One of the best tools a consultant can use to retain long-term graphic design jobs is by using the graphic design retainer skillfully. Having a retainer agreement with clients allows graphic designers the chance to work closely with their clients, assisting them in developing their initiatives.
At times a company you are working for may realize they need your services ever so often and may approach you to sign a graphic design retainer agreement. As a consultant on graphic design, you may also initiate a retainer agreement if the business you are working for is willing to sign one. Learn how to make use of the retainer agreement to secure future work from your regular clients.
The client who chooses to work with you using a retainer agreement pays you at regular intervals in exchange for your consultant graphic design services. The payment could be weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly depending on the nature of the work. The retainer ensures consistency to the client ensuring that the freelancer gets a steady flow of income.
This tool is also important to settle any disputes and grievances that may arise in the course of the project. A concise, well-drafted and professional graphic design retainer contract is a good way of establishing a profitable and long-lasting practice.
Graphic design retainer agreements come with some advantages:
It's very common for first-time clients to shy away from signing retainer agreements because of various reasons. They may have had bad experiences previously, or they are new to the idea and are not too sure about committing immediately.
However, this should not worry you so much as it can be turned around. With a good set of skills and a great offer, you still have the opportunity to convince such a client otherwise. Clients love the idea of having someone they can depend on whenever certain services are required.
One of the best ways of selling the idea of graphic design retainer agreement is by ensuring that your work speaks for itself. If you can get the client to sign a one-time deal, then this single gig will be your greatest sales pitch for getting a retainer agreement signed.
This one single gig can turn out to be the key that opens doors to many graphic design retainer agreements. This can be used as a portfolio that your prospective clients can use to gauge your skills.
For clients, the time spent on a project doesn't necessarily mean that the value will reflect the time input. This point is where the idea of charging hourly fees meets the concept of charging a cyclic retainer.
Think of what suits you best before settling on the type of retainer you want to use with your client. You could either choose the pay work retainer, where you get paid for the amount of work done or the pay for access retainer, where you are paid for your expertise.
If you can convince the client that your work is determined by your expertise and not how many hours are spent, then they may agree to sign a graphic design retainer agreement. Charging hourly guarantees the client that you "showed up."
For example, when you are getting the client to agree to sign a graphic design retainer agreement, you can use the following tactics:
When the client understands that the above benefits will apply when you charge a graphic designer retainer, they will gladly accept since you are providing more than just the tangible product. They will understand that they will gain from your expertise more than if they purchased a product in a one-off deal.
Ensure that your client understands that they need you to make the work easier. This could be by offering expert advice that sustains the project that you have worked and pitching ideas that could make it better with time.
The client will not hesitate to lock you down with a retainer agreement if they understand that your work schedule can get so busy and lock them out of accessing you. With the retainer agreement, you are promising the client access to your expertise and knowledge anytime need arises. The client understands that having someone on a contract is important to save them time when they are in need. No interviews required all they call you and you are available for some graphic design work. The advantages go both ways.
The money conversation should come up naturally. If you make it one of your first agendas, the client will feel rushed and probably shy off.
It is easier to close a deal if you show the client that by hiring you there would be a direct increase to the number of sales. That means that your pricing should be based on the value of the services you are offering. Make sure the client understands the Return on Investment (ROI) they are making with you.
Whether you talk about money on the first or last meeting, you should let it come naturally. If the client prompts, the better it is for you. If your next agenda is to discuss the payment, then bring it up with confidence and explain to them the benefits they stand to gain.
The last thing you want to do is to come across like you are not sure you deserve what you are asking for. You may be surprised the client is willing to offer more than you were bargaining for if you would just show them that your services will have a direct positive impact on their business.
Get to know the project in detail to help you understand the possible cost that you may incur during the project. You don’t want to overestimate or underestimate the pricing of the project. Once you have the total cost, including your fees and give the client the total. The total should be worked out as a percentage of the profit your services will bring in.
From the first meeting, the goal is to sell value. If possible, get right to the context and challenges, and try to help the client. Having a great first impression, in terms of the quality of work delivered, will help you win the heart of the client and the retainer contract.
This way, you will be demonstrating the value. As the pitching process matures and you successfully get to sign the contracts, you will have won yourself another long-term client. This means that you will have a long-term opportunity to earn from your expertise.
Delivering value requires that you get to know the client well and the project they are signing you up for.
The greatest challenge with a graphic design job is transferring the client’s ideas to the actual work. When you master the art of understanding your clients and their ideas, you will be on a good path to success. This means that before embarking on the first project with any client, get to know exactly what they are looking for. You can schedule a one on one session or phone call meetings.
Note that the retainer will only be convincing to the client when the initial work is impressive. Therefore the first step is to identify potential long term clients and get them to hire for some graphic design work. Put in your best in this job and make it as impressive as possible. If you manage to impress your client, you will be able to talk them into putting you on a contract with much ease.
A retainer contract will not only help you with a constant flow of income but also schedule your workload. Freelancing on graphic design can get quite tough with the inconsistency of work and consequently income. To plan ahead and give yourself an edge on the way you work, you need to start thinking of using these retainer agreements. Thinking of drafting one for a client? Here are a few elements that you need to include when drafting your graphic design retainer contract.
Give a brief on what services you will be offering the client if they sign the retainer contract.
Highlight the cost the client will be incurred while making use of your services. These may include fees directly linked to the hours spent doing the work, projected communications with the client and transportation charges. The latter fees, however, depends on the agreement that the client has with the consultant.
The contract should give the details of the payment methods and your preferred payment schedule. The schedule might, however, be subject to further discussions by the client considering they may have special preferences as well.
Write down the expected length of time the project should take. Give the expectations and mention any factors that can lead to delays.
The contract should detail the factors that can lead to the termination of the contract. In here the details of how and when the project should be terminated are highlighted.
Your proposal of a retainer contract must be well-timed. If you do it too early, you risk spooking off the client by seeming desperate. The best time to launch a request for a retainer is when you have successfully delivered a graphic design consulting project. Your project could up earning the client more customers if you do it just right. The better the results the more the client would not hesitate to hire you as long as they need the services.
A good foresight is required when drafting the contract so as to avoid future hiccups due to over or underestimation. Keep in mind that the retainer is a legal and binding contract, so you have to be extra cautious about what you put down. Take your time to do research, if need be, on what is required to accomplish that specific graphic design work.