Do I need a retainer?

How to make the most of your extended team

Georgie Blumsom

What exactly is a retainer?

Simply put, a retainer is a formal agreement between a client and their agency that says:

“We will pay you X amount per month, and you will allocate X amount of time or services to our business”.

The benefits of a retainer from the agency’s perspective are relatively obvious – it’s guaranteed income agreed ahead of time, so it allows the agency to make important business decisions like hiring staff to meet their clients demands, with little to no risk attached.

Without a retainer, and without visibility of a client’s future support requirements, an agency would be silly to hire staff they might not need, just on the off chance that their client might at some point want some more work carrying out. The downside for the client is that if the agency is busy on other projects, and there’s no retainer in place, they may need to wait longer than usual for the agency to respond to their request.

Imagine for instance its Friday afternoon, and Instagram have just released a new update that has caused the image feed on your homepage to suddenly break without warning. With no retainer in place, there’s no guarantee this problem will be fixed before the weekend.


Benefits of a retainer

In almost all cases, retainers are beneficial for both the client and the agency:

  • For clients with a good understanding of their long term objectives, retainers allow them to get priority treatment from their agency at a reduced rate
  • Retainers allow agencies, and the individuals within those agencies, to act as an extension of the client’s own team, gaining a deeper understanding of the client’s business and in turn adding more value to their projects
  • A retainer provides the perfect playground to experiment and try new things, rather than trying to guess what works best first time
  • When something goes wrong, retainer’s ensure that the agency is available to investigate and resolve the problem with minimum delay
  • Retainers help avoid surprises, with both the client and the agency knowing what they’re putting in and what they’re getting out
  • When an agency gets busy, retainers allow them to confidently scale their business to meet their client’s demands
  • Retainers are results-orientated rather than task-driven, making it much easier to monitor and track return on investment


Is a retainer right for my business?

The important thing to remember is that there is no one size fits all retainer. A website is a living, breathing entity and a valuable marketing tool for your business, so in all likelihood you will need some form of ongoing support after it launches.

At Mallard & Claret, we offer our clients a variety of monthly support packages tailored to their needs, budget and circumstances, with the most basic ensuring that their website remains safe, secure and always online, and our more robust retainer packages allowing our clients to make regular upgrades and improvements to their website every month.

If you have any questions about retainers and what’s right for your business, get in touch and say hi! via [email protected]

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