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.