1. Advantages of a Retainer Contract
2. Implementing Retainer Contracts
3. Dealing With Negative Perceptions of Retainer Agreements
4. Why You Should Use Consulting Retainers
5. Pay for Work

Retainer contracts are written agreements that exist between an organization and an independent contractor or consultant. Typically, work is paid for after the completion of a project. However, when a retainer is in place, a company pays the contractor before the work goes ahead. This is beneficial for organizations, as it allows them to work with a specific consultant or freelancer for a longer period of time.

Advantages of a Retainer Contract

  • Retainer contracts are also beneficial for individual contractors, as it means they receive payment prior to starting the work. This makes it easier to allocate time and finances for the duration of that project.
  • A retainer contract is guaranteed pay, which is something that consultants and freelancers should strive to achieve.
  • Well-planned retainer agreements with important clients will enable you, as a freelancer or consultant, to organize your work.
  • Retainers also reduce the uncertainties surrounding income and will allow you to work with other clients as you fit.
  • Signing a retainer contract is highly beneficial, and you can begin by working with your current clients. Select clients that you like and clients with businesses that have remained stable.
  • A retainer is an important step on the road to financial freedom.
  • Your overall aim should be to work with a client for a stable income and, in turn,                      provide security for your client.

Implementing Retainer Contracts

It is worth taking the time to think about the impact a retainer would have on your client and how it could resolve their issues. For example, if you proposed a strong project but your client wasn't certain how to put it into action, a retainer could work well. Having a retainer in place would allow you to continue working on the project. For your client, it could also reduce the stress associated with the project.

When you suggest a retainer agreement, offer it as a practical answer to a problem or need. It is best to suggest that, for a fixed price, you will work on the project for one month. As the project develops, your customer will realize the importance of a longer-term collaboration. As a result, they are likely to draw out the retainer over a longer period of time.

Dealing With Negative Perceptions of Retainer Agreements

Prior to proposing a retainer agreement to clients, remember that they may have had a negative experience with them in the past. Your customers may have experienced negative working relationships with contractors — for example, contractors who did not fulfill the terms of the agreement.

Therefore, you should only embark on long-term projects with customers you have collaborated with in the past. This makes it easier for the client to trust your capabilities, honesty, and work ethic. As a result, there is a higher chance they will agree to a retainer contract with you.

Why You Should Use Consulting Retainers

If you want to establish a stable income, consulting retainers are one of the best ways to do it. Retainers involve monthly payments on a long-term basis. This can continue for months or sometimes years, as long as you provide significant value to your customers and establish strong partnerships with them.

Having consulting retainers in place is an effective way to establish consistent earnings. Also, when you win other projects, you still have the security of the repeated income from the consulting retainer.

Pay for Work

  • Many contractors associate retainers with the concept of Pay for Work. This is because Pay for Work involves regular, recurring payments from customers.
  • Pay for Work refers to a situation where you work for a client on an ongoing basis and receive payment for that work.
  • You could be earning $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 each month, but regardless of the amount, you are paid only for the work you do. That is why this concept is referred to as Pay for Work.
  • Pay for Work means that you are paid solely for the work you do. Regardless of whether you spend a couple of hours a month or one day a week working for a customer, that is what you'll be paid for.

If you need help with retainer contracts, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.