If you are a home based agent, or you are thinking of becoming one, it is important to really read host agency agreements thoroughly and compare different organizations.
Yes, you are keen to get going, but as with all things, it pays to take a little time to really understand what you are getting into….and more importantly, how you can get out of it if all does not go as you’d hoped.
If you work with a host agency already and have an agreement, take another look at it with the following points in mind.
Here are some key points you want to fully understand:
Does your host agency charge you start-up costs? Does your host agency fully support you with everything you will need from a starter kit (such as business cards, stationery etc.) to training, whether in person, or webinar? And if so, what do they charge you to do this?
How long do you have to sign up for? Some host agencies want you to sign up for three or even five years. Ideally, one year is ample time to get to know your new partner, plus that makes it easy to remember your renewal date.
What are the terms for renewal of your existing contract? Again, it is very important to know this. Does your host agency automatically renew you for another full term contract? Do they give you notice?
What are the terms for leaving your host agency? This is an important one with several aspects to it. How much notice must you give? Are there any penalties? Do you get commission for the sales you have made after you leave?
Who owns your clients? This is a big one. Be sure to read the fine print and make sure that your customers ARE your customers. Can you take them with you when you move?
And finally, can you start with another agency immediately if you leave the host agency you are with? Make sure you have not been tied up with a non-compete clause that says you can’t work for any other agency for a period of time. While this may be challenged in court and generally is not enforceable, you don’t want to have to go to that expense.
It’s all in the fine print, so read carefully, ask the right questions – and perhaps have a lawyer take a look for you.