Helping freelance designers, become 'Designerpreneurs'

How to secure predictable monthly income

Posted Sep 13th, 2015 in Designerpreneur, Business

How to secure predictable monthly income

Capturing predictable monthly income is actually easier than you think. You just need the right offer...

In my last post, I explained how upselling your services can help you generate more income. In this post, I will expand on that.

What if you could pitch your clients an idea that would secure a set dollar amount each month? Guaranteed work, and recurring monthly revenue. Pretty sweet, right?

Enter the monthly retainer package.

Q. What is a retainer?
A. It’s a fee paid in advance of work.

Most often you hear this term used by lawyers - but it works for us designers too.

First, you need to identify the possible ongoing needs of your client. What can you offer to make them more successful?

Example 1:

Let’s say you just finished a website for a landscaping company. Think about what kind of work they would want to add to their website on a regular basis.

You could put together a monthly package to keep their design portfolio updated.

Example 2:

You just finished designing print collateral for a client. You could pitch them the design of a monthly newsletter (print & digital). This could even include the copywriting*.

*This is a great opportunity to leverage your network of industry partners.

Example 3:

Your client needs on-going design support, but the project scope is not defined. You could pitch your client a set number of hours that they could retain you for each month.

This works because if your client prepays, you can offer them a deal. This could be a slight discount on your services or shorter billing increments. (eg. 15 minute time blocks rather than 1 hour minimum).

Not just new clients

While this is a great way to upsell new clients, there is no reason you can’t go back and pitch this idea to past ones.

In either case, if you can communicate WHY this is good for them, it can be an easy sell. Remember to ask yourself “What is the return on investment for my client?”.

To Recap…

  1. Identify the needs of your client (know needs or pitch new ideas)

  2. Put together a package to cover those needs

  3. Pitch the retainer idea and ROI

Follow these steps and you’ll be on the path to predictable monthly income!


  • Attila Hajzer on Sep 16th, 2015
    I'm finding that more branches of design and media industry related businesses (like photography and design) are offering a retainer package and it's working! The three examples really helped put it in perspective for how I could pitch it too! I'll be trying this on my clients soon, Thanks for the great advice!
  • Larry Chartier on Sep 16th, 2015
    Glad to hear this post was helpful, Attila. Looking forward to hearing how you make out.

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