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Jun 12, 2001
Interview

High Tech Ad Firm Gains New Clients by Saying No to Retainer Fees

SUMMARY: Arguing about retainer vs. per-project pricing? Check out this quick article right away.
"A lot of people's eyebrows go up when we say that we don't charge retainers, " says Protean Marketing Account Director Cassandra Farrington. The Austin TX and UK-based agency which specializes in the electronics assembly and semiconductor industries has rarely asked for client retainers in the past, instead charging on a per item basis.

This unusual philosophy may be one of the reasons why Protean has landed four new clients in the last 45 days alone ... while many other small high tech agencies have lost clients (or even gone under.) Farrington thinks in this age of careful cost-accounting, clients like to know they pay for exactly the services they get, "and not just some bill for $2k, $5k or $10k a month." On the other side, the Protean team are sure they'll get paid for all of their efforts, including time in meetings and travel time.

Farrington suggests a la carte agency charges may be the wave of the future, "Clients have to get out of that retainer box and make sure they know what they're paying for."
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