Retainer Fee

DEFINITION of 'Retainer Fee'

An upfront cost incurred by an individual in order to ensure the services of a consultant, freelancer, etc. A retainer fee is paid most commonly to individual third-parties who have been engaged by the payer to perform a service for them or on their behalf. These fees are almost always paid upfront and only ensure the commitment of the receiver, but does not guarantee an outcome or final product.

BREAKING DOWN 'Retainer Fee'

The most common form of retainer fees apply to lawyers, who in most cases require those seeking services to provide an upfront retainer fee, for example $500. As mentioned however, this retainer fee only ensures that services will be rendered and does not equate to other hourly or trial fees which the lawyer or firm may charge during the course of a trial or court proceedings.

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