I recently finished a Wordpress project for a client, and the client wants me to continue providing support, update, and develop the site for $20 per hour. The client says the tasks will be small, and I should probably only bill them 10-20 minutes each time they contact me, which will not be frequent either (possibly a few times a month, if that). I don't see the point of billing for half an hour ($10) a month, especially considering I may spend much more time on non-billable tasks such as replying to their emails, providing support that doesn't involve changing the website, sending them an invoice each month, and reminding them to pay me. So I am considering proposing a retainer agreement. But I noticed all of the retainer agreements I found online were only for maintenance tasks, not for development. Is there a particular reason why that is? And is there a better, alternative system for billing for my current situation?

  • I would not work if the work is less than 10 hours each month. you will earn nothing and spend more time doing admin stuff. – Peter MV Jan 11 '15 at 20:17

What client suggest is not good for both of you because:

  • it has too much overhead
  • value you are giving to client might vanish
  • relationship when value vanish gets worse
  • relationship gets worse, you can't continue working together

And you need to convince client that a retainer with you is the best option:

  • you developed site and and are familiar with it, a new freelancer will need time to get familiar
  • hire someone each time client needs something is too uncomfortable, select people, handle accounting, know another person way of work, etc.
  • a retainer, on the other side frees both of you of a lot of administrative, human resources work, and uncertainty.

Take into account that when doing a retainer you need to keep client informed of what did s/he got for what s/he is paying. This is essential to keep relationship flowing.

I have seen retainers for development in serious companies, so it is not weird to me.

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