In our world, the word “retainer” is synonymous with “client work”. Due to our familiarity with retainers, and knowing that it’s tied to lots of revenue, we’re thrilled to share that Teamwork has launched our very own Retainer solution!
For those that are unfamiliar with this concept, a retainer is a long-term contract between a business and a client that’s based on ongoing services. It reserves either a set amount of time or money to be used by the client during a set period.
Not only do retainers help you manage long-term client engagements, they also eliminate budgeting surprises, are flexible to each project, and help things end on budget regardless of any spending fluctuations along the way.
Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s dive into the juicy details of our latest release!
Setting up a Retainer
Creating a Retainer can be done from everywhere you can create a project budget. Select the budget type “Retainer”, and complete the necessary fields. Knowing that each client engagement is a little different, there’s ample flexibility in the setup.
Retainer budget - The agreed recurring amount charged to the client at the start of every period. Can be either an amount of money or time.
Budget based on - If the Retainer budget is an amount of time, this determines the type of time that contributes to this budget. Can be all time, billable time, or non-billable time.
Period length - How often the Retainer is paid. Can be monthly or quarterly.
Start and end dates - The total length of the Retainer contract. Can be any date range desired.
Taking a closer look
The Retainer Options are really what make this budget type a standout. You’re now able to select what happens at the end of every period regarding the over/under spend of your budget. With the ability to monitor this and reallocate the over/under spend amounts, you can proactively account for a smaller or larger budget for your next period. Having this level of rollover control will ensure projects always even out and end in budget.
As an example: The monthly budget is $1,000 and this period you went over by $200. Subtract $200 from next period’s budget ensuring you honor the honest amount moving forward (which would be $800).
With the Advanced Options, set a default billable rate for the project so one agreed-upon rate is applied to users when calculating their billable time—making it easy to know what you’re charging the client. As well, configure custom notifications to alert you and your team when the budget exceeds certain amounts so you can easily keep a pulse on your spending.
Best of all? Set these preferences only once! Period after period, these options will automatically be remembered so no administrative decisions or recalculations bog you down.
Retainers will make your budgets sing
Knowing that budgets are not to be glossed over, let’s further explore how Retainers will keep your books, your wallet, and your clients happy.
Have visibility over the entire contract
A historical graph breaks down the total budget, how much was used, and the amounts added or subtracted within each period to help outline how your Retainer fluctuates over time. Have instant and crystal clear visibility into these important adjustments so no surprises catch you off guard during or at the end of the client engagement. See this alongside your overall project budget, budget expenses, and project profitability for the holy grail of budget tracking!
Keep track of your adjustments
An insightful average budget line is always visible so you can compare how your over/under spend decisions period over period shape up against your overall default budget. Now you’ll always have a pulse on how your periodic decisions impact things in the long run. It might go without saying, but try to have these two lines as close as possible.
Lasting client relationships
Enjoy strong and trusting client relationships since no overspent budgets will creep up unannounced. Be confident knowing you’ll always honor the budget and other parameters of the work (even if things go a bit awry in the execution). Notice a trend that you’re consistently underspending each quarter? Openly reset your Retainer budget so it’s configured in the best way for you, the client, and the project.