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Engagement Agreement for Annual Packages

samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin
Sam, Aaron, others:

Inspired by Sam & Aaron's approach, I have decided to try annual packages for my business clients. I am super excited and will be sure to let you all know how it turns out.

In the meantime, is there anything special that I should be including in my engagement agreement? Anybody willing to share their engagement agreement for subscription/true retainer clients?

Thank you!


  • Here are a few key things:

    1. Absolutely require payment by automatic credit/debit card transactions. You don't have time to chase receivables.

    2. Include language that has the client acknowledge the front-end-loaded nature of this work so that you can give yourself the option of charging an early termination fee for the agreement at your discretion. (You won't have to use it often, but it's nice to have).

    3. Get first and last month's fee up front to help cover a bit of the up-front nature of your work, and to make sure they have skin in the game. I have this described as an enrollment fee so that it is earned on contract and not sitting in your trust account for a year.

    4. Use "as needed" instead of "unlimited" when setting your expectations of how they contact you. And, train them to email you first so that you decided if you're going to just respond to the email, or SCHEDULE a call.

    5. Set the ballpark project expectations in your agreement at the level where you can stand behind them with integrity. Let them know that you will tell them if they're moving beyond the spirit of the agreement if you start to feel like they are taking advantage of you. The cool thing is that if you're transactional, you can also fire them if they're being jerks.

    With that in mind, here's my latest flat monthly fee agreement.
  • Kevin,

    Wow, your engagement agreement is comprehensive! Thank you so much! You pointed out a lot of things that I hadn't thought about. I do think this will be an awesome way to serve my clients and also enjoy a more predictable income.

    Have many of your clients dropped out after the first few months? Its something I have been thinking about.

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin
    For what it's worth, here's our basic monthly agreement. I'm violently allergic to long contracts, so ours is a bit shorter than Kevin's.
  • Thank you both! Super helpful. 
  • Sam, 


    Kevin already answered this but in your experience how many clients have dropped out of the program, ie, stopped paying before the year was up? What do you do if a client drops out after you have done a few months worth of work? Also, do you do the annual review at the time the client buys the package or do you always do them in November? 
  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin
    We don't have a one-year requirement. Instead, we charge a flat fee for formation. One included service--the annual review--takes a lot of work. To control for people who might otherwise come and go, we do all our annual reviews in November for companies who have been formed and a member since February 1st of the same year.

    We do have a new company package which would require membership for one year. Nobody has opted for that package, and I think it's likely that we will drop that package at some point.
  • PS - Kevin, I really like your Schedule 1 where you list the flat fees of various services you may offer under the agreement. It helps the client to see the benefit of the Annual Plan and its quite fair because, in the event that a client terminates, its clear how much they should owe you based on the services rendered.
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