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  • 1.  Retainer Language for Professional Services

    Posted 04-01-2024 02:17 PM

    All, we are considered a small business and are solely Professional Services.  It has been a very very long time since I have had the need for retainer language in my contracts.  Looking to see if anyone has some insight on that and where I can start to build this language into my contracts.

    Are there rules about when the retainer has to be released? Does it have to be applied to the first invoice or can it be one invoice at the end (or final invoice)?  

    We are thinking of charging 10% of the total yearly fee? 

    Let me know, thanks!

    Sonya Howard

  • 2.  RE: Retainer Language for Professional Services

    Posted 04-02-2024 11:07 AM

    Hi Sonya,

    There are no rules with retainers that I know of. It generally depends on the context of the engagement in my experience. Also, how they are structured (held until end or applied during the engagement) depends on the context. Many people in litigation support services will require a retainer that is applied to the final billing, and they prepare billings that are due and payable on receipt through the engagement. The amount of the retainer depends on how much financial exposure you think you will have on the project. I have seen firms charge a retainer of 50% of the expected project cost at the outset. Other firms I have seen will only work off retainer - they are paid a retainer and bill to that retainer until it is utilized, and then request an additional retainer to continue the work.

    I hope that this is helpful information.


    Ronald DiMattia CMA, CPA
    Executive Officer
    Corporate Value Partners Inc
    Cleveland OH
    United States

  • 3.  RE: Retainer Language for Professional Services

    Posted 04-03-2024 01:30 PM

    Hello all,


    I am new to this group, but Ron nailed it. Facts and circumstances of the assignment dictate how you want to proceed. I will say, in my shop, we try to predict monthly billings for the assignment. This would be equal to the retainer we ask for upfront.


    Thanks, Mike


    Mike Metzler | CPA ABV CMA CGMA ASA



    JKM Accounting & Consulting Services, LLC

    9590 East Ironwood Drive Suite 105

    Scottsdale, Arizona 85258

    T: 480 276 2283


    Transaction Advisory | Business Appraisal | Forensic Accounting



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