Frequently Asked Questions

What are Retainers?

A Retainer is one of several ways to bill your Clients. With a retainer, you can bill your Client for a fixed amount of money upfront and track time towards the client’s Retainer balance. If you track more time beyond the balance, those hours are automatically flagged as excess hours. You can then bill this excess time into a one-off Invoice.

Retainers allow you to set clear expectations on the terms for the ongoing arrangement, including the Retainer amount, excess hour charges, and more details into services.

Note: Retainers are currently being worked on while we're making changes. Retainers will soon become available on Plus and Premium plans.



Create Retainers

Retainers can be created in one of two ways:

  1. Click on either:
    1. The Dashboard section, then click Create New, and select Retainer
    2. The Clients section, then click on your Client, and select the + button under the Retainers tab
  2. In the form, select a Client if there isn’t one already selectedSet retainer terms and billing schedule form.
  3. Next, indicate the Hours Per Period that you’ll be working for
  4. Indicate how much you’ll charge for in the Fees Per Period
  5. Choose a frequency in the How Often? dropdown
  6. Enter a Rate for Excess Hours, which will be used on any extra hours tracked beyond the Retainer period
  7. Next, choose a Retainer Start Date
  8. Click on Set a custom invoice issue date if you’d like to choose a different Issue Date for the Invoice
  9. Then for the How Many? option, select either Infinite (to never stop creating Invoices) or Periods Remaining with the number of Invoices to create
  10. Click on the Set and Continue button.

Your Retainer will be generated and you can now customize it like any other Invoice or Recurring Template.
Preview of Retainer.

Once you’re done, click on the Save… button to review the email and finish. The Retainer will generate an Invoice on the Retainer Start Date you’ve chosen.

Track Retainers

Once the Retainer is set up, you and your team can track time towards it. You’ll also be able to monitor the amount of time tracked so you can stay profitable and revise the Retainer terms as needed. 

To track your Retainers, use these steps: 

  1. Go to the Client section
  2. Click on the Client you want to view Retainers for
  3. Under the Retainers tab, click on the Retainer itself to view details

Each section of the Retainers area is broken down into detail below: 
Retainer summary screen.

  • Retainer Card - This displays details of your Retainer
  • Retainer Progress - Displays hours tracked towards your Retainer budget over the duration of your Period, including projected revenue. A progress line is shown in blue, and if it’s approaching or surpassing the budget line in red, you may want to revisit the Retainer with your Client before excess hours are logged
  • Budget, Period Revenue, Remaining in Period - Shows how your Retainer is performing over time with total time tracked, total revenue earned, and any outstanding time entries, making it easy to see if you’re often under, on, or over budget
  • Invoices - This tab shows you all Invoices generated by the Retainer, including any excess hours you’ve logged
  • Time Entries - Use this tab to see all time entries tracked towards the Retainer, as well as another way to add additional time entries if needed 

Excess Hours

Any time you track beyond the terms of your Retainer will automatically be logged as Excess Hours. You have the option to charge any Excess Hours back to your Client after the end of your Retainer period. 

Once your Retainer period has expired, you’ll be able to create an Invoice for Excess Hours with these steps: 

  1. Go to the Client section
  2. Click on the Client you want to view Retainers for
  3. Under the Retainers tab, click on the Retainer to view details
  4. Above the Retainer details, click on the Generate an invoice link in the banner for excess time
    Link to generate an invoice for excess time.
  5. Continue with editing your Invoice as needed and click Save or Send… when you’re done.


How many Retainers can each Client have? 

Clients can have one Retainer each. 

How do I track time towards a Client’s Retainer? 

Use these steps:

  1. Go to the Time Tracking section (or launch your Chrome Timer extension)
  2. Use the Start Timer button, Recent Timers section, or click on the + button
  3. Fill out your time entry details
  4. Ensure the box next to Apply to Retainer is checked off 
    Apply to retainer checkbox on time entry.
  5. Hit Log Time or Save when you’re done. The time entry will now be associated with the Retainer.

How do I delete my Retainer? 

Use the below steps: 

  1. Go to the Client section
  2. Click on the Client you want to view Retainers for
  3. Under the Retainers tab, click on the Retainer to view details
  4. Click on the More Actions button
  5. Click on Delete
  6. Click OK to confirm.

What’s the difference between Retainers & Recurring Templates?

  • Recurring Templates are used for flat rate products or services that are billed on a recurring basis. These do not need to be reconciled against a number of hours worked.

  • Retainers are ideal for when a Client reserves a block of time for an agreed upon amount. This amount can then be reconciled against the work completed to account for any excess time.  

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