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Here’s Why Agencies Take So Long to Pay


30+ days is a long time.

That’s about how long it takes for a Brand Ambassador to get paid after working an event. Sometimes it’s less, sometimes it’s more but for the most part, Brand Ambassadors usually have to play the waiting game before receiving their hard earned check. While there are a handful of agencies that pay much quicker than 30+ days, many of them do not.

Seems bogus doesn’t it? Well, there’s a good reason why agencies take so long to pay and that’s what we’ll be covering today.


First, let’s start with some terminology. The word “net” is often used in Brand Ambassador contracts and this means “total after all discounts.” It is a form of trade credit that agencies use to inform Brand Ambassadors how long their payment will take to reach them. For example, if you see “Net-30” on your contract, that means the agency will pay you within 30 business days days. “Net-45” means you will be paid within 45 business days. And so on.

The reason why it takes so long for you to get your check is because agencies are the middle man between you and the client.

It takes time for the client to pay the agency, which is why it takes time for the agency to pay you.

It’s rare for a client to pay an agency in advance and if they do it’s only to cover the start up costs of a large program. Most agencies invoice the client after an event and receive payment from a client 30-60 business days after submission.

Because the agency has to wait, so do you.

It’s not like agencies want to make you wait. If it were up to them, they would love to pay you quicker than Net-30+ but unfortunately that’s just the standard turnaround time in this industry.

Event Marketing has many moving parts and there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that most people are not aware of. Here is the process that usually happens between an event taking place and you receiving your check:

  1. You worked an event. Woohoo!
  2. Time sheets are taken in
  3. Hours are accounted for and given to payroll
  4. Payroll bills the client for worked hours
  5. Hours must be approved by the client
  6. If there are discrepancies, then those must be dealt with before the agency is paid
  7. Client mails a check to the agency upon approval of hours
  8. Agency deposits the check and processes all Brand Ambassador checks
  9. Agency mails your check to you

Now this is not the case for every single agency, but this is generally the process. It all has to go through the accounting departments of both parties one way or another before you get your money.

A common question I get from Brand Ambassadors is “why can’t I be paid weekly or bi-weekly like a normal job?” The simple answer is because you’re not an employee. Employees are granted different pay terms and benefits than an Independent Contractor would get.

As a Brand Ambassador, you are considered an Independent Contractor and are only paid when you provide a service and according to the terms of the contract that you entered.

If you are thinking about becoming a Brand Ambassador, you must take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of being an Independent Contractor. While being a Brand Ambassador is an incredibly fun, flexible, and lucrative job, it does not come without its challenges and having to wait a little longer than usual for your check is one of them.

If you decide that you do want to be in this industry and you want to avoid any drama or miscommunication with an agency over payment terms, my advice to you is simple:

  • Carefully review the job description for payment terms
  • Carefully review the contract before you sign it
  • Ask Program Managers any questions you may have before accepting any contracted work

If you willingly accept the contracted work, then it’s your responsibility to abide by any payment terms that you sign for.

Having worked for an experiential marketing agency, I have to admit that it’s really frustrating when Brand Ambassadors get upset over how long their payment takes after they themselves signed and agreed to the payment terms. This is just bad business practice and agencies will not want to work with you if you do not respect your contracts. If both parties abide by the contracts, then everyone should be happy!

If the payment has not shown up after the agreed upon net terms, please refer to the article “3 Reasons Why an Agency Isn’t Paying You and What You Can Do About It” for further information.


Now you know why agencies take so long to pay you your check!  As long as you stay organized and budget accordingly, the flexibility, the fun, and the pay rate are so worth the wait. If you know someone who could benefit from this article, please share it with them.

When’s the fastest you’ve ever been paid? When’s the slowest? Share your experience in the comments below.