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How to write a retainer contract/agreement

According to this Contractor’s guide to retainer agreements (contractoruk.com) it ought to be possible to arrange for a small business owner to agree to put me first if I want things done from time to time. I am trying to avoid being told that for example I need to wait for months if I want tiling or decorating done.

Apparently, you can't have them for too many days or else they become your employee but what if I wanted to pay someone £100 per month regularly and for them to guarantee that they would fit me in within a week or two? I would obviously pay them more for the work when they do it.

This has come about because my husband who would normally do things around the house in terms of DIY and gardening is unable to do it anymore (getting old and arthritis is playing up). So how would you go about setting this up once you have found someone suitable - and I think I have.

Replies

  • DullGreyGuyDullGreyGuy Forumite
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    What legal structure is the "small business"? If its a Limited Company then there is no risk of you being considered an employer. With you being a individual/couple then you would have no IR35 considerations. 

    You just need to be very clear on what you are getting for your retainer and what the consequences are of if they cannot meet the promise. I've done retainers before with clients, I am in a very different field, but we were talking vastly different numbers than £100 a month (more like 75% of the daily rate).

    Its easy for a company to overstretch themselves with arrangements (via retainers or not) and then find they cannot meet all their commitment when there's a spike of demand (eg heavy storms/floods etc)
  • Debbie9009Debbie9009 Forumite
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    I suspect you will have trouble finding any company that is prepared to put you first for just £100 a month, and I also suspect any company willing to do this is probably not a company you really want to be using.
  • Mrs_pbradley936Mrs_pbradley936 Forumite
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    Thank you all - it is just a local person that has set up a small business and it is a limited company.
  • edited 18 November at 4:50PM
    Mistral001Mistral001 Forumite
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    edited 18 November at 4:50PM
    If you are wanting to be treated as a repeat customer who will always get treated well and be given you priority, just keep giving them your business and while they are doing work for you, treat them well in return.


  • eddddyeddddy Forumite
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    I am trying to avoid being told that for example I need to wait for months if I want tiling or decorating done.

    I'm not quite sure how your plan could work.

    You're saying that decorators get booked up months in advance.  So you want a decorator to turn down work, and leave gaps in their bookings diary - just in case you want to give them some work.

    How many days a month are you hoping they'll keep free, in case you want to give them some work?  I suspect they'll want a lot more than £100, in return for keeping those days free and getting potentially getting no income on those days.


  • Mrs_pbradley936Mrs_pbradley936 Forumite
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    eddddy said:
    I am trying to avoid being told that for example I need to wait for months if I want tiling or decorating done.

    I'm not quite sure how your plan could work.

    You're saying that decorators get booked up months in advance.  So you want a decorator to turn down work, and leave gaps in their bookings diary - just in case you want to give them some work.

    How many days a month are you hoping they'll keep free, in case you want to give them some work?  I suspect they'll want a lot more than £100, in return for keeping those days free and getting potentially getting no income on those days.


    Well the chap suggested it because he is transitioning from working for someone else and going on his own. I have been using his boss for a long time and this young man has been allocated to us often. 
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    eddddy said:
    I am trying to avoid being told that for example I need to wait for months if I want tiling or decorating done.

    I'm not quite sure how your plan could work.

    You're saying that decorators get booked up months in advance.  So you want a decorator to turn down work, and leave gaps in their bookings diary - just in case you want to give them some work.

    How many days a month are you hoping they'll keep free, in case you want to give them some work?  I suspect they'll want a lot more than £100, in return for keeping those days free and getting potentially getting no income on those days.


    Well the chap suggested it because he is transitioning from working for someone else and going on his own. I have been using his boss for a long time and this young man has been allocated to us often. 
    It's not something I've come across myself, but my plumber has a note at the bottom of his invoice. It doesn't quite say "pay promptly for prompt attention next time you need us", but that is the clear intention of the message. 

    I do find that people I have used regularly do find it possible to 'fit me in', at least for a quick look, whereas when I try to find someone 'new' (for a different line of work), the waiting time is long, even for a quick look. 

    And I am always mindful of that note at the bottom of the plumber's invoice ... 
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • eddddyeddddy Forumite
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    Mrs_pbradley936 said:

    Well the chap suggested it because he is transitioning from working for someone else and going on his own. I have been using his boss for a long time and this young man has been allocated to us often. 

    OK - well it sounds like he might not have thought through his new business model.

    If it's his proposal, maybe you should ask him what the terms and conditions (or Service Level Agreement) are.


    For example...
    • You request 3 hours of work from him - how quickly will he turn up? Within 48 hours? Within a week? Within 2 weeks?
    • You request 3 weeks of work from him - how quickly will he turn up? Within a week? Within 2 weeks?

    What if he's just started a 3 week decorating job for another client? Will he walk off that job to come to you?

    Will he walk off your job to go to another priority client?

    How many clients will he be paying him £100 a month to get priority? 5, 10 or more?  What if 5 priority clients all ask him to do work at the same time? 



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