ask in a friendly and proper way. During my entire conversation, I made sure that I never blamed the agent in any way that my lack of work was because of her. I was simply very honest and factual with her, and was always very respectful in the way I brought up my proposal.