One of the best things I have been able to offer to clients is a time-incremental retainer agreement… sort of like a monthly rate for ongoing design-work. It works well for you for several great reasons:

• Your jobs are placed on higher priority than non-prepaid jobs.

• The billing fee is consistent so that you have the peace of mind knowing you’re within your design budget.

• Your long-term design fee is lower than normal because I can accommodate you with more for the commitment and regular compensation.

• Over time, I will gain a greater understanding of your design needs thereby…

• maintaining brand consistency and effectiveness throughout all of your graphic pieces.

So what is a retainer, and how does it work?

A retainer fee works like a monthly fee, but since its purpose is to retain the designer, it is paid up front before any work is ordered. You are, in a sense, pre-ordering the designer’s time versus a service. The designer anticipates work from the client and blocks out the appropriate amount of time in her schedule to accommodate that client when the work comes.

Can a retainer agreement work for you?

I think the best way to explain this is through some example scenarios:

“Paul” needs new business collateral designed and produced in 2 months. The project quote is $2,000, but he is unable to put a $1,000 down-payment on the job. Normally I require a 50% deposit on any job, but in Paul’s case, I can accept a weekly retainer of $250 to get his job completed and paid for within the 2 months allotted.

“Amy” has a short-term ongoing need for design work, but she cannot afford to employ a full-time graphic designer. Amy has determined that she can afford up to $2000 in graphic design services for the next 6 months. With her, I arrange a monthly retainer agreement of $333/mo.

“Ben” doesn’t accurately predict what kinds of graphics work he’ll need for the year, but he knows he’ll need occasional small projects done. Like Amy, he will not employ a graphic designer. He determines that he’s willing to budget $3000 this year toward any graphics needs that come up. Ben and I establish a $250 monthly retainer agreement so I can efficiently handle his graphic needs as they come up.

How is the retainer agreement determined?

There are many factors that can determine the amount of the retainer fee, such as:

• frequency of design scheduling

• average amount of time needed from designer

• nature and complexity of design-work required

• length of retainer agreement

• typical level of urgency of design work

Ready to get started?

Eventually I will set up a form on my website to help you jumpstart this process. In the meantime, contact me by email ( and it will be my pleasure to work with you in establishing the best option for your needs.