Twenty years ago commercials were the gold standard for child actors. There were fewer actors, so a child with commercial appeal had a good chance of booking a national with substantial residuals. Since the commercial actor strike in 2000, the commercial world changed. More commercials are now non-union, which rules out union actors. NU commercials are more likely to be buy-outs which eliminates residuals.
Young actors who aren’t yet union and can book commercials, can build up both experience and a bank account, even with lower paying buy-outs. It’s not as lucrative as just one national with residuals, but in a small market with commercial opportunities, it provides chances to work. If you are debating whether to go union or wait, talk it over with your child’s agent or manager when making the decision.
If pursuing commercials, don’t get scammed.