Retainers: Step Up Your Freelance Game

By Erika Goering on

Introducing clients to a retainer program is a great way to have steady, predictable work and, more importantly, a better work-life balance. And the benefits are twofold: the clients also get to have peace of mind because they no longer have to worry about your other clients’ projects being ahead of them in the queue. They can rely on a predictable schedule and they can put the burden of little nagging design problems on you.

Predictable Work & Steady Income

Turn your freelancing gig into a real job with predictable amounts of money every month. When a client signs up for a retainer, they’re committing to a minimum of 3 months of work. That guarantees solid income for you so you can focus on producing good work instead of chasing big jobs all the time.

Here’s our actual pricing table for our different retainer plans. We give a hefty discount for plans with more hours (like buying hours in bulk), because to us, it’s more important to create value for the client (and a better working relationship) than to try to make as big a profit as possible. The other side of that is that it takes more administrative work to set up a client for a retainer, so the smaller plans actually necessitate a higher cost per hour.

Note: The “Subscribe” buttons normally link to the PayPal subscriptions for each plan, but on this page, they just link to the “Work With Us” page.


10 hours/month

$875 billed monthly

  • Save 12.5% on our hourly rate
  • 10 prioritized working hours per month (2.5 hours/week)


20 hours/month

$1500 billed monthly

  • Save 25% on our hourly rate!
  • 20 prioritized working hours per month (5 hours/week)


30 hours/month

$1875 billed monthly

  • Save 37.5% on our hourly rate!
  • 30 prioritized working hours per month (7.5 hours/week)


40 hours/month

$2000 billed monthly

  • Save 50% on our hourly rate! (Best value!)
  • 40 prioritized working hours per month (10 hours/week)

We also have an option for a tiny number of hours per month (like, for example, a single podcast promo image once a month). Since it’s a bit of a job to just get to the point where the design software is even opened, we’re charging full-price for our hours, but still with the higher priority of the other retainer plans. It’s a great move all around because we’re paid what we’re worth and the client knows they’ll never need to worry about their monthly podcast image getting to them late.


5 hours/month

$500 billed monthly

  • Pay our hourly rate
  • 5 prioritized working hours per month (1.25 hours per week)
  • Great for social media graphics or website maintenance

Work-Life Balance

It’s also important to set strict guidelines for retainers so you don’t get burnt-out with crazy deadlines and rush jobs. That’s why we add a nonrefundable rush fee to tasks that are sprung up on us near the end of a client’s billing cycle. For example, if a client has a 20 hour/month plan and decides to ghost us until the 28th day of their billing cycle and then ask for a massive 20-hour job to be completed in two days, they’re getting slapped with the rush fee (to get the point across that they shouldn’t do that again!), so we can make sure it’s worth it for us to do the work. The other option, instead of the rush job, is to work at a normal pace and pull the extra hours out of their next month. Either way, we get compensated for the extra work.

Client Peace of Mind

Retainer programs create several benefits for the client. With a predictable amount of prioritized design work every week or month, the client can rely on you to provide good work at a discount per hour. That design work then creates value by giving the client a professional-looking appearance, and their happiness can come back to you in the form of extending the retainer, hiring you for additional projects, word-of-mouth referrals, and general warm fuzzies. When two businesses come together and build a positive relationship, both businesses will thrive.

To sum it all up, the main goal of retainers is regularity of work and symbiosis between you and your clients. Offering a retainer program enables your business to run more smoothly, increase cashflow stability, and strengthen your relationships with your clients.

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