Retainer Agreement

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 2,003 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a Retainer Agreement?

CREATE A FREE PROJECT POSTING
Post Project Now

What is a Retainer Agreement?

A retainer agreement is a work-for-hire legal document or a service contract between a company or an individual and a client. It falls between a one-off-contract and a permanent employment contract . It allows clients and customers to pay in advance for professional services of a company or individual.

You can read more on retainer agreements here .

Purpose of Retainer Agreements

The purpose of the retainer agreement is to set out the duties of the parties so that all parties have an agreement on the services that will be provided, how they will be provided, when and at what cost. Retainer agreements are typically used to hire lawyers and freelancers.

The retainer fee ensures that the hired service provider reserves time for the client in the future when there is a need for their services. Unlike a one-time contract, a retainer agreement is a long-term work-for-hire contract and thus can retain ongoing services.

Here more on uses of a retainer agreement.

How Retainer Agreements Work

Retainer agreements do not work on a single formula. However, there is a basic structure followed in all retainer agreements. One party, like a contractor, agrees to provide certain number of hours each month to the client. In exchange for locking in those hours, the client pays a certain amount of fee, called the retainer fee, in advance to the contractor. Once the work is complete, the retainer fee applies to what the contractor is owed, and other hours will be billed at the contractor’s set rate.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Sunnita B.

4 projects on CC
View Profile

Nicholas V.

5 projects on CC
View Profile

Kelvin R.

5 projects on CC
View Profile

Donya G.

49 projects on CC
View Profile

Advantages of Retainer Agreements

Retainer agreements are gaining popularity as service industries need more income stability and try to improve client relationships. Retainer agreements are widely used for legal services, consulting services, accounting services and by freelancers. Here are some benefits of using a retainer agreement:

  • Stability : A one-off contract might not bring stable income to an individual or company that is offering its services. However, a fixed retainer fee associated with a retainer agreement ensures stability.
  • Time Saved on Marketing : Given that freelancers and professionals would need to look for other clients after a one-off contract ends, marketing commitments are high in a one-off contract for the professional. In a stable retainer agreement, they benefit from a stable fee from the client and a long-term relationship with the client. Thus, they do not have to spend more time marketing themselves.
  • Improved relationships : A retainer agreement is a long-term professional relationship. It ensures that the professional is available when needed by the client. This ensures a long-term partnership.
  • Predictable Cash flow: Since retainers use an agreed upon retainer fee over a long period of time, it also makes it easier to estimate and maintain cash flows.
  • Improved Work: With a retainer agreement, a professional Is paid on a continuous basis, allowing them to focus entirely on the clients’ needs and produce high quality work.

Disadvantages of Retainer Agreements

Retainers come with multiple benefits. Most freelancers and companies would agree that its benefits outweigh the drawbacks. However, there are drawbacks to a retainer agreement for both the client and the professional. Some of them are discussed below:

  • Time : A retainer agreement the professional commits to a certain number of hours to the client. This means that they are being locked into a specific schedule.
  • Opportunity : Being locked into a specific schedule means that the professional might have to pass on exciting opportunities that might come their way.
  • Risk : For a client, retainer agreements can pose some risks. The client pays for the services before receiving them. In months where services are not needed, the client still pays for the hours agreed upon, thus losing money.

Here more on risks and benefits of a retainer agreement.

ContractsCounsel Retainer Agreement Image

Image via Pexels by cottonbro

Who Needs a Retainer Agreement?

A retainer agreement is widely used in the legal field. It is common for people seeking legal services or anticipating needing legal services to pay a retainer fee to a lawyer who will be available when they need them. This retainer can be an advanced payment for a monthly recurring payment to the lawyer.

Retainer agreements are also used by consultants to provide services to a client over a long-period of time. Especially when the client and professional have established a relationship and the client predicts needing the consultant’s expertise, a retainer agreement provides access to the consultant’s time and services. Freelancers also find retainer agreements to be beneficial. Freelancers often struggle to find a stable source of income and a predictable cash flow. A retainer agreement is a great way to ensure that they have a stable income over a long period of time.

