Freelance Model Rates: How Much Can Or Should You Really Charge??


As a model working and attempting to remain competitive in an industry that is inundated by hopefuls (and by those who are even willing to work for free) you may find yourself facing an increasingly difficult situation regarding how much you can get paid. There seems to be no end to the current situation where models willingly out their hands up for work that is unpaid in return for mere “exposure”.

However, if you are an experienced model you should never sell yourself short, always keeping in mind that you are performing a valuable service and end product for a commercial enterprise. If you are a model working for a business making a profit you are legally entitled to a minimum rate of pay. Otherwise, the commercial enterprise that has employed your service may be in breach of legislation and liable to prosecution.

Fair Work Legislation governs the minimum casual rates for models. Modelling for still photography, TV or movie appearances attracts a full day pay rate of $450.18 and for up to an hour attracts a rate of $92.76. Modelling work at trade shows or parades attracts a full day pay rate of $204. 69 and a single evening show (1hr) attracts $77.18 Casual models are also entitled to double pay on public holidays.

If you do not have an ABN these pay rates apply as you are effectively working as a casual model. This means that if you are paid a rate that isn’t in accordance with the minimum rate that you can complain and that employers are liable to legislation.

If you are working under an ABN you need to keep in mind that you are operating as an Independent Contractor. You need to set yourself pay rates that are fair (it would be wise to follow the minimum rates outlined on the Fair Work website, plus you need to factor in an extra percentage for GST and taxes). Also, so that you are covered for and injuries resulting from your job you will need to ensure that you take out your own Public Liability Insurance.

Valuing your work as a model is incredibly important. This is not only because you might actually be able to pay your bills if you stand firm on your worth but also so that the industry can continue to exist. Free work/work for “exposure” erodes creative professions, undervaluing the work of talented models (and also entertainers and artists) by not allowing them to thrive, or even in most cases, to merely survive.

For more information and all details regarding minimum rates always refer to the Australian Government’s Fair Work website:

Further advice, support and relevant information:

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