Why You Should Be Using Retainers In Your Freelance Business


Brief. Retainers are awesome, and here’s why:

Guaranteed work

Guaranteed income

Schedule flexibility

Lasting client relationships

Predict your income and workload month after month while working with great clients? Yes, please!

I started using retainers in my freelance business about a year into it… And, to be honest, I wish I’d done it sooner!

My business has become so much more enjoyable thanks to retainers. I was able to work with high-quality clients at lower prices, and I finally had the time to create my own freelance website, start a blog, and complete all of the tasks necessary to establish a self-sustaining business. No more staying up until 2 a.m. pitching! Clients were actually coming to me.

My clients began to consider me an expert and a professional after I implemented a retainer model into my business. I sold them on the value of working with me on a long-term basis by offering them custom monthly packages tailored to their needs. It was a win-win situation for both of us.

Friends, if you’re not sure if retainers will work for your freelance business, read on. I’ll discuss some of the benefits of using a retainer model, as well as the types of freelancers who can benefit from it. Let’s get started.

What’s a retainer?

When a client signs a retainer agreement, they agree to pay a set amount each month.

This could be for a specific number of hours or a set of deliverables.

For example, 10 hours per month at $80 per hour equals $800 per month OR 3 blog posts plus a social media promo image equals $800 per month.

What kind of freelancers can offer retainers?

The good news is that most freelancers can benefit from retainers. Offer retainers to anyone who provides ongoing services or has clients who request repeatable work.

Retainers are ideal for:

  • Writers
  • Marketers
  • SEO specialists
  • Social media managers or content creators
  • Web designers
  • Facebook Ads Experts
  • Digital strategists
  • Graphic designers
  • Virtual assistants (VAs)

The benefits of retainers for freelancers

Steady, predictable income

One of the most significant disadvantages of freelancing is the lack of a consistent monthly income. So many freelancers are riding the revenue roller coaster. You have a lot of tasks and paycheques coming in one month, but not the next.

This happens on a regular basis. You don’t have time to promote yourself or pitch new clients while you’re swamped with projects and client work. Then you have a slow month, so you increase your marketing efforts till your schedule is full. Then you cease to promote yourself… It’s a never-ending cycle.

But it doesn’t have to be the case.

When you work with retainer clients, you can count on a steady and predictable income without having to go out and find, pitch, and sell to anyone.

I knew how much money I should anticipate making every month when I converted most of my clients’ relationships to retainers. Plus, I could predict if I’d have a slow month ahead of time and work to quickly replace it with new clients or work.

It’s almost as if you had a consistent paycheck that you could count on… However, there will be no cubicle, commute, or coworkers.

#1 High-quality clients

When a client agrees to a retainer, they’re probably aware of the long-term benefits of working with you. They aren’t looking for the cheapest work; rather, they’re looking for a freelancer who can regularly contribute to their team. They’re looking for an expert and are willing to pay for it. This is exactly the type of client you want to collaborate with!

You’ll be able to weed out the cheapo clients once you start dealing with retainer clients. Your retainer income will steadily increase to the point where you’ll be able to say goodbye to those low-paying one-offs! And let me tell you, it feels great to be able to say no to projects that aren’t a good fit for me or that don’t pay well enough.

#2 Long-term client relationships

Retainers, as I previously stated, are all about the long-term benefit. This applies to both you and your client.

A successful freelancer’s bread and butter is long-term client connections. Repeat customers keep your freelance business afloat and provide a consistent income stream. Also, repeat customers are more likely to refer others and become advocates for you.

Retainer clients are – hands down – the ultimate repeat customers!

Besides, working with a retainer client is more convenient. You learn about their business and their culture. Every time you pitch, sell, negotiate, or onboard a client, it gets easier. Projects are more efficient.

The more time you spend working with them, the more valuable you become.

#3 Predictable (but flexible) schedule

Having retainer clients means you know exactly how much work you’ll be completing each month. You can set your own schedule and plan ahead of time with a predictable task.

You can edit your schedule to fit your demands with retainer clients. You could easily write all four articles in the first week or two of the month and take the rest of the month off if you have a retainer for publishing a blog post every week but want to go on vacation. (Just be sure to communicate your thoughts to your client!)

#4 Less time chasing new leads

Making time for your own business is another huge benefit of having a consistent schedule. You can plan out your own marketing and business operations when you’re not continuously chasing down new leads or conducting super-quick turnaround gigs for new clients.

Retainers = steady & guaranteed work = less pitching

I finally had enough control over my schedule when I switched to retainers to focus on my business. I created a website, launched a blog, participated in Facebook groups and social media, and started growing my email list.

Clients began approaching me for the first time! Ideal clients were flocking to me, and they were more than willing to pay my retainer prices. I didn’t have to waste time scouring job boards or looking for clients to pitch.

Time to create other income streams

With more control over your schedule, you’re now able to devote time to creating content. Alternatively, you may build a digital product such as an ebook or an online course; or, diversify income streams for yourself. Your business opportunities will start to grow dramatically, and you’ll no longer feel like you’re continually scurrying, and you’ll be able to breathe again.

Free up time in your business to focus on other tasks, such as marketing or developing scalable income streams.

If you can get a few retainer clients for your freelance business, you’ll have more control over your time and revenue, giving you the freedom to make business-growth decisions.

What questions or experiences do you have with freelancer retainers?

Please leave a comment or DM me on Instagram.

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Hey there!

I’m Imad, the content creator and online marketing strategist behind The Guemmah Freelance Hub. My mission is to help more freelancers grow themselves, their business, and their profits.

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