Freelancers, lawyers, and other professionals, can take work based on a retainer. However, the word "retainer" can be confusing, as it has differing definitions:
- A retainer can be a upfront fee paid for x number of hours per month. If the number of billable hours logged is less than x, then the retainer is partially refunded, and if it is over x, then an invoice is sent for those additional hours.
- Alternatively, a retainer can be non-refundable, so that if fewer than x hours are used in a month, no money is returned. But additional hours are charged through an invoice.
- Alternatively, a retainer can be a fixed fee that is paid every month no matter how many hours are logged
I'm looking for a better word than "retainer", to make it clear what I mean from the get-go. Any ideas?