What is a retainer model?

Project management terminology

What is a retainer model?

A retainer is a pricing model based on the agreement that a client retains ongoing services from you. It’s different from other pricing models in a way that the customer agrees to pay in advance during a set period of time for professional work to be negotiated later. 

In contrast to one-off traditional fixed price projects, retainers guarantee constant cash flow. For consultants, a retainer would mean that they have a dedicated chunk of time to spend on the work planned for each client every month. For a client, it would mean they have experts to refer to at any point they are in need of particular services.

Retainer agreements are becoming more popular as service industries seek more income stability and want to improve relationships with their clients. Among all pricing models, this is a wise choice for consultancies too, given the benefits retainer agreements bring to the company in contrast to one-off, fixed-price projects.


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