Working on retainer is a popular way of setting consulting fees. When you’re working on retainer, you’re dealing with a contract that requires your client to pay you a flat rate for a certain amount of time. In turn, you keep that amount of time available for the client, so that they don’t have to worry about you being unavailable for projects.
Some people set their retainers by the hour or day. Others work with retainers that promise certain deliverables. For example, a freelance writer might be paid a retainer of $1,000 per month, in exchange for writing four articles — with additional articles available at $250 per month.
With a retainer, the client has the comfort of knowing that the consultant or freelancer will prioritize their work. There’s a promise that the consultant or freelancer will be available for a specific amount of time on a regular basis.
Retainers usually involve a bit of a discount and prepayment. This gives the client a better rate — but also helps the consultant with managing feast or famine cycles of cash flow.
Do you work on retainer?