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Retainer Fees/ Regular work

Got a bit of a dilemma, it’s a nice dilemma to have but all the same could do with some advice.

One of the clients I work for has offered me a full time position and whilst I’ve no desire to take him up on as I’m happy as my own boss, he has asked for me to give him some options for working together long term.

At the moment we are working on the basis that he books out two days of my time a week and I do what I can for him in that timeframe.

I get the feeling he doesn’t want to be tied down to 2 specific days a week and urgent amends keep coming outside of that window anyway. Charging per project isn’t really an option as the work I am doing often has several rounds of unexpected amendments and legal too and fro’ing that make quoting projects accurately pretty impossible.

Just wondering if anyone has any experience of charging a retainer fees and the pros and cons involved, or any other payment and work terms that you use outside of hourly or day rates.

I was thinking an option could be to charge £X amount for X amount of hours spread over a month and then charge hourly rates for anything over the allotted time. Just trying to work it so the client knows roughly what they are going to be charged and I can still be flexible for my other clients. Any thoughts?


Active Member
Here is part of our retainer proposal to help you out

D • Retainer Proposal

1. The Company exclusively appoint the Contractor as its creative agency effective from 1st XXXXX 2008 for a period of 12 months with a rolling 3-month thereafter if neither party formally terminates.

2. A monthly retainer of XXXX plus VAT per calendar month for creative and management time to be used and allocated on appropriate and requested services. This is payable monthly in advance for which a credit of XXXX man-hours per calendar month will be allocated to your account.

3. At the end of each calendar month reconciliation will detail hours used from the credit. Any additional hours over and beyond the XXX hour credit will be billed at a rate of XXXX per hour. Any unused from the credit will be carried forward. Additional man-hours will be payable on a net 30 basic unless agreement is met.

4. Any balance of unused hours carried forward would normally expire at the end of the agreement; however goodwill extension and agreement between parties shall exist.

5. Parties will carry out a mid term review (6 months) of retainer arrangement and may by mutual agreement, seek variation to best suit client needs.

6. The following items are not covered by the monthly fee:
a. Photography - if purchased or commissioned
b. External services – couriers etc
c. Printing

7. Prior to commencement of work, if requested we will endeavour to give you a man-hour estimate on requested work. We will also keep you informed of man hours accrued and provide detailed job bag time breakdown on all work undertaking


Title of work carried out will be automatically assigned by the Contractor to the Company on clearance of final payment for work carried out.