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One of the best tools in a freelancer's career is a freelance retainer contract template. It's crucial for a freelancer to ask for a retainer, especially from any of the new clients whose payment history he doesn't know well. Although the retainer is good and worth asking for to offer you some guarantees, you need a contract in place to state how and when the client will pay you for services rendered. A first time freelancer might not know what to do in such situations; hence, the need for the contract template as a tool from which you can learn.

A freelance retainer agreement is a contract that shows you have been hired to do some work. It falls right in the middle of full-time employment and a one-off contract. The distinguishing feature of the agreement is that a client pays in advance for work that the freelancer will do later. It sort of books you and ensures you don't pick other work while waiting for the client to specify what he wants you to do. It's a show of commitment on the part of the client showing that he's willing to pay upfront to book your excellent services.

1. It boosts your negotiation skills

A template prepares you so that you know how to negotiate for a retainer with your client. An article published on Time.com indicated that negotiating is an art. The article was about the basics of negotiating for a better deal, which included knowing when to shut up, being respectful, knowing what you want and focusing on the common ground. You can learn all these skills simply by examining the freelance retainer contract template. The template gives you ideas, which you can then apply in real negotiations with your client.

2. Prepares you for negotiations

According to Management Study Guide, going unprepared for a negotiation is one of the worst mistakes anybody can ever make. A freelancer should never show up for any negotiation or meeting unprepared. Unfortunately, this happens plenty of times. The result is that many freelancers don't succeed winning approvals for the requests they make. Most of them end up not getting retainers, even when dealing with clients whose history they know nothing about. This shows why it's important to study and learn from the contract template.

3. Eliminates confusions and misunderstandings

Confusions and misunderstandings are worth avoiding during any stage of a negotiation. The confusions and misunderstandings are impossible to avoid when you keep making or encouraging last minute changes. The client should know that you don't accept or encourage such changes. You should let the client know your expectations. In fact, make your expectations clear to the client so that he knows it's impossible to ask for or demand a change. Learn from the template to avoid changing your statements repeatedly.

Therefore, the freelance retainer contract template is an asset. You need the asset while negotiating with a client for the first or umpteenth time. It's never too late to learn. It's never too late to change how you run the business. Improve your negotiation skills. The template is the work of experts who have been in this business for years. They know what it takes to win a favorable contract. The experts know the importance of negotiating successfully for a favorable contract. Therefore, incorporate some of the ideas from the template in your life and see the changes.

4. The right content

According to The Law Society of Upper Canada, it's the client's responsibility to execute the retainer agreement. The society goes ahead to state that the agreement confirms essential terms for engaging a freelancer. The actual content on the agreement varies depending on what the client wants and the scope of work he wants done. A retainer agreement is only enforceable if it contains all the basic features. For example, it must have details on the scope of services the client expects from the freelancer.

5. Information on fees and disbursements

The  freelance retainer agreement must have information on the fees and disbursements the freelancer charges and the client expects to be paying moving forward. The effectiveness of the agreement depends on the level of communication between the client and freelancer. The agreement must state how these two parties will communicate. Furthermore, a well prepared agreement indicates the method any of the concerned parties is free to use in case there is a need to withdraw or cancel the project.

The retainer agreements are great because they eliminate the likelihood of surprises. The agreement develops the relationship between a freelancer and a client. According to Fox Business, building a relationship with clients is a good business practice. After all, customers are the lifeline of any business, thus it's imperative that you focus everything you have on building and enhancing strong relationships with them. This is what you can achieve with the freelance retainer agreement.

6. Gives you resources

Lastly, the freelance retainer agreement ensures that you have all the resources needed to work on the client's project. A client who prepares and signs a retainer agreement with a freelancer is guaranteed professional and reliable services when he needs it. Retaining the services of a freelancer is more affordable than going all out to hire an in-house team. Therefore, you should take advantage of the freelance retainer agreement to propel your freelancing career to the next level.

Asking for a freelance retainer is a matter of skill. You have to be confident in asking for the retainer. You have to be clear on what you want and the reasons you want the retainer. In the words of California Lawyer, the other name for retainer is deposit or prepaid fees. A retainer is a show of good faith. The retainer shows that a client means well and is serious with the services he's asked the freelancer to provide. A retainer indicates that you, as the freelancer, are not about to go into unknown and unchartered territories.

Knowing when and how to ask for the retainer is a skill that all freelancers must develop. The decision on whether to ask for a retainer or not is entirely in your hands. You could decide to ask some of your clients for a retainer while exempting the rest. This too is your prerogative. For  example, you're free to exempt your family and friends from paying a retainer. Clients you have served a long time and never give you problems but always pay the full amount on time are worth exempting from paying retainers too.

Therefore, feel free to ask for a retainer any time. Making such a request allows you to test the client's attitude towards money. It also enables you to discover your client's current situation where finances are concerned. After placing the request, listen to the client's response attentively. Some clients have no problem paying retainers. Other clients are unable to afford paying retainers. A retainer is only a fraction of the total fees. A client who can't afford a retainer will probably struggle paying the total fees

Ask for the retainer while negotiating other aspects of the project. In fact, use this opportunity to learn more about the project. Some clients may conclude that you consider them untrustworthy after asking for a retainer. This may jeopardize your chances of winning a bid for particular work. Asking for a retainer is a way of showing that both parties are committed to a favorable outcome. Remember, a client doesn't want to lose money. You also  don't want to lose money. Therefore, find a middle ground where the two of you have adequate protection.

In the world of freelancers, retainers are safety nets. The retainer guarantees a set amount of income for some time. A retainer also favors the client. It demonstrates the freelancer's willingness to prioritize the work that's before him. It's fine to ask for retainers based on specific arrangements. You can ask for monthly, annual or project-based retainers. Working online is replete with all manner of risks, which you can avoid following this foolproof guideline, according to entrepreneur.com.

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