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Denise O

Retainers - Process

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Hi all,

 

I wanted to understand the process that is taken when working for clients on a retainer.

 

Do you create an invoice requesting the retainer amount and do this each time you need a further retainer? If so, what do you put on the invoice? Does the client then pay for the retainer invoice and the funds go into your paypal account (if you use Paypal)? Then, each time you bill your client, you show paid from retainer, balance owing $0.00?

 

I would appreciate understanding this process before I encounter this with a client.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Denise

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I tend to be more informal than creating an invoice (not to mention it becomes a bit of an accounting mess that way!) My retainer clients receive an email 10 days before the beginning of the month requesting that they replenish their funds for the following month. I use a Sales Receipt to track client retainer funds - the process is spelled out in my book, if you're not sure how to do this type of accounting. :)

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I'm pretty informal also. I do send an invoice to one client by email and the other is just an email reminder or phone call that payment is due.

 

If/when I have more (newer) clients, I may be more formal, but for now, this way works!

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I always send invoice for new retainer by 20th due and payable by 25th or else they lose their spot in my monthly retainer clients list and will go on my waiting list for future work yada yada. Forget how my team words it but it is super nice and non-threatening LOL! My clients know I'm in high demand for my services and can only do so much a month so they always seem to pay to keep their spot open :)

 

I have links where they can go to pay same too in the email I send them with attached invoice.

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Thank you all for your helpful feedback.

 

Tawnya, do you mind sharing the wording that you use on your retainer invoice?

 

For those of you who do not send an invoice and just send an email, do you mind explaining how you get the payment from them. Do you have a payment button on your website?

 

Thanks,

Denise

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I usually just request a check from the client. That way, I'm not paying fees to accept the money. If they prefer to use paypal (most don't mind checks) they can use my email address to send it. :)

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In the email I state:

 

Attached please find your invoice for the month of XXX for virtual assistant services. To ensure you hold a spot as a client with us for the upcoming month (and don't go onto our waiting list), payment is appreciated by the 25th so we can schedule our clients accordingly.

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I know this is an older thread - but it goes hand-in-hand with another recently re-activated thread.....

 

Most of my retainer clients are on automated monthly recurring billing - either via credit card or PayPal. The money automatically comes into my account each month, and their receipt is their invoice. Because we had an upfront agreement that they get X amount of hours monthly, for X amount of money that will be automatically charged to them and taken out of their PayPal/Credit Card each month.... they don't need a reminder, as we have an agreement.

 

For a couple clients: I do invoice them monthly, because they are not setup on an automated billing system, and they pay from that; or I have one who mails a check monthly.

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Thanks for this post, Traci. I hadn't thought of automatic payments. I like that idea. This thread is showing me, too, that every client doesn't have to be handled exactly the same. I tend to like everything nailed down procedurally, but it's good to remember there can be flexibility, too.

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