Recently, one of my coaching clients came to me with a problem.
She’d gotten her freelance writing business off the ground, and she had landed some great clients. But one of those clients kept asking her to perform small, miscellaneous tasks that were outside the scope of their agreed-upon work.
They were all relatively minor. In theory, they wouldn’t take much time to complete. And because my coaching client was eager to keep the client happy, she was doing most of them at no charge.
Unfortunately, the tasks were adding up over the course of a month. She didn’t want to say no. But she didn’t want to keep taking them on with no compensation.
It was turning into a dilemma.
It’s a Common Issue
This isn’t an unusual situation. Many writers will face this dilemma with certain clients. I certainly have!
You’re not sure whether to bill for these tasks. After all, you don’t want to “nickel and dime” your clients. And you recognize the value of fostering goodwill by doing a little extra here and there.
And besides, billing for each of these tasks individually would be an administrative nightmare!
But as your relationship with the client continues—and these tasks continue to come up—you start to feel resentful.
Time is your most valuable nonrenewable resource, and these tasks are eating it up!
Usually, the client isn’t purposefully taking advantage of you. They just know they need the work done, and you seem like the most logical person to do it.
So what’s the solution to this conundrum?
Here’s a Creative Solution
In this case, and others like it, I suggest offering a small retainer agreement to the client for miscellaneous marketing services.
A retainer agreement, in its most basic form, is simply an agreement whereby a client pays you a fixed sum of money every month to retain your services.
It allows the client to “reserve you” for a certain amount of work every month.
So instead of continuing to do these miscellaneous tasks for free, you politely explain to the client that you typically charge for these services. Thus far, you’ve been doing them for free as a courtesy. But you’ll no longer be able to do the work at no cost.
So as an alternative, you suggest a retainer agreement. With a retainer agreement, you guarantee the client that you’ll perform these tasks in a timely fashion every month.
In exchange, you’ll charge the client a monthly flat fee for these miscellaneous tasks. Say, $300 per month (or some number that would easily take care of the average needs that come up). The client will know exactly how much they’ll need to pay, so there are no surprises.
Every few months, you can look at the agreement to make sure it’s still equitable. You’ll both make sure that you’re not overcharging and that the client isn’t giving you too much to do based on the fee.
Retainer agreements really are a win-win solution. The client gets their work completed. And you get paid for these important miscellaneous tasks that keep coming up.
I’m willing to bet that any reasonable client with whom you’ve established trust will be receptive to the idea.
Give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose.
By the way … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a free copy of my training class for writers who are new to freelancing.
It’s called “The 3 Magic Levers: How to Get Your Writing Business Off the Ground and Land Your First Paying Client.” — Click Here
2. Download a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.
You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here
3. Join our “Get Better Clients Academy”
You’ll get a personalized action plan based on where you are today in your business. Plus all the tools, scripts, checklists, cheat sheets and templates you’ll need to escape feast-or-famine … grow your income … and land clients who love and respect you. — Click Here
4. Get your website DONE!
If you’ve been struggling to get your website done … or if you’re not happy with what you’ve got today… let my team and me build you a beautiful website for your writing business. We’ll do all the hard work! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org … put “WEBSITE” in the subject line … and I’ll reply with the details.