PSU Insight

Marketing and Promotion

What's So Important About Spin-Off Engagements?

Bureaus who charge you a percentage of your standard fee also typically expect you to pay them a percentage of future engagements which you receive as a result of this program. These are called “spin-off engagements”.

There are two sides to the issue. Bureaus correctly feel that you wouldn’t be doing the follow-up programs if they hadn’t gotten you started with the initial engagement. On the other hand, speakers sometimes feel that the bureau is asking them to pay twice (or more) for work that the bureau performed once.

There’s merit to both sides of the argument. To avoid hard feelings, it is vital that both you and the bureau understand and agree in advance to a mutually acceptable policy on “spin off” business.

  • Do you pay the bureau the same percentage for spin-offs that you paid for the initial engagement?

  • Do you pay the bureau for ‘second-level’ spin-off business (engagements that you receive as a result of spin-offs from the initial engagement)?

  • What about ‘third-level’ spin-offs? Fourth level?

  • How long are you obligated to pay any level of spin-off commissions?

There are no "right or wrong" answers to these questions, and different bureaus have different policies. But to avoid any possible misunderstandings (or possibly even legal action), you need answers to these questions before you commit to an engagement.