Price & Rates In The US: How Much To Charge As A Model Per Hour

People, who want to make a name in the modeling industry, often wonder what income can they make as a model in the US or how much should they charge per hour? Well, the modeling industry is quite huge and there are different levels of models in it. Here’s what you need to know:

As a beginner, models in the US can charge anywhere between $20 to $50/hour. Pro models can charge $75-$100/hour depending on their expertise. Modeling pay rates can also be fixed price or a day rate.

There are some who are making millions, while there are others who are barely getting by. In this article, I’ll talk about the factors that can make or break your modeling income.

If you want to pursue modeling as a career but are unable to figure out the hourly rates in the US market, this article will help you out.

Keeping their queries in mind, we will point out a few factors that determine the hourly wages of models in the industry and what qualities give them the edge to charge more.

What Is Modeling?

You know what, it is not that easy to categorize modeling. The profession has many facets to it. The direction you want to pursue determines the kind of model you will turn out to be, and that will eventually decide your hourly rate in the US industry. 

To put it as simply as possible, a model’s duty is to appear as nice as possible in order to market apparel and lifestyle things. But, here’s a catch, there’s a lot more to it than this and we will break it down, step by step in the following paragraphs.

Ways To Get Into The Modeling Industry

There are two major ways through which people get into modeling. The first is through a modeling agency and the second is freelance work. 

Modeling Through An Agency

The way this thing works is that a model hires an agent, who is basically responsible for finding him/her work. These agents carry books that have other models’ pictures attached to them as well.

They usually categorize models based on their looks. Models who have similar looks are placed together. 

Usually, a client contacts the agent and requests a specific appearance; the agent then presents models who they believe fit the brief. A model gets the job if the client likes them and if they are available.

The models, however, pay a portion of their fees to the agent in exchange for their services.

Freelance Modeling

Another option for models out there is freelance work. If you opt to work as a freelancer, then you are completely responsible for seeking work yourself.

As a result, you may have to work harder to find work because clients are unlikely to come to you. 

You’ll have to look for openings and castings and apply for them, which could involve going to a lot of auditions and still not getting in.

Of course, the advantage is that you get to retain the entire sum that you are paid, because hey, you’re agent-free.

Who Earns More: Agency Model Or A Freelancer?

You know it’s pretty reasonable to ask the question, which model earns more – the agency one or the freelancer? According to different researches and surveys, models who work with agencies earn more than freelancers. 

Of course, it takes time to reach a point where you charge handsome bucks, but once you’re there, you will be getting so many projects that it will be difficult for you to keep track of everything.

At this point, the models often take benefit from their agents who handle all the work for them.

A model’s hourly pay typically lies between $75–$100. So, for a couple of hours of studio work will earn a model around $375-$500 in a day. However, if he/she’s working for an agency, then he/she pays 20% of the wage of it to the agent.

So yeah, an agency model has to pay $144 to the agent. 

Different Types Of Modeling Niches And The Average Salaries

There are multiple types of modeling categories out there, but here we will list down some of the main niches and the average incomes of models for you.

Modeling For Commercials And Advertising

This type of modeling is extremely lucrative because it offers an hourly rate of $200 on average. Well, then again, smaller businesses often pay less than national campaigns, which usually pay more.

To gain more perspective into this category, you’ll need to understand that there are many forms of payments available for advertising shots. The factors include different areas, media, and durations of time, among other things.

A savvy agency or model negotiating on their own can ensure that a good advertising campaign pays for overtime as well.

Modeling For Runways

During events, the runway models exhibit designer wear on the catwalk. While backstage, they are trained to swiftly change into outrageous, exposing, or uncomfortable clothing, as well. In this case, they do not have a choice on what they will wear.

Modeling is not about models; they are merely a vehicle for exhibiting fashion apparel. However, in order to gain more projects, models must have a strong walk, be tall and skinny, and be able to fit into the designer’s sample size clothing. 

From hair and makeup to rehearsals and the show itself, which can be finished in thirty minutes or less, their job will most likely take many hours.

Depending on the designer’s popularity, some models get paid as much as $20,000 for every show, while others do not get paid at all.

Modeling For Editorials

You must have noticed that when you open the pages of editorial spreads, they often tell a tale about clothing or display new trends about fashion in the magazines.

Editorial models, however, have to meet different standards than catwalk models and they are, hence, compensated accordingly. 

If the models are doing well for themselves, they can expect to earn around $100 each hour. Starting model salaries can be as low as $20 per hour, and some models may work for free to build their portfolio and make their way up the ladder.

Modeling For Catalogs

Catalog models are those you see in catalogs or on online websites for fashion brands. These models show off the different dresses and present how they appear on a physical body.

