Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: [prbytes] Re: Hourly Vs. Retainer? Isn't it the same?

Expand Messages
  • Geri Wilson
    hi jimmy - i don t know what s normal in the industry, but i can tell you what i do. as a boutique marketing communications firm, which means i m a
    Message 1 of 21 , Jul 29, 2005
      hi jimmy -
      i don't know what's "normal" in the industry, but i can tell you what i do. as a "boutique marketing communications firm," which means i'm a one-person shop (sometimes hiring extra help as needed), i provide personal service that the bigger shops don't provide.

      in all honesty, my clients would die if they ever saw an hourly bill of what i do for them, and, to be honest, i hate keeping track of my time like that. so they pay me an hourly rate and i become their "in-house" marketing communication professional. every year we write a marketing communications plan, which is modified as we go as the market and their needs require, and i am basically available to fulfill their needs.

      i'm sure i'd make more money hourly, but this way they feel secure with me, there are never surprises for me or them about the bill, and they don't resent their bill when it goes high, even though they require it. it also keeps the paperwork down, which is, after all, one of the reasons i went into this form of the business -- i hate the business end.

      just one old pro's way. . .
      best -
      geri wilson
      the jonathan group
      - strategic marketing communications -

      Jimmy Vo <jimmy@...> wrote:
      I know this is an old thread, started back in December 2004, but I'm
      confused.

      When I use monthly retainers, I bill my hourly rate against the
      retainer. What I don't use of the retainer gets carried over. I never
      bill and keep fees for unperformed work, but if addtional work that
      surpass the retainer is needed, the client has the option of paying
      more the additional fees, or wait until next month.

      QUESTIONS:
      1) You mean some of you keep the retainer regardless, even for work
      that's not performed? IS THIS NORMAL FOR THE INDUSTRY?

      2) If you DO keep the extra money from the retainer -- How do you
      manage to not do enough work? There's always work. Research research
      research, coming up with new ideas, refining, give value to the
      client and go beyond what's expected, draft edit draft more editing,
      etc.

      I also provide my clients with monthly statements detailing services
      that were performed. You mean this isn't normal procedure?

      -Jimmy Vo-





      Kezia wrote
      > If there's anyone on this listserv who meets that description -
      > charging a client for work that is not performed - we should chase
      > them like illiterate villagers going after a livestock-stealing
      > monster and stone them to death. Unsophisticated clients may think
      > that's true, but they're very, very wrong.

      Whoa, hold on dar just one dang blam minute. I guess I'm like one of
      those
      livestock-stealing monsters you describe, but you've got it wrong, in
      that
      there is nothing unethical about this practise, which if I am reading
      you
      right, is what you are trying to suggest. When a client hires us on
      retainer, he's buying our availability. Whether he decides to use it
      is up
      to him, but he pays either way, and fully understands this going in.
      Keep in
      mind this is time we would otherwise have booked to do other billable
      work,
      so why shouldn't we.

      This doesn't happen often, but it happens. I'll give you one example
      from a
      couple of months ago. An organization was concerned that an expected
      government decision may go against their interests, and if it did,
      they
      wanted to be able to counter this and try to get it reversed. There
      was only
      a minimal amount of work that could be done in advance, but if it
      occurred
      they were going to need a considerable amount of our time. They knew
      they if
      they waited until they knew for sure that they needed us, we might
      not be
      available, so they booked us. Knowing we would be available if needed
      was
      important to them, and to their mind, a worthwhile expense. As it
      turned
      out, we weren't needed, and they gladly paid the bill. So for this,
      you
      would have us chased out of the village?
      >
      > If a company wants to kick the tires before committing to a retainer
      > agreement, find out what they're going to expect beforehand - you
      > may not want their business.

      Maybe not, but I have to disagree with you on this too. The majority
      of
      retainer clients we have ever had didn't start out as retainer
      clients. They
      first hired us for projects, then switched over to retainer. This is
      because
      they became comfortable with us. I think for many clients, expecting
      them to
      make a commitment to a retainer arrangement when they don't know you
      or your
      work very well may be asking too much.

      Duncan





      SPONSORED LINKS
      Public relations

      ---------------------------------
      YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS


      Visit your group "prbytes" on the web.

      To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      prbytes-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


      ---------------------------------




      Geri Wilson
      The Jonathan Group
      - strategic marketing communications -
      626.403.6741
      gerij9@...








