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Taking Care of Business
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Old August 4th, 2006, 05:27 PM   #1
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Retainers- Any advice

Hello all,


i have been offered a Retainer agreement by a company that wishes to use me for Video,Editing,Graphics,DVD's etc.. to create Training video and materials, marketing and promotional video etc.. Just wondering if anyone here has any experience and advice on doing this.. From what i have read it appears that you can agree to a price weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, and you will provide them access to your services for a certain amount of hours..You will get paid for this minimum amount of hours (lets say 10 hours for example at $25 per hour X 1 week= $250 per week) if you work more than the minimum hours you can then charge per hour for the additional time worked.
And if you do not work at all you will still get the $250 weekly retainer..

This is the way I see the retainer working?? Correct?
Does anyone have any advice, or pitfalls, personal experiences with this ??

Thanks,
Mike Moncrief
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Old August 4th, 2006, 09:28 PM   #2
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Get professional legal advice to be sure. My take is:

the meaning/intent/purpose of a retainer is what the word implies, i.e. your services are "retained" for "future use" by the one who pays you. I've always understood it to mean that by accepting a retainer, the professional, i.e. you, has agreed to provide services at some future time, (and perhaps on a continuing basis), and the amount of the retainer would be applied to the amount you would eventually/ultimately bill to the client. I've always thought it was a form of pre-payment for services you agree to provide if/when your client desires your services.

In simple terms, I think a retainer is simply a way for a client to pre-pay for services that a professional has agreed (and COMMITTED) to provide at some future time.

I certainly would NOT expect to receive a fixed amount once per time period, e.g. week/month/whatever without actually providing the services. Think of it more as a way for the client to guarantee that they have hired you and your services, and that you cannot deny them those services under pain of legal redress (not to mention the bad PR and word-of-mouth rep you could end up suffering from)

I believe if you take a retainer from a client, you're making a strong commitment to provide them service, perhaps even above and beyond all other clients. While it may seem like a windfall at first, consider the implications of maybe always...and I mean ALWAYS...having to put that client first, addressing their needs before all other clients. Example: might you have to pass on a $ 2,000 job because of a $ 250 commitment to this client? I'd recommend making absolutely sure you know exactly what the client expects, particularly with regard to turnaround time, deadlines, and many other details, If you can get all that ironed out - and in writing, and expectations are well understood/agreed to by each party, you could have a great and profitable long-term relationship with a steady client.

But, as always, consult a professional legal advisor.

Good luck, and please report back with any new-found knowledge.
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Old August 7th, 2006, 08:19 AM   #3
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Hello,

Thanks for the input.. I have done a lot of research on Retainers over this weekend..
one point you made:
"I certainly would NOT expect to receive a fixed amount once per time period, e.g. week/month/whatever without actually providing the services"

everything i have read, says that if the client does not use your service during any period of the retainer period, they still are obligated to pay the retainer $$..They are paying to have access to your service and time, you are in effect on call.. if they choose not to call you, it does not mean they do not have to pay..

Thanks again,
Mike Moncrief
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Old August 7th, 2006, 03:11 PM   #4
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Wow...a better deal that I thought

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Moncrief
Hello,

"...if the client does not use your service during any period of the retainer period, they still are obligated to pay the retainer $$..They are paying to have access to your service and time, you are in effect on call.. if they choose not to call you, it does not mean they do not have to pay..
Now THAT's a revelation to me! Seems like it could be a good deal, providing potentially-steady income. (An enviable situtation to be in, particularly in this business).

Good luck. I hope it works out. Whatever happens, please share what you learn from the experience - good or bad.
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