Here are 5 good guidelines for structuring your retainers in a way that makes them be seen as highly desirable by all involved:
Avoid the Discount Trap: Clients that pay monthly will be focused on monthly savings, and will not be too happy with a 10% discount on a $1000 retainer, but for you, the same deal equals $1200 less annually – akin to working over a month for free.
Regular Check-Ins: Implement bi-weekly calls to stay aligned, and then drive the client to focus on their hairiest, most pressing problem at the moment.
Value, Not Volume: A retainer’s value isn’t in the hours worked, but in the advantage you provide. Price it as a premium, ongoing service that supports making faster decisions with less stress.
Quiet Months are Strategic: the less immediate problems present themselves, the more strategic topics you can go to. If peace-of-mind-horizon gets larger and it takes them longer to think of a problem you can attack together, that’s a good indicator you did your job well in the past. Feel free to keep billing for that, as that’s the deal.
Impact Pricing: Base your price on the average value they understand you provide in 3 months on average, let’s say about 10% of that in most industries.
Expert’s retainers are far more than just “bulk orders” and should be as delicately balanced as partnerships for both sides to regard them as goldmines in the long term.