How To Sell A Retainer Without Breaking A Sweat
I saw this trainwreck of a title on Reddit’s freelance section today:
And here I am to tell you how to sell a retainer.
It’s Better For The Client Than You
First of all, if you go into the negotiation with the idea that you’re getting more money and thus the better deal, you need to reframe that.
Many freelancers fail to understand that your client is not your boss.
“Please pay me regularly sir for the regular work I do for you.”
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If you are a freelancer because you like the idea of begging some dude who gives you no employment benefits for money you’ve already earned, then fair enough.
But this isn’t the site for you.
On this site, we always remember that the client is not your boss. You are.
A retainer is where you get paid monthly and you provide an agreed amount of work. If the client doesn’t need the work that month, you’re still paid. It’s basically an, “I’m available to do our agreed work if you need me to.”
This is better for them than it is for you.
Because You Are Your Own Business
You are not an employee of the company you’re working for. You are not beholden to a client for anything unless you have agreed to do it.
And you act in the best interest of your business.
If a better deal comes along, you take it. It’s best for business, after all.
And if people are willing to pay you tomorrow while you wait for that first guy to decide whether he needs you… then you must go with the people who pay. It’s best for business.
And if your skills are so in demand that a waitlist of people want to work with you, well then, that’s great for business too.
These things will happen if you read the archives, learn some skills and handle your freelance work like a business. It’s inevitable.
And when that’s the case, who really benefits from having you on retainer?
When you have knowledge, skills and experience that they can’t get elsewhere…
When you have more work to do than hours in the day…
And when you have a growing waiting list of people that want to work with you already?
You’ll have plenty of people trying to get your attention. From the guys looking for freebies through to the people asking to hire you as an employee and people who seem to have no ceiling to their budget whatsoever…
And for a fixed, agreed-upon sum you’re willing to guarantee your client gets jumped to the front of the line and has guaranteed time where you’ll concentrate on their needs and their needs only.
This is supposed to be a deal for you?
Have Some Self-Respect
Your client is not your boss.
They aren’t paying for you when you’re sick. They don’t send you a basket of meat at Christmas and for the most part, they’re not going to ask how your wife is doing.
You on the other hand; you’re helping their business out. You have skills and knowledge. They can’t do it themselves, and they don’t want the hassle of hiring employees or learning themselves. This is the truth of the matter, no matter how many people want to make excuses and cut it differently.
And the fact is, there aren’t any businesses out there who don’t want a highly skilled worker without the hassle of being an employer.
So you’re in demand. You will always be in demand and as your skills increase and knowledge of your skills spreads, you will be in more demand.
You can move forward with better and brighter opportunities. You might get booked up for the next two months if one particular thing takes off.
And so to guarantee that you’ll be there to help their business out even though the future is uncertain and you’re expanding rapidly, all you ask is that they confirm they’ll pay you a guarantee to bookmark their place in your diary – a payment they’d have to make anyway when they hired you.
That sounds like a great deal to me, personally.