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Business How to Run a Web Design Business Client Services Fostering Repeat Business

Esther Fuldauer
Esther Fuldauer
12,720 Points

Retainer agreement proposal

Hi,

My client wants me to work for them on a long-term basis. For them it is more confortable to pay me monthly for all the work they need, which includes, website redesign, newsletter, illustration, graphic design, and blog maintenance. They want to pay it is a part time employment, and they believe it is going to cost them less. Most of the heavy work would be at the beginning of the contract, later on will be maintenance, perhaps some website revisions. So for me to make this deal work I need to pin them down and obligue them to a fixed number of months. My idea is to calculate a budget and divided it into monthly installments. I don't know if I'll be able to negotiate the deal. I'm afraid they will negotiate me down no matter what. Any ideas, tips or links you could point me to? Is this a good deal or am I heading into trouble?

5 Answers

Jonathan Fernandes
PLUS
Jonathan Fernandes
Courses Plus Student 22,784 Points

This sounds like it could honestly be a good deal.

The biggest red flag for me is to make sure they don't take advantage of you, because companies that sometimes try this approach are trying to get more out of you then they are willing to pay. In other words, you agree to work for them and do project A, B, and C, only to have them tell you in a month that they won't pay you unless you also do D, E, and F.

Some of my main thoughts are this, your idea to have them pay in monthly installments is a great idea but just make sure you outline with them what the scope of what those monthly installments would be paying for.

In other words, make it clear that "If they pay X amount for Y months, you are paying for me to do Z. Anything else is extra and will be billed as such." This way you protect yourself in your agreement with them if they try to take advantage of you. Figure out a budget that is fair and pitch it to them. Also, do your research. What are competitors charging for a similar project? That way if they try to low-ball you (which I am almost certain they will), you can confidently stand your ground. Something like "Hey, I have done the research. This price is reasonable and my work is quality as well." Start at a higher number and let them work you down to what is fair and stand your ground.

Not sure if that helps but that at least is what stuck out to me of what to consider.

Esther Fuldauer
Esther Fuldauer
12,720 Points

Thank you Jonathan! Definitely. I need to scope this very well. Being a startup they need "everything" and they want to pack the whole thing in a single deal. I need to be able to say, we have only 20 hours a week and I've already reached them. When this includes a website redesign and 2 newsletters, plus illustrations for their brand, it looks hard to deliver anything in a timely fashion. I can just see myself failing on the due dates. I will start on the minimum requirements and prioritize, narrow as much as possible, see if I can work it from there.

Jonathan Fernandes
PLUS
Jonathan Fernandes
Courses Plus Student 22,784 Points

I know that feeling of overwhelming deadlines but you seem like you know what your doing. Focusing on the minimum requirements is the way to go.

I just did a website for a doctor who was launching a new facility overseas. He wanted a website with 10 different web pages and interactivity to all of it and his timeline to have his website launched was within week and a half. He wasn't my only client so of course that was crazy. So once I talked to him more, we boiled it down to 4 webpages that had to be done to launch it. We just launched a one-page website that has all those four pieces and I am going to add everything else over the next 2-3 months. Of course, every project is different but this is just one way to kind of "manage" large projects.

All that said, best of luck on this project! You seem to have a great handle on what your doing so I am sure you will do fine!

Tyler _
Tyler _
6,651 Points

Hi, for the Doctor project, do you have a standard Word document template you use to have them sign as an agreement for jobs like this with the specific expectations?

do you know where I can see a sample?

thanks!

Jonathan Fernandes
Jonathan Fernandes
Courses Plus Student 22,784 Points

Hey Tyler,

Yeah, I got a friend who is a lawyer to draft up some basic points to put in there and I just tweak it for each project I do.

I can't seem to find on of the samples I have so give me a day and I can post it when I get home (I have on my home computer for sure).

Tyler _
Tyler _
6,651 Points

sounds perfect! I'd love to see an example! thanks

Jonathan Fernandes
Jonathan Fernandes
Courses Plus Student 22,784 Points

[Letterhead]

                                                        [date]

[Client name] [Address] [Address]

RE: Retention of Services

Dear [Client name]:

This letter is our agreement prepared in regard to:

[project name]

as well as any additional matters brought to this company, unless otherwise specified in a separate engagement letter.

The fees currently charged by this company for [type of project] is a flat fee of $750 (exclusive of domain and hosting costs). Rate changes may occur in the future after notice. Bills are generated monthly and are payable upon receipt. The client is fully responsible for and agrees to pay the costs associated with the project. Invoices for such items will either be sent directly to the client for payment, or will be billed directly to the client.

Costs include, but are not limited to, [any other costs that might arise].

A late payment charge of 1-1/2% per month (i.e., 18% per annum) is added to balances not paid within 30 days of the statement date.

[This section I reserve to explain whether they pay up front, a certain amount (such as a retainer), or upon completion]

Clients are encouraged to discuss any questions they have about statements rendered to them with the [business name]'s Bookkeeping Department or the account executive who is familiar with their account.

We look forward to what we hope will develop into a long and rewarding professional relationship with you. If the above outlined terms are acceptable, please sign where indicated below and return this letter with your initial retainer(if applicable) within ten days. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

                                                                     [business name]

______________________________ By:____________________________ By: [Client name]

SSN:__________________________

(Null and Void without signature)

Date:__________________________

Jonathan Fernandes
Jonathan Fernandes
Courses Plus Student 22,784 Points

The formatting came out a bit funny but should kind of give you an idea of what one could look like.

Now keep in mind I am a small business with like 4 people and this is what we came up with so feel free to tweak it and change it to suit your needs if you want, or let it be inspiration to create something better.

Let me know what you think!

Tyler _
Tyler _
6,651 Points

thanks! looks like a good rough template!