If you want to open a talent agency, it is important to be aware of all the regulatory requirements you need to meet. Some states do not have any special licensing requirements for talent agencies while others require a license and supplemental documents like copies of labor contracts and fee schedules.
In this post, we will outline the common requirements for talent agent licenses across the country and provide a step-by-step guide you can use to get your license.
Talent agency license requirements
While the exact definition of a talent agency will vary from state to state, most locations roughly define a talent agency as any person or company that engages in procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to secure employment for artists or counseling them on their careers.
In this definition, artists include actors, musicians, painters, models among other types of creative professionals.
If your business falls into this category, then you may or may not need a talent agency license. The determining factor is your local laws. Some states require talent agency licenses while others don’t.
You can see a complete list of states that require a talent agent license by visiting the Association of Talent Agents website.
Process for getting a talent agent license
1. Register your business
Before you can get a talent agent license, you will need to register your business within your state. The exact registration requirements will vary from state to state.
Some states will allow you to register your business online while others will need you to mail or fax in an application.
2. Get an employment agency license
Depending on your location, you may need to get an employment agency license prior to being eligible for a talent agency license. This is because talent agents help people find work and some states consider them an employment agency, which requires its own regulatory requirements.
Some of the states that require talent agencies to get an employment agency license include:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- District of Columbia
The process for obtaining your employment agency license will vary by location. However, you can expect to go through many of the same steps needed to get your talent agency license including submitting an application and paying an annual license fee.
3. Get a talent agency bond
Many states that require talent agent licenses also require talent agencies to post a surety bond. The bonds provide assurance that the agency will comply with all state and federal regulations. They also enable the agency’s clients to seek financial compensation for any damages caused by the agency.
The required bond amount for talent agency bonds varies depending on the state. Below are a few examples of the bond requirements:
- California: $50,000 bond
- Alaska: $10,000 bond
- New York: $10,000 bond
- North Carolina: $10,000 bond
- Texas: $10,000 bond
- Connecticut: $7,500 bond
- Maryland: $7,000 bond
- Arkansas: $5,000 bond
- Florida: $5,000 bond
- Illinois: $5,000 bond
- North Dakota: $5,000 bond
When you get your talent agency bond, you only need to pay a small percentage of the total bond value as a premium. This is typically between 0.75% and 4%.
Unlike other types of surety bonds, talent agency bonds usually do not require you to undergo a credit check.
4. Submit talent agent license application
After you get your surety bond, the final step to getting your talent agent license is to submit your application to the regulating agency in the area. Depending on your location, the application can be submitted digitally or via mail.
When submitting your application, the government agency will ask you to provide supporting documents to verify that you meet the necessary requirements.
Some of the information and documents you should be prepared to provide include:
- Business registration documents
- Affidavits of character
- Samples of contracts between the agency and artists
- Fingerprint request
- Certificate of Workers’ compensation insurance
Your application will also need to include a license fee, payable to the regulating agency. There may be additional fees depending on your state’s requirements.
Talent agent license frequently asked questions
How do you renew a talent agent license?
Talent agency licenses are only active for a limited time, typically a few years. To renew your license, you will need to submit a renewal application to your local regulatory agency either by mail or online.
When renewing your license, you will need to pay an annual license fee which typically costs a few hundred dollars.
Do talent agents need a degree?
There are no formal education requirements to become a licensed talent agent. However, getting a degree in business or another relevant area can help you land positions early in your career.
Overall, learning the entertainment industry inside and out and building a strong list of contacts is more important to the long-term success of a talent agent.
Get your talent agency bond online with EZ Surety Bonds
The process for getting a talent agency license is straightforward and relatively easy when compared to other types of professional licenses. With EZ Surety Bonds, the bonding process is convenient–we can issue your talent agency bond online instantly for most states.
Apply online today or get in touch for more information.