Why Hire an Agent

What to Look for When Hiring a Sports Agent

If you are an athlete, you may be wondering if you need a sports agent. The main reason why athletes need an agent to represent them is to assist them with all aspects of their career. The main focus will be ensuring you get the type of contract and fair market value that you are entitled to based on your athletic abilities. Sport agents are your buffers. Once an owner, president or franchise makes a viable offer that an agent feels is worth your time to entertain, then they will contact you to explain the terms. Here’s the factors you need to consider when hiring a sports agent.

Their Cost

Each sport is different and has a broad dynamic. An athlete will have agents lining up to represent them. The most common mistake an athlete can make is choosing an agent that may offer a lower percentage of the contract price if you sign with them. While you may be saving a substantial amount of money, you need to also consider that you could be losing out on a substantial amount.

The majority of sports agents take a percentage of the contract they negotiate for you, rather than a flat rate percentage. As such, you may think that signing with an agent that has a lower percentage cost makes more sense than hiring one with a higher percentage cost. But, that isn’t always the case. Make sure that you are comfortable with the negotiating skills of the agent, not just the amount of money they charge. If an agent is charging you a low fee, it is only beneficial to you if they are negotiating a high contract amount for you. If their negotiating skills are not up to par, you could be losing money that way, and the higher fees another agent may have charged may have been worth it.

Honesty

When you are looking to hire a sports agent, you want to look for one that is honest and trust-worthy. Sports is a multi-billion dollar industry, and money can quickly turn honest people dishonest and greedy. As such, you need someone on your side that you can depend and rely on.

Make sure you are comfortable with the agent you are selecting. Keep in mind, this is the person you are choosing to represent you and your brand, and has the potential to make or break your career. If you feel uncomfortable with this person, or don’t trust them, move on to a different agent. Take the time to get to know the agent and who they are as both a person and businessman. This will help you feel them out and get a real feel for who they are and what morals they may have or may lack.

The Terms of the Contract

When you are looking for a sports agent, ask to see contracts for the players that they represent currently. They can black out the name and salary amount, as that is not the information you are looking at. What you want to pay close attention to is how the contract is worded and how payments are made.

While it is important that a sports agent negotiates a high salary amount for you, you do not want to select an agent that can necessarily get you the highest paycheck. Many teams are willing to sign you for more money if the terms of the contract benefit them. However, should you get hurt or they cut you from the team, they may not have to pay out that contract. As such, you want a sports agent that negotiates not only a fair salary amount, but also fair terms to a contract. Pay close attention to upfront signing bonuses, how you get paid if you are injured or cut, and performance bonuses when reviewing an agent’s client’s contracts. 

Reputation

Another factor that you need to pay attention to when you are looking to hire a sports agent is their reputation. Some agents have a reputation for being hard to work with and causing trouble with teams. Other agents have a reputation for being easy to work with and getting along great with their clients and sports teams.

Do your research and find an agent that has a good reputation. While there will be good and bad reviews of any agent from current and former players, choose the one that has an overall good reputation and one that you are comfortable with. This is the person that is negotiating your livelihood and representing you. If they end up in the news for being difficult to work with or not negotiating well, it may reflect poorly upon you.

Accessibility

The last factor you need to consider when hiring a sports agent is accessibility.

Some sports agents are extremely busy and are not accessible. Others have few clients and make sure their clients can reach them anytime. You want a good balance of the two of these and want an agent that will get back to you when you have questions or need help.
Ask yourself how important you will be to this agent. Are they overloaded with clients? Are they only available during normal business hours? What if you have an emergency and need to get a hold of them right away? All of those questions are important for you to consider when determining the accessibility of a sports agent.

One of the biggest mistakes athletes make is letting success and the prospect of wealth go to their head. As soon as an agent contacts them, they see dollar signs and quickly sign with a sports agent. Unfortunately, this sports agent may not be the right fit for you. There are many factors that you need to consider should you find yourself preparing to negotiate a sports contract and thinking about hiring a sports agent. You need to keep their costs in mind, their accessibility, how honest they seem to you, their reputation and the terms of the contracts they negotiate in mind. Focusing on these factors will help you select a sports agent that makes the most sense for you.