They are often called back in for fresh product releases and are then able to bag shoots for hundreds of looks per week. 

The catalog models have to work within standard dimensions, and, in catalog modeling, a more generic appearance is usually favored. So if you have a stunning or outlandish face, you might be better off working for catalogs. An average catalog model makes around $5,000 a month.

If you work your way up and build a portfolio, you can make around $7,000 to $11,000 a month.

Modeling For Body Parts

Modeling for body parts, also known as parts modeling is also a good way to make good bucks. Instead of using the entire body, parts models use only a section of it. These parts often include hands, feet, arms and legs, lips, eyes, hair, and even some parts of the torso. 

For shoots, companies often cover more than one region of their body, or they may concentrate on simply the most appealing part. It’s tough to put a dollar value on a hand model vs a foot model or an eye model.

It’s a specialized job that necessitates long hours, physical discomfort, and a strong desire to succeed – as well as extraordinary sensitivity to the part you’re showing.

According to a famous American business magazine, famous parts models earn between $2,000 and $5,000 per day for TV ads and $2,000 to $5,000 per day for print advertising.

A female parts model with amazing legs and feet can make around $75,000 per year — and considerably more in New York City, where big advertising agencies are headquartered.

Modeling For TV Ads

Even though this field isn’t as popular as it once was, gameshows occasionally send out a pretty model to give away their prizes.

We, however, cannot tell which gameshow model makes more than the other. They are likely well compensated, though not as well as a TV show host, obviously. 

Their employment, however, may only be temporary, which means the overall compensation may not be as big as projected, but it does provide a model with additional exposure.

Once big brands start recognizing you, there’s a highly likely chance that you get hired by either of them soon. 

The Average Salary Of Child Models

The child models can earn anything from $5 to $250 per hour. The salary is based on whether you’re a youngster or a teenager, whether you’re a new or experienced model, and whether the company pays per day rather than per hour.

It’s also dependent on the type of model you want to be. Moreover, as we mentioned before, small, indie businesses pay less than big companies.

Factors That Determine The Average Salary Of Models

Like every other profession, the average salary of models is based on multiple factors and the quite apparent ones include appearance, experience, and portfolio. Here we will point out some other factors that determine the salaries of models in the US.

  • The hours you put in – Depending on how good you or your agent is at securing bookings, you could be working as little as one day a week or as much as seven days a week.
  • The market you work for — Indie and small businesses are likely to pay less than giant fashion houses with a bigger budget. This usually means you won’t be able to earn as much at the start of your career, of course!
  • Working in one of the world’s fashion capitals (London, New York, Paris, Milan, etc.) will certainly earn you higher pay than working in a lesser-known fashion city.
  • Male models, on average, earn less than female models because female models are more in demand. This is probably one of the few industries where women are paid more than men.
  • Your looks – This doesn’t sound all that nice, but it is a fact that how well you suit the needed look and size, you may be regarded to be worth more or less.
  • Negotiation skills – You can potentially earn a lot more money if you can negotiate a solid contract. If you don’t negotiate at all, you may find yourself underpaid in comparison to your abilities.
  • Agency — Depending on whether you are a freelancer or have an agent that takes a low or high cut, you may be paid more or less.
  • Models’ salaries are frequently deducted for work-related costs. These can include items like flights, cabs, and cars, as well as food, lodging, and other expenses, especially when traveling to another city.

Some Figures For Average Salaries In The US

Ziprecruiter’s estimates range from $401,500 to $11,000 per year, with an average model salary of $125,457 in the United States. 

The average hourly model wage, according to Indeed, is $23.43, albeit their data includes adult modeling gigs, which may skew the number upward. Depending on the task and their rank, top-level models can easily ask for several hundred dollars per hour, if not more.

There are several regions in the United States where models will find better hourly rates or more work opportunities since they are fashion hubs. Models can make a good income in New York and Los Angeles because an average model wage of $25 per hour has been reported in California.

Final Word

Models are humans, too, and they’re in the same profession as photographers, who are trying equally hard to make a living by doing what they love. As a result, the agencies must be prepared to pay a respectable amount in exchange for their time. 

You know, it’s always good to pay a little extra in the short term in order to establish a long-term working connection with models. 

Moreover, we must not forget that if a model is new in the industry, he/she may have to work for free to build a portfolio and to make connections in the business. This will not only help them get familiar with the work dynamics but also help land a gig in the future. 

To sum it all up, how much you make as a model depends on the niche you pursue and the kind of expertise you have at the moment. 

About topworklife.com

Hi’ my name is Simon. I am the owner of Top Work Life.

Together with a my team, I write content about income generating ideas, entreprenurship and growth as a person

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