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How to Negotiate a Talent Agency Contract

So you have just been signed with a talent agency? Of course, for several days you will be excited and your mind won’t stop dreaming of what amazing opportunities lay in front of you. However, if you have never been signed with a talent agency before, negotiating your contract can be quite difficult, and if you are not careful, the contract can actually hurt you. Read on to learn how to negotiate a talent agency contract.

Things You'll Need:

  • Paper
  • Talent Agency Contract
  • Pen

The first step in negotiating your talent agency contract is understanding if you are signing an exclusive contract or a non-exclusive contract. he main difference between these two contracts is with the exclusive contract, you are not able to sign with any other talent agency while under contract. With the non-exclusive contract, you are free to sign with another talent agency, although it is frowned upon.

After you have discovered what type of contract your agency is attempting to sign you under, you will want to read over the various terms of the contract. Make sure that when you sign a contract, the agent will only receive a commission from work that they directly provide you. There are some agencies that will sign you to a contract that will require you to pay them commission even from work that they did not find for you. This type of contract is not recommended.

Keep in mind the actual commission percentage your agent will take from your work. The industry standard percentage is anywhere between 10 to 15 percent. Never sign a contract with a commission percentage higher than 15 percent for a talent agency. If you are working with a non-union talent agency, you will need to be extremely assertive about the commission rate.

Once you have determined the percentage rate, you will need to figure out how long the duration of your contract will last. Normally, with exclusive talent contracts the duration of the contract will last 12 months. Depending on your agency, your contract might last up to 24 months. Within a non-exclusive talent contract, the duration can be as little as six months to a full year.

The last step to negotiating a talent agency contract is to ask questions. If there is any part of the contract that you are not 100 percent sure about, then you need ask the agent any and all questions you may have.


Never sign a contract unless you are 100 percent confident that it is beneficial for yourself as well as the agency. Never pay a talent agency a cent out of your pocket. They make money when you get booked for a job.

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