Are you planning to sign a retainer agreement? Here are some things you should consider .

Types of Professional Services Retainer Agreements

There are two types of retainer agreements that a company or individual can use:

  1. Pay-for-work retainers: Pay-for-work retainers are often used by companies and professionals that intend to receive ongoing payment on a monthly basis from their clients. This type of a retainer agreement is used when relationships with clients is slightly underway. Companies or professionals get paid for the hours of the work they provide. Pay-for-work retainers are not much different from a contract. However, unlike a one-off contract, professions under pay-for-work retainers are in a loop to deliver services to the client over a long period of time.
  2. Pay-for-access retainers: When companies and professionals prefer to get paid for making their expertise and knowledge available to clients, they use pay-for-access retainers. Under this, the client retains the profession on an ongoing basis when services are needed. This is generally used when the client has formed a relationship with the professional and trusts them to deliver high-quality services whenever required.

Here more on types of a retainer agreement .

Getting Help with a Retainer Agreement

Do you have any questions about a retainer agreement and want to speak to an expert? Post a project today on ContractsCounsel and receive bids from contract lawyers who specialize in contracts.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Retainer Agreement Lawyers

View Gerald
Member Since:
August 28, 2021

Gerald W.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Round Rock, Texas
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL, TX
Valparaiso University School of Law

My clients know me as more than just an attorney. First and foremost, my background is much broader than that. Prior to attending the Valparaiso University School of Law, I earned a Master of Business Administration and ran a small business as a certified public accountant. Thanks to this experience, I possess unique insight which in turn allows me to better assist my clients with a wide range of business and tax matters today. In total, I have over 20 years of experience in financial management, tax law, and business consulting, and I’m proud to say that I’m utilizing the knowledge I’ve gained to assist the community of Round Rock in a variety of ways. In my current practice, I provide counsel to small to medium-sized businesses, nonprofit organizations, and everyday individuals. Though my primary areas of practice are estate planning, elder law, business consulting, and tax planning, I pride myself on assisting my clients in a comprehensive manner. Whenever I take on a new client, I make an effort to get to know them on a personal level. This, of course, begins with listening. It is important that I fully understand their vision so I can help them successfully translate it into a concrete plan of action that meets their goals and expectations. I appreciate the individual attributes of each client and know firsthand that thoughtful, creative, and customized planning can maximize both financial security and personal happiness. During my time as a certified public accountant, I cultivated an invaluable skill set. After all, while my legal education has given me a deep understanding of tax law, I would not be the tax attorney I am today without my background in accounting. Due to my far-reaching experience, I am competent in unraveling even the most complex tax mysteries and disputes. My CPA training benefits my estate planning practice, too. In the process of drafting comprehensive wills and trusts, I carefully account for every asset and plan for any tax burdens that may arise, often facilitating a much smoother inheritance for the heirs of my clients. Prior to becoming certified as a CPA, I made sure to establish a solid foundation in business both in and out of the classroom, and the acumen I’ve attained has served me well. Not only am I better able to run my own practice than I otherwise would be; I am able to help other small business owners fulfill their dreams, as well.

View Garrett
Member Since:
August 30, 2021

Garrett M.

Associate
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Dexter, MO
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
University of Texas

Hello! I am a young attorney with four years' experience in real estate transactions, fund formation, and general corporate transactional work. I graduated in 2016 from the University of Texas - Austin and I am barred in Texas.

View Billy Joe
Member Since:
October 26, 2021

Billy Joe M.

Partner Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Chicago, IL
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006 with a degree in Political Science, Finance, and Economics. I stayed around Champaign for law school and graduated in 2009. I then worked at a big law firm in downtown Chicago. It was boring, so I quit in early 2011. I thought that I could not be happy practicing law - I was wrong. After I quit the traditional law firm life, I began representing my own clients. I realize now that I love helping normal people, small business owners, and non-profits address a variety of legal issues. I hope to hear from you.

View James David
Member Since:
September 3, 2021

James David W.

