Model Expenses – Costs You Need to Look Out For
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Being a model can be complicated. It’s not just a case of getting paid for a photo shoot; there are often hidden costs to think of which will impact your income. These are known as model expenses.
Many aspiring models choose to start modelling as a part-time job, so they can afford to pay their bills whilst pursuing their modelling career. Eventually, if a model works hard enough and is able to earn enough through their modelling work, they may choose to make the leap and go full-time.
Even if you’re signed with a modelling agency, you will need to read the small print on your contracts to make sure there aren’t any upcoming hidden costs. While a job may appear to pay well, you need to consider whether they’re also covering travel and hotel expenses – if not, that once-great looking paycheque may have you struggling to pay next month’s rent.
So what sort of expenses should a model look out for?
So what sort of hidden costs can a model expect to face?
Firstly, there’s travel. Models need to travel a lot to attend casting calls and interviews, as well as jobs. These jobs may take place nearby and incur small travel fees, but what about lengthier journeys that may require costly train or even plane tickets? And for those models who live in the city, they will have to rely on public transport from buses, taxis and unground trains, which all adds up.
Additionally, there are hotel costs to consider. If you need to work far away from home or have a lengthy contract that requires more than a single day to fulfil, a hotel stay may be required. Hotels can range in price, especially if not booked well in advance. It may cost you anything from £30 for a night, to several hundred depending on your location, time of year and the hotel’s demand and star rating.
A lot of modelling contracts will include these costs within the job itself. However, a beginner model may be expected to fund these extras themselves. Some modelling agencies will also take a large chunk to cover these types of payments out of the payment made to the model.
This is why it is so important to read a contract back to front before you agree to anything; you may end up with some hefty unexpected bills otherwise.
Tax Deductible Expenses
You might not realise all the additional things you can add to your tax claim. Here’s an example:
– Plastic surgery. Surgery that benefits your career, for example braces or teeth whitening, can often be tax-deductible.
– Clothing. Bear in mind that there is a limit, however, and you may face penalties if you overdo it.
– Agency fees, for example joining a model’s Union like Equity, The Model Alliance.
– Makeup and hair styling products that can be linked to your work.
– Gym memberships – again, if you can prove that the gym is a vital part of maintaining your model-ready figure.
– Any insurance that is related to your job.
– Any money you use to help advertise yourself. For example, paid advertising will be covered. If you pay to have yourself featured in a blog or article, this can also be claimed.
– Portfolio and z-card costs. These are necessary tools for a model.
Advance, Not Finance!
Remember – just because you are signed to a modelling agency does not mean they will cover these sorts of costs. A modelling agency can help to advance your career, but they are not there to finance you. You need to take responsibility for your own growth as a model, and this means much of the beginning costs will come out of your own pocket. You need to plan for this in advance so you don’t get left with an empty purse at the end of the month.
It’s true that successful models will often find things getting paid for them. That’s because they’re in demand – they can be tough about who they decide to work with, and who they spend their valuable time with. Brands and companies will happily pay for travel, hotels, luxury meals, and even designer clothing and jewellery to keep in the model’s good books. Don’t expect your career as a beginner model to be anything like this – often, aspiring models who are first starting out do not make much money until they become more established.
To avoid confusion, the best thing new models can do is to get an accountant. If you can get one that works especially with models, even better! An accountant can help you organise your finances and figure out what can and can’t be tax deductible.