Re: Retainer Contracting

Subject: Re: Retainer Contracting
From: dmbrown -at- brown-inc -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 17 May 2003 19:41:00 -0700

Carol Gilbert wrote:
> I am very concerned about being taken advantage [of]. I can
> easily see how they could just keep throwing stuff at me.

You're not trying to prevent them from throwing work at you--a retainer is just supposed to ensure that you'll be available to work on their projects when they need you. It doesn't even mean you can't work for other clients while you're on retainer.

For you, it's like a minimum payment; for them, it buys "first dibs" on your time. If you get the terms right, it can be a pretty good deal for you and the client.

I'd try to craft the agreement with the following points (among others, no doubt):

* An hourly rate at which you'll be paid for any work done--
let's say it's $60 per hour.

* The freqency with which that rate can be renegotiated--say
every 6 months.

* The amount you'll be paid for weeks when you do *no* work
for them--say $480 (one day's pay at that $60 hourly rate).

This way, you'll always be paid $480 a week, even if you do no work for them. When you *do* work for them, you get the hourly rate you want.

When they call, though, you'll probably have to drop what you're doing and take their project...even if you're in the middle of a project for a different client.

The fact that you have to get your other clients to agree to this is why you get paid a retainer by this client: you're probably going to lose some clients who don't want to risk losing you (even temporarily) at a critical juncture. The retainer, which you'll receive even when you're working for a different client, helps defray the cost of that lost business.

If you're lucky, your retainer agreement will include a process for negotiating the inevitable scheduling conflicts.

Of course, I'm assuming that you have (or intend to have) other clients. If you don't, then there's no potential for conflict; but I wouldn't tell this client--they'll probably realize there's no point in paying you a retainer.



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Retainer Contracting: From: Carol Gilbert

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