Partner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Raleigh, NC
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in DC, NC
Harvard Law School

I graduated from Harvard Law School and worked first for a federal judge and then a leading DC firm before starting a firm with a law school classmate. My practice focuses on company formations, early-stage investments, and mergers & acquisitions.

View Anna
Member Since:
November 12, 2021

Anna K.

Manager
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Miami, Florida
24 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
University of Miami

Anna is an experienced attorney, with over twenty years of experience. With no geographical boundaries confining her practice, Anna works on corporate, healthcare and real estate transactions. Anna brings extensive big firm experience, garnered as an associate in the Miami office of the world's largest law firm, Baker and McKenzie, and the Miami office of the international law firm Kilpatrick Townsend. Her areas of expertise include: mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, private placements, healthcare transactions, corporate finance, commercial real estate transaction and acting as a general corporate counsel. Anna is certified to practice law in Florida and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1998. Anna is also a Certified Public Accountant. She passed May 1995 CPA Exam on the first sitting. She is fluent in Russian (native).

View Phocus
Member Since:
September 16, 2021

Phocus L.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Phoenix, AZ, USA
11 Yrs Experience
Licensed in AZ, CA
Georgetown University Law Center

G'day, my name is Michele! I work with startups, entrepreneurs and small/medium-sized businesses across the country in a wide array of industries. I help them with all of their ongoing, daily legal needs. This includes entity formation, M&A, contract drafting and review, employment, asset sale & acquisition, and business sales or shareholder exits. I'm half-Australian, half-Italian, and I've lived the last 20+ years of my life in America. I've lived all over the USA, completing high school in the deep south, graduating cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis, and then cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center. After law school I worked for the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins, LLP. After four intense and rewarding years there, I left to become General Counsel and VP of an incredible, industry-changing start-up called Urban Mining Company (UMC) that manufactures rare earth permanent magnets. I now work for Phocus Law where I help run our practice focused on entrepreneurs, startups, and SMEs. I love what I do, and I'd love to be of help! My focus is on providing stress-free, enjoyable, and high-quality legal service to all of my clients. Being a good lawyer isn't enough: the client experience should also be great. But work isn't everything, and I love my free time. I've been an avid traveler since my parents put me on a plane to Italy at 9-months old. I'm also a music nut, and am still looking for that perfect client that will engage me to explain why Dark Side Of The Moon is the greatest album of all time. Having grown up in a remote, and gorgeous corner of Australia, I feel a strong connection to nature, and love being in the elements.

View Gregory
Member Since:
September 16, 2021

Gregory C.

Partner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Denver, CO
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CO, MA
Boston University School of Law

Attorney Greg Corbin is the founder and principal of Signal Law in Denver, Colorado. A top-rated trial and transactional lawyer with more than seven years of total legal experience, Mr. Corbin provides exceptional counsel and support to clients across the greater Denver metro and surrounding areas who have legal needs involving any of the following: business and corporate law; contracts and agreements; incorporations, partnerships and other entity formation and dissolution services; and ongoing business counsel for emerging and expanding commercial enterprises. Utilizing the latest in cost-saving technologies and advanced automation, Mr. Corbin has established his practice as a modern law firm ready for the future, and he strives to provide the highest level of representation to his clients and help them achieve their goals and the favorable outcomes they seek as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. He has gained a reputation for his innovative solutions as well as his transparent pricing structure and responsiveness when dealing with his clients. In recognition of his outstanding professionalism and service, Mr. Corbin has earned consistent top rankings and endorsements from his peers as being among the top lawyers in his region for business law and transactions. A 2008 graduate of Kansas State University, Mr. Corbin obtained his Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law in 2013. The Massachusetts Bar Association admitted him to practice that same year, and the Colorado State Bar Association admitted him in 2015. Mr. Corbin is an active member of the Denver Bar Association and the Colorado State Bar Association, among his other professional affiliations, and he supports his local community through his involvement with Project Worthmore and Biking for Baseball, where he serves on the boards of directors.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call