Re: Help: Retainer/PS-STC

Subject: Re: Help: Retainer/PS-STC
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 10:13:29 -0800

DURL wrote:
> Anybody out there willing to share a bit of info regarding
> retainer agreements with clients?

Retainers tend to keep your clients honest. However, there are some
clients who simply won't cooperate on that front.

A retainer up front does several things. (1) It establishes at least a
minimum value for your professional efforts to create a proposal and
initial documents like an outline and schedule. (2) It gives you
assurance for getting paid for at least some of your efforts, even if
the client changes his/her mind about what the project should include.
(3) Because the client has bought into the project with a retainer, the
client is more likely to negotiate with you about changes in scope,
direction, end-product, etc. In short, the client is not as likely to
shift direction suddenly without taking your part of things into

Some clients have problems approaching a business deal this way, because
they're used to paying someone by the hour, on a 30-day (or more)
payables basis. That can be a problem, and you might approach it by
saying that you'll do a first project on an hourly basis, so they can
confirm your reliability, but that subsequent projects will be on a
retainer-plus-milestone basis, covered of course by weekly status
reports/time sheets showing what you've done to earn the money.

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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