Many times we walk into a potential or current client’s office and just sit down and chat. We like to keep it casual… that’s how we roll. Lately, we have been discovering that many companies have put off marketing themselves during the “Great Recession” and are now in dire need of many tactics.
Inevitably, the conversation turns to budget and we see the client’s eyes fill with fear and little flaming dollar signs. Then comes the question, “How much is this going to cost me?” We calmly explain options and, when their needs are extensive, bring up the concept of implementing a retainer. Then, like in that Julia Roberts bride movie, they are putting on their sneakers and high-tailing it out of there.
Retainers shouldn’t be scary
Let us explain how our retainers work and you’ll see there isn’t much to be phobic about. We use retainers as a way to help businesses be able to attain all of the projects they need done without a large outlaying of cash up front. We like to call it “interest-free financing.”
Most of our retainers run 12 – 18 months (Not bad right? You’ve probably had most of your underwear longer than that). To determine a retainer amount, we will propose on all the projects needing to be done using our standard formula – which consists of figuring up total labor hours and multiplying by our hourly rate for the work being performed (here’s a secret… most agencies do it the same way). Then we look at the percentage of time that would need to go towards administrative work…billing, account coordination, time tracking, etc … and subtract that figure from our à la carte total. We then take that discounted rate and evenly split it over the length of the retainer.
Easy Cheesy! So now the client can get all of the projects they need done without severely impacting cash flow.
So how much should you expect to pay?
Well, that depends on the amount of work needed. Let’s say needs are extensive – rebranding, sales collateral, website, the works. You can usually expect to pay the annual salary cost for an entry- to mid-level marketing person. Now you may be asking, “Then why not just hire another marketing person or even a designer?” You could, but the chances of finding someone that can do it all – strategy, design, coding, etc. – are minute at best. By hiring a firm, you get a team of experts tackling your challenges. Additionally, while you may pay close to an annual salary for our services, you don’t have to provide benefits, training, equipment, etc., thus saving you money in the long run.