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Contracts... (working on retainer) ?

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Hey Guys,

 

I have been a freelancer for the last 3 years and work has been great. But honestly I still get tired of the invoices and keeping track and waiting for payment. I usually have a net 30 with most of my clients... basically what i wanna know are any of you guys on a retainer with any of your clients... I have steady work but would love to write up or find a contract that basically i can edit to fit my needs... i would like to have checks coming in at the end of every month appose to waiting the net 30 from 3 different clients... that would come at anytime during the month... my question is...who works on retainer and if you have a contract or cant point me in a good direction to find one let me know...thanks guys... oh and I also thought of including some sort of break or "Free" segment/animation that would entice my clients to agree apon this... if anyone does this or is more knowledgeable please do tell.... thanks in advance!

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Guest Sao_Bento
Hey Guys,

 

I have been a freelancer for the last 3 years and work has been great. But honestly I still get tired of the invoices and keeping track and waiting for payment. I usually have a net 30 with most of my clients... basically what i wanna know are any of you guys on a retainer with any of your clients... I have steady work but would love to write up or find a contract that basically i can edit to fit my needs... i would like to have checks coming in at the end of every month appose to waiting the net 30 from 3 different clients... that would come at anytime during the month... my question is...who works on retainer and if you have a contract or cant point me in a good direction to find one let me know...thanks guys... oh and I also thought of including some sort of break or "Free" segment/animation that would entice my clients to agree apon this... if anyone does this or is more knowledgeable please do tell.... thanks in advance!

Since you asked me to respond in the other thread - I've never really heard of anyone working like this (in motion graphics). Sounds nice, but I doubt that it's in tune with clients expectations. Maybe you can be the first to offer a "subscription" service. Generally speaking, I think the way most people deal with the in-frequency of paydays when freelancing is to build up some savings that can act as a pad during those times, or when there just isn't any work. That's a constant for many businesses - they would like to have a steady income (a restaurant, for instance), but it's something that is beyond their control, so they have to plan for a rainy day. Maybe someone else will have a better answer.

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Wouldn't a "subscription service" just be payroll? I don't think this would be good unless you have only 1 major client, because at that point, whenever something needs to be done, all else needs to be dropped to accommodate for that one client's needs, alienating everyone else. The industry has made it's own standard process and all clients generally have the same expectations when it comes to topics like this. I think its best just to avoid rocking the boat.

 

If there is some type of workload feud or late payments that this idea is supposed to compensate, then its a different scenario altogether. If this is the case, just have a talk and work something out with them on paper. (late fees, rush fees, etc)

 

P.S.: Don't do anything for free.

 

Just my two cents.

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I worked on retainer with "a major cable network that shows cartoons" several years ago for about a month or so. It was a one time thing; they were under the gun launching a new look and just wanted me available to take whatever they had without any fuss. It worked out great; it was definitely nice to have predictable income, even if it was just for 30-40 days. I was lucky in that they were more concerned with getting the work done than saving a buck, so everyone walked away happy.

 

I haven't done that again since then but I like the idea. Unfortunately I think the planets have to line up for this to work for both parties. I've thought of offering this type of thing up to some of my consistent clients, but I always come back to the fact that unless they're going to save money, why would they bother? If I'm going to make less money, why would I bother? I suppose the security thing could be one reason to take less money, but finding the right balance for everyone seems like a tall order.

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I'd have to agree with most of the sentiments here. The only time a "retainer" payment has worked for me in the past was when I only had one major client, and there was a lot of back-and-forth work happening. They'd usually make a payment, I'd work up to that point and when I was getting close to the limit, I'd let them know and they'd make the next payment.

 

It took a couple of 4 hour road trips (round trip) to get that relationship started, but after that it was good to go.

Edited by RAZ

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I have two clients on retainer. one is for 3 days a week...the other for 2 days a week.

One contract is open ended, the other for 12 months.

Retainer 1 is whatever I can get done Mon-Wed. Retainer 2 is whatever I can get done Thur-Fri.

 

All my other clients are on a per project basis as time allows.

 

I bill my retainers bi-monthly with a 100% net 30 payment schedule.

All other work is billed 30 or 50% in advance with the balance due on delivery.

 

You may want to spend a thousand bucks and get an attorney to write up some broad scope contracts that you can fill in some blanks.

Edited by mamurphy

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I had a retainer agreement with a company that wanted to hire me F/T but were willing to lock down whatever I was willing to give them.

 

In this case, it was a flexible schedule of about 2.5 weeks a month. It worked out really well, I would schedule them in, and then schedule everything else around it. It hurt a few times when I had to turn down either more interesting work, or better paying work due to the retainer agreement, but overall it worked very well for me for about 3 years. I ended it last year, but I would definitely do it again with the right studio.

 

It's great to be able to count on a certain amount coming in every month, and since I was so busy I became a little pickier about the work I would take in the interim, which ended up making me a lot more in the long run than if I was always worried about making my months and just taking work to fill my schedule.

 

-Chris

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