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Free Retainer Agreement Template

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Document and article by on November 7, 2023 Written by Easy Legal Docs Editorial Team

In this article, we explore the fundamentals of Retainer Agreements and their importance in business relationships. You’ll also find a handy downloadable template to help you create your own effective agreement with ease.

What Is A Retainer Agreement?

A retainer agreement is a legal contract between a professional (like a lawyer, consultant, or freelancer) and a client. In essence, the client pays in advance for work to be specified later.

This agreement ensures the professional’s availability over a predefined period, while providing the client with a known cost for the services.

Why Use a Retainer Agreement?

Retainer agreements offer numerous benefits. For professionals, they provide a predictable income stream, enabling better budgeting and financial planning.

For clients, they secure the professional’s time and expertise, often at a discounted rate compared to ad-hoc services.

3 Types of Retainer Agreements

There are generally three types of retainer agreements:

  1. General Retainer: The client pays for the professional’s availability, regardless of whether any actual work is done.
  2. Special Retainer: The client pays for a specific job or project.
  3. Evergreen Retainer: The retainer is continually replenished to ensure the professional is always available.

How Does a Retainer Agreement Work?

The specifics of a retainer agreement can vary, but they generally involve the following steps:

  1. Both parties agree on the services to be performed and the duration of the agreement.
  2. The client pays the retainer fee upfront.
  3. The professional provides the agreed-upon services.
  4. The professional deducts their fees from the retainer amount. If the retainer is depleted before the agreement’s end, the client may need to replenish it.

Key Elements of a Retainer Agreement

To ensure that the agreement serves both parties effectively and efficiently, there are several key elements that it should contain.

  • The scope of services to be provided.
  • The duration of the agreement.
  • The retainer fee and payment terms.
  • How unused funds will be handled.
  • Any additional terms or conditions.

How to Write a Retainer Agreement: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough

Creating a Retainer Agreement doesn’t have to be a complicated process. With our Retainer Agreement template, you can easily draft a contract that protects both parties involved. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the key sections of the template.

Step 1: Scope of Services

In this section, clearly outline the services the consultant will provide. The more detailed you are, the less room there is for misunderstandings later on.

Step 2: Retainer Fee and Reimbursable Expenses

Specify the retainer fee and how it will be invoiced. Also, clarify which expenses are reimbursable and set a threshold for expenses requiring pre-approval.

Step 3: Relationship of Parties

This section establishes whether the consultant is an independent contractor or an employee. This is crucial for tax and legal liabilities.

Step 4: Termination Clauses

Outline the conditions under which the agreement can be terminated. This could include a breach of contract or a specified notice period for voluntary termination.

Step 5: Dispute Resolution

Indicate the method for resolving any disputes—be it arbitration, mediation, or negotiation.

Step 6: Ownership of Work

Specify that all work products created by the consultant will be the exclusive property of the company.

Step 7: Confidentiality

Include a clause that mandates the consultant to maintain the confidentiality of all information obtained during the term of the agreement.

By focusing on these key sections, you’ll be able to draft your own Retainer Agreement. Ready to get started? Create your free Retainer Agreement template today.

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Document Sample

Retainer Agreement Template

Below you can see a sample of the Retainer Agreement template:

Template Retainer Agreement

Retainer Agreement FAQs

Do I Need Legal Experience to Use the Template?

No, our template is designed to be user-friendly. However, it's always a good idea to consult with a legal professional to ensure that the agreement meets your specific needs.

Can I Customize the Template?

Absolutely. The template is designed to be a starting point, and you should customize it to fit the specific terms agreed upon between the consultant and the company.

What Should I Do If the Scope of Services Changes?

If the scope of services changes, the Retainer Agreement should be amended to reflect these changes. Both parties must agree to the amendments in writing.

How Do I Handle Reimbursable Expenses?

The template includes a section where you can specify which expenses are reimbursable and the process for approval.

What Happens If Either Party Wants to Terminate the Agreement?

The template includes a termination clause that outlines the conditions and procedures for ending the agreement.

How Do We Resolve Disputes?

The template has a section dedicated to dispute resolution, which can be customized to include arbitration, mediation, or negotiation as the agreed-upon method.

What About Confidentiality?

The template includes a confidentiality clause to protect sensitive information. Make sure both parties understand their obligations under this clause.

Can I Use This Template for Multiple Agreements?

Yes, you can use this template as a basis for multiple Retainer Agreements. Just make sure to customize each one to fit the specific terms agreed upon with each consultant or company.

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