A new agent from a very respectable agency offered me rep last week. Like you suggested, I asked for the author/agency agreement and went through it. There's one thing that you suggest is essential in the agreement but is missing from mine: "Time frame in which the agency must remit funds." I know you said that the author should ask to have this put in, but the head of the agency is a member of AAR, and she also acts as a mentor to the new agent who offered. Should I still be insistent on adding this?Yes.
AAR membership does not have the same force as a contract. It's good the agent is a member, but it's not the same as having this spelled out in a contract.
Our author/agency agreement specifies we remit funds no later than five days after the funds clear the bank. This is an absolutely normal clause in an agreement.
A contract sets out what to expect (or not) in terms of agency performance. Adding this clause does not mean you think they're going to stiff you, or be lax with your payments. Not at all. It simply sets out that they don't have to remit the check instantly but they also can't sit on it till the end of the month for convenience sake. (Some publishers "run checks" once a month which really plays merry hell with advance payments.)
Asking that this be included in the agreement is not a sign you'll be a troublesome client. Quite the contrary. It's a sign you pay attention to detail.
If the agent pushes back on this, watch for how they say it. If it's akin to "how dare you" that's a problem. If it's "our bookkeeper only comes in twice a month" then you simply adjust the time frame.