How to Start a Modeling Agency

How to Start a Modeling Agency. Starting your own modeling agency will put you in touch with some beautiful faces, but to make it in the modeling agency business, the name of the game is contacts.

Get experience. Work for an existing modeling agency to get a hands-on feel for the business. Modeling agencies succeed because of the talent they represent and the contacts they have to get jobs for their models. You'll need to know where the work is before you go out on your own.

Choose the type of model your agency will represent. Most agencies only represent young women, ages 15-19. Others specialize in plus-size models or older models 40 and above. Determine your specialty by the type of model and contacts available in your area.

Identify the market for your area. If you only have local contacts, your business will be limited to the work in your area. Modeling hot spots such as Los Angeles, New York and Dallas attract larger companies and deal with contacts from around the world.

Verify your model base. The area in which you establish yourself should have a large population in the 15-19 age range if you're focusing on traditional model work.

Select a location that has good exposure. You want the customers, both models and advertising clients, to be able to find you easily.

Use a commercial real estate broker to find a suitable location for your business.

Check with city or county departments to get a business license. Inquire what the regulations are for starting such a business. Ask if there are any other permits that must be applied for.

Sign a lease. Most commercial leases are triple net, where the tenant (you) pays for all the operating and maintanence expenses as well as taxes and insurance.

Hire an architect and contractor to make any modifications to the office.

Create contracts for your models and advertising clients. Hire an attorney for the legal work.

Find talent. You'll need to attract models either through an open call to the public for auditions or finding talent with a scout.

Set up photo shoots with a photographer to provide models with portfolios that they can show to clients.

Contact clients. Large companies need models for print and television advertising. Large department stores hire models for fashion shows, and large companies need models to attract attention to displays.

Get ready for lights, camera, and action.


  • The more contacts you have for work for your models, the more successful you will be. Your job will be to find the right models for the right job.


  • Be wary of advertisers that promise great things for your models. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you are dealing with reputable companies.

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