Each engagement begins with a written proposal which outlines the scope of the work to be performed, the approach which will be taken to complete the assignment, the time required for the engagement and proposes a fee arrangement.
Typically, fee arrangements call for payment of a monthly retainer. There are important advantages to this approach:
First, this approach greatly helps the client in budgeting for professional fees. The amount of time required by a particular client over a number of months can vary wildly from month to month.
Second, the monthly retainer is inclusive of all normal expenses for travel, copies, software licenses, binding, phone, fax, etc. There are no hidden costs or additional charges.
Third, this approach tends to assure continuity of the business relationship while completing the work-plan. There is no “clock running” so clients do not hesitate to call.
In the event it becomes clear that the work will take more time than initially anticipated, that situation can be discussed and addressed by a mutually acceptable modification to the retainer for future months. The engagement may typically be cancelled on notice, with no additional fees owed.
In the past few years, retainer agreements have ranged from $2,000 to $15,000 monthly.
Othe Fee Arrangements
In some cases, depending on the nature of the work, fees can be structured as a fixed project cost, a contingency fee, hourly fees extended by the actual hours worked, or some combination suited to the needs of the client.