6 Tips to Set Up an Animation Video Retainer

Whether you’re a freelance animator or studio owner, finding a sustainable amount of work can be challenging. With some animation clients giving you one and done projects, the need to find more work is crucial to keeping you afloat. Thankfully, setting up animation video retainers can help solve this problem. 

In this blog post, we’ll be going over different types of animation video retainers, the pros and cons of a retainer agreement, and six tips to set up animation video retainers.

What Is an Animation Video Retainer?

a man asking about animation video retainers

GIF by Kim's Convenience via GIPHY

Essentially, an animation video retainer is a monthly subscription where you make ongoing videos for your animation clients instead of just one and done. This means that you will be able to secure a steady stream of work for longer periods.

Aside from earning a monthly income and minimizing the time it takes to secure work with new clients, it also gives you the opportunity to add meaningful value to your animation client’s videos.

An example of an animation video retainer is Promoshin’s Unlimited Video Plan. This type of animation video retainer allows the animation clients to commission the animation video production company to do as many videos as they want while paying a low monthly fee. 

The quality of the animation video is tailored exactly to the client’s liking. They get to choose the length of the video, have unlimited access to revisions, and are assisted by a full 8-person team of creatives to ensure that the animated video is in line with their brand’s goals and up to their standards.

Pros of Animation Video Retainers

an animator working on his laptop

Image from Csaba Balazs via Unsplash

1) Earn a Monthly Income

Retainer agreements will help you earn a monthly income with a consistent volume of work. Due to this steady stream of revenue, you can budget your time and focus on the workload ahead.

2) Attract Animation Clients

Typically, animation video retainers are enticing to animation clients as they prefer to work with an animator who understands their brand. It will be much easier to secure animation video retainers with clients who you have worked with for a long time due to the relationship you’ve built up with them.

3) Spend Less Time Looking for Animation Clients

These types of agreements are usually pitched to animation clients who are looking to work with you for the long-term. In effect, you will spend less of your time looking for new animation clients to work with.

Even if you offer a discount, the money will most likely balance out in the end, provided that the animation client will give you a consistent amount of work for the coming months or years.

Cons of Animation Video Retainers

man working on his laptop

Image from Tim Gouw via Unsplash

1) Decline Potential Opportunities

While working under an animation video retainer there is a possibility of you missing out on other business opportunities with other animation clients.

This may be due to the schedules set by the retainer agreement or the amount of workload you are given that may conflict with other animation projects with potential clients. 

2) Deal With Difficult Animation Clients

Since you are under a retainer, the animation client may demand a huge chunk of your time and resources.

Aside from working on the animation project, you may also need to set up calls with the client for revisions on the script, last-minute edits on the video, illustrations, and the like. It may become easy for the animation client to take advantage of you.

3) Get Paid Less

Due to the wholesale nature of an animation video retainer, it is not out of bounds for the animation client to expect a discount when paying for your services in bulk. This is why retainer agreements are desirable to clients after all.

There may be months where you will have a relatively lax workload, while there may be times when you will be given too much work.

It may seem as if the amount of work you put into a project is worth less when you are being paid an agreed-upon rate that does not translate the amount of hours you put in. This can also pile up with the discounts that you’ve offered at the start of the agreement.

21 Types of Animation Video Retainers You Can Offer

There are a variety of animation