      __________________________________________________
      Do You Yahoo!?
      Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
      http://mail.yahoo.com

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • kezia_jauron
      The point I was making was in response to David s statement here: The reality is that the retainer is loaded in favour of the consultant/agency because it
      Message 2 of 21 , Aug 1, 2005
        The point I was making was in response to David's statement here:

        "The reality is that the retainer is loaded in favour of the
        consultant/agency because it gives them the comfort of a positive
        cash flow even if they do not undertake any client work during the
        month. The retainer is also a bad deal for clients because it
        removes the need for the consultant/agency to be creative and
        proactive on their behalf."

        Which I disagreed with, but apparently only the "chase them like
        illiterate villagers" portion of my comments had any legs. I can't
        imagine there would be practitioners in our business who would do NO
        work for a MONTH for a retainer client. Those are the bad guys,
        folks - not anyone in present company.

        I admire anyone who has the time and stamina to maintain hourly
        against retainer billing records. My agency does not do this for
        retainer clients. (My boss would probably be a lot richer if we
        did.)

        Again, I can only speak personally, but in a month where a client
        may think "no work is being performed," I agree with you, Jimmy. How
        is this possible?

        For example, our retainer agreement allows for the writing and
        distribution of two news releases a month. Some companies just don't
        have two newsworthy developments in a month, so they might think
        they'll get a break on the bill. Wrong. It takes much more effort
        and time to get press for a company that isn't doing anything
        noteworthy, doesn't it?

        And aren't you also:

        - Updating your editorial database
        - Maintaining the relationships you trade on
        - Monitoring editorial coverage, competitive coverage, and industry
        happenings
        - Checking editorial calendars for future opps and creating new ones
        - Laying groundwork for future projects (i.e. racking your brain for
        ways to keep an inactive or sporadically active client in the news)

        As Duncan mentioned at one point, your client's failure to take
        advantage of all the PR services/resources available to them isn't
        your fault, and you shouldn't be financially penalized for it. But
        it sounds like you know how to make the distinction between hours
        YOU didn't devote to their account and opportunities THEY failed to
        leverage, and I'll bet your clients value your fairness and accuracy
        when they're writing your checks. Normal or not, whatever you're
        doing, keep doing it.

        For the reasons I disagreed that a retainer agreement is always more
        financially advantageous to the agency than the client, read the
        rest of the original message here:
        http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/prbytes/message/2895

        In fact, I'm going through an 'abuse period' now with a retainer
        client that moved around some staff, and I have a new day-to-day
        contact who needs incredibly intense handholding as well as
        massively detailed reports. They're getting their money's worth and
        then some.




        --- In prbytes@yahoogroups.com, "Jimmy Vo" <jimmy@n...> wrote:
        > I know this is an old thread, started back in December 2004, but
        I'm
        > confused.
        >
        > When I use monthly retainers, I bill my hourly rate against the
        > retainer. What I don't use of the retainer gets carried over. I
        never
        > bill and keep fees for unperformed work, but if addtional work
        that
        > surpass the retainer is needed, the client has the option of
        paying
        > more the additional fees, or wait until next month.
        >
        > QUESTIONS:
        > 1) You mean some of you keep the retainer regardless, even for
        work
        > that's not performed? IS THIS NORMAL FOR THE INDUSTRY?
        >
        > 2) If you DO keep the extra money from the retainer -- How do you
        > manage to not do enough work? There's always work. Research
        research
        > research, coming up with new ideas, refining, give value to the
        > client and go beyond what's expected, draft edit draft more
        editing,
        > etc.
        >
        > I also provide my clients with monthly statements detailing
        services
        > that were performed. You mean this isn't normal procedure?
      • kezia_jauron
        Say you ve set up an opportunity for a client - got them included in a newspaper review of the city s best dog groomers or something. Because you re so
        Message 3 of 21 , Aug 1, 2005
          Say you've set up an opportunity for a client - got them included in
          a newspaper review of 'the city's best dog groomers' or something.

          Because you're so chummy with the editor and so familiar with the
          dog grooming biz - in other words, because you are so good at what
          you do - it only took a 4-minute phone call to set up that
          opportunity.

          How would you bill this? And doesn't this kind of thing happen to
          you all the time?

          If you weren't as good at this stuff, and didn't have the contacts
          you have, that task may have taken you hours. And I assume you don't
          bill them for the months or years it took to cultivate the
          relationships and build the knowledge of the industry that led you
          to be able to pull it off in 4 minutes.

          (When clients ask for "their" "mail list," I'm always tempted to
          tell them they can have it at our cost: $260,000. This is a rough
          estimate of what we've spent building it over the last 13 years
          based on a low-level, full-time staff person's annual salary, times
          13 years.)
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.