If you’re contemplating getting a design agent, you may be wondering whether it’s a good idea or not. Let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons of a design agent.
A design agent is someone who will be able to represent you and your work and help you get your designs out there and being sold. So basically what they’ll do if they are a good agent, is they will have a steady flow of different clients that they work with that they’ll be able to approach with your work and then sell your designs.
The great thing about using an agent it that they will have lots of contacts, often far more than what you will have allowing your work to be screen but a larger number of potential clients. The great thing about that is that because they do have all of these contacts, you don’t have to worry about marketing or selling and it takes away for you the whole marketing side of the business, which can be quite overwhelming. I know a lot of designers feel like the marketing and selling of their designs is not within their scope of genius and therefore find it a difficult task.
Agents will also take care of things like the contracts for your work and getting payments from the clients which means you can then focus on designing and not having to worry about chasing payments and organising contracts etc.
So now for the cons.
Obviously, as the agent’s job is to sell your work and take care of some of the business aspects of doing that, they then, of course, charge you a fee. An agent can charge anywhere between 30 to 50% of the price that the design sold for as a commission. That means that you will only get partial payment of the sold price. So if you do decide to use an agent you need to keep that in mind.
The other thing to think about if you are going to get an agent is making sure that you get someone that fits the sort of work that you create and that is actually going to be able to sell your work for you. There’s no use having an agent who isn’t able to sell your designs. Usually, agents are quite particular about who they take on and will only represent artists whose work they feel like they can sell. But you do want to make sure that you research and someone that is a really good fit for you.
You can absolutely be successful both using or not using an agent. If you are going to represent yourself, it will require you to make sure that you’ve got contracts in place and that you do chase up clients for fees, etc. but it will also mean that you will get full payment for each sale.
There are definitely pros and cons for using an agent and it really does depend on, where your business skills lie, what you’re happy or not happy to do within your business and what you feel comfortable with. The other thing to consider before you do sign up with an agent is making sure you’re aware of any exit clauses so if you decide that you no longer want to be with that agent anymore, you know how much notice you have to give them and what happens if they’re currently licensing some of your designs, etc. Make sure you are really clear about that before you sign so that you know exactly where you stand.
Ultimately there are both pros and cons for using an agent and you might find that you have periods within your career where you use one and others where you don’t.