There is a growing movement toward retainer pricing and The Alliance of Comprehensive Planners and XY Planning Network are leading the charge. As with all of the pricing styles there are pros and cons, you just have to decide what fits your style and needs best.
Today we’re talking about retainer or subscription models. Remember, we’re trying to match up your compliance limitations and your creativity with what you really want out of your business. A subscription or retainer model is an ongoing relationship. It’s generally priced on either a monthly basis or it might be paid quarterly or even annually. The key is it’s ongoing and it’s all-inclusive. You’ve pulled away that decision point from your client on whether or not they should pay to call you. They just know you’re available. They have a problem or a question, you’re a phone call or email away. That’s going to help you, in that they have that comfort level but also, hopefully, you won’t clean up any messes. They’ll call you before they make those big mistakes. Now, notice, I said the MAY do that. There are no guarantees.
Now, there are challenges, as with every pricing model. It’s a little bit trickier to show your value when you’re on retainer because they may pay you in a month where the work you’re doing isn’t as visible. So it’s up to you to be intentional about showing what you’re doing, the progress they’re making, and how you’re benefiting them. Make sure you’re doing that throughout the year and you should be good to go.
The flipside is that you’re not tying your compensation to investment performance, which can be fantastic in downtimes, but also shows that value to all the other things that come with comprehensive planning. Besides just investments.
The retainer and subscription style is going to give you a more stable client base. You’ll get to pull back a bit from marketing and making sure you’re filling that pipeline. That can be fantastic if what you really want is those long-term client relationships.
Now, I apologize, this is more food for thought than actual answers. Pros and cons abound. But think about what YOU want for yourself, for your clients, and then build the business that supports that.