In a nutshell, here's how a retainer job works:

You create a retainer job and, if selected, you can automatically create monthly sub-jobs, saving you loads of time! Schedule work for each month within the monthly sub-job. Run the WIP Recon report to track the progress of each month as well as the retainer as a whole.

Let's go through it step-by-step

Step 1: Add a Job and mark it as a retainer:

  • You can either create a new job and mark it as a retainer or you can edit an existing job and set it as a retainer.
  • While you are editing the job, enter the specific fields relevant to the retainer.
  • You can then choose to create monthly sub-jobs. Note: You don't have to create the monthly sub-jobs right away. You can edit the job at a later stage and select to create monthly sub-jobs when the client has given the go-ahead.
  • Once you've filled in the fields, save the job. 
  • If selected, the system will automatically create a sub-job for each month between the start and end date of the job.  

Below is an explanation of the retainer fields:

Retainer: Set the job as a retainer.

Dates (Start and End Date): The start and end date of the whole retainer period. E.g. from the 1st of January 2018 until the 31st of December 2018. 

Once-off Amount: The amount of once-off costs for the whole retainer period.

Monthly Budget Amount: The budget for each month in the retainer. The amount will be set as the job budget for each monthly sub-job when automatically created.

Create Monthly Sub-Jobs: A sub-job will be created for each month between the start and end date of the whole retainer period. Most of the information on the parent job will be the same on the sub-jobs. E.g the Company and Contact will be the same as the parent job. 

The following fields are only relevant when creating monthly sub-jobs:

  • Beginning Status: The status of each monthly sub-job. The sub-jobs do not have to have the same status as the parent job. 
  • Monthly Sub-Job Template: Choose a job to be used as a template for the monthly sub-jobs. The parent job's information will still be used to create the monthly sub-jobs, however, if the parent job has nothing specified, it will use the information on the template job. Tasks from the template job will also be copied across to each monthly sub-job. 

Step 2: Issue a Cost Estimate for the month or as the client requires

  • You can either issue a cost estimate on:
    • the parent job for the whole retainer period
    • the sub-job for each month in the retainer
  • View the job, hover over the Add button and select Cost Estimate
  • Fill in the necessary details and issue the cost estimate to the client

Step 3: Add tasks to the monthly sub-job for the month's retainer work

  • Add tasks to the specific month's sub-job:
    • You can create tasks from the cost estimate or add tasks as required.
  • If you used a monthly sub-job template, the tasks from the job template will be carried over to each sub-job.

Step 4: Monitor your progress

  • View the overall progress on the parent job, select the Include sub-jobs checkbox. 
  • View each month's progress in the monthly sub-jobs.
  • Check that you've set a Budget Warning Threshold under your Company Settings. The system will alert you when the job has gone over the specified percentage of the budget and estimated time.
  • On the Job Dashboard, look at the following to monitor the progress:
    • Budget Spent dial: indicates the amount of the budget that has been used.
    • Time Completed dial: indicates the amount of time tracked against what was estimated.
    • Finance Block: summarises the estimated and actual amounts to make sure you're not caught off guard when you recon the retainer at the end of the month.

Step 5: Issue a Tax Invoice for the month

  • View the retainer parent job and make sure that Include sub-jobs is selected.
  • Select View Associated Accounts. This will open the accounts page.
  • Find the cost estimate for either for the specific month or the cost estimate for the whole the retainer period and select Add Tax Invoice.
  • Issue a Tax Invoice linked to the sub-job for the month's work on the retainer.

Step 6: Recon your retainer

  • The WIP report will give you a comprehensive view of retainer jobs.
  • Access the WIP report under Reports > Accounts > Job WIP Recon ALL report.
  • Apply the necessary filters.
  • With the Aggregate Sub-Jobs checkbox, you can choose whether you want to view each sub-job in the retainer or view the parent job of the retainer with the sub-jobs data aggregated:
    • Leaving Aggregate Sub-Jobs unticked will list all the sub-jobs and the parent job in the report and include the data for each job. 
    • Have Aggregate Sub-Jobs ticked will only display the parent job and the aggregated data of the related sub-jobs to give an overview of the whole retainer.
  • Compare the Estimated Revenue with the Actual Revenue, as well as the Gross Profit and the Net Profit on the retainer.
  • Compare the Estimated Time with the Tracked Time as well as the billable amounts for the retainer. 
  • View the Remaining Full budget on the parent job for the whole retainer period or on the sub-job for the specific month. 
  • Deselect the columns that aren't relevant to you and create and favourite a saved report to use in future. 

Steps 2 through 6 could be repeated monthly.