Many fp. clients work on the basis of a Retainer. Most often, the retainer is billed each month for a pre-determined flat amount. regardless of the amount of work related to that retainer, that the client asks of the agency. The length of the retainer based agreement could be one year, or several months. In this article, we will review how to use the Projects module to handle a calendar year of retainer work, allow your agency to easily bill the recurring flat fee, as well as manage and track time to the work that comes into the agency.
On the Project Add/ Edit page:
1) Give the Project a name - such as Retainer Work + the year it is for.
2) Enter all or a portion of the company the work will be for. Also (optionally) enter a Description.
3) The Project Code can be up to 10 characters, and really be whatever you would like, and would make sense for you.
4) Project Type can be configured via List Maintenance.
5) Enter the Project Budget as the total of the flat amounts you're set to receive each month. In this example, we're getting 3K a month, for 12 months, for a $36,000 Project Budget.
6) Fill in any other optional (white) fields, such as Project Term or Project Description, and click Submit when ready. Should you make an error or omission on this page, you can always make changes in the next steps.
Add the Job from which you will Invoice Each Month
For this retainer work, you are going to create a single job from which you will generate the flat fee invoice of 3K each month, and then as many more jobs as needed for staff to track time, that will reflect the work the client requests over the year. All these jobs, will be nicely organized under this project. Begin by creating the billing job. From the Project Details page, click Add Estimate.
On the Estimate Add/ Edit page, fill in all the required (yellow) fields, and any optional (white) fields of your choosing. We do recommend:
1) Use the List Maintenance area to create an Estimate Type for Retainer. It will make it very easy to find all these billing jobs down the line.
2) Enter a Delivery Date for the end of the retainer/ year.
3) Create a Service Group and Service specific to retainers. Making the service type an Internal Expense, will mean that no staff member can accidentally track time to this estimate/ job which is just intended to do the monthly bill. Please review this article to learn the steps: Adding Service Groups & Services
Click Submit when ready.
On the Estimate Details page, you can enter any further description you wish at the Service Group or Service level. Descriptions will pull to the invoice you'll create from this estimate job.
1) Use the Override field to enter the value of 1/12th for the year's retainer. In this case, $3,000. Click Save when done.
2) Mark the Estimate as "Approved." This is a good habit to get into - should someone changes an approved estimate, the system will automatically save a revision.
3) As this Estimate does not need client approval, (and you want to be able to invoice for the retainer), click the Add Job button.
You've now made the job from which you will invoice this retainer work for the year. Use the breadcrumb to navigate back to the Project Details page.
Add the Job (s)from which you will Track Time
When the client reaches out for work throughout the year, that is to be covered by the retainer, you will want to put that work through fp. and track time to it. From the Project Details page, click Add Estimate.
Fill in the Estimate Add/ Edit page, as you would for any non-retainer work. Fill in all required (yellow) fields and optional (white) fields. And pick at least one Service within a Service Group. Click Submit when ready.
You do not need to (but can if you choose to) enter in hour or costs. Click Save when ready.
In order for your staff to begin tracking time to this work, it will need to be turned into a Job. Click the Add Job button in the top right.
Repeat this process as other work comes in for this client and this retainer over the year. As time progresses, and staff track their time, the financials for this project will start to flesh out. From the Project Details page, and the tab called Job Financials, you can easily see how your tracked time values, compare to the value of the retainer. You can also see this information overviewed in the top right of the page.
And be encouraged to use the Start and End Date fields to narrow down the results by a date range of your choosing.
Invoice for the Month
When you are ready to invoice, go to the Job Details page for the Billing Job you created. Click the Add Invoice button from the top right of the page.
On the Add Invoice window, you have a few choices to make:
1) The Invoice Type should be Interim or Final. Only pick Final if this is the last invoice you need to send. Choosing Final as the Invoice Type will move this billing job to a closed status.
2) Choose an Invoice Date - perhaps you need it to be the first of last day of the month. By default. the date will be today's date.
3) Choose Estimated as the Calculate From value.
4) Choose to bill only a percentage of the Estimated value - 50 for 50% etc. and/ or if this amount is to be taxed, choose from your available Tax Groups.
Click Create when ready, Note that any choices you make here, can be adjusted on the next page.
Provided the numbers look good, and you don't want to type in any descriptions, you can go ahead and Save. By making this billing job amount as 1/12th of the overall budget, and calculating from Estimated, the correct amount for a month's worth of the retainer is already set for each month we invoice.
If you want to input something like a Payment Note, or change the invoice date, type, or add/ remove taxes, click Edit Details.
The invoice can now be printed/ saved as a PDF and sent to your client. You can also use the Notify Client feature to send via fp. to your client (so long as your Invoice Contact has an email address in the system). Note that invoices via the Notify Client feature come from email@example.com
Repeat this Add Invoice process each month of the retainer.
We welcome your questions or concerns on this process: firstname.lastname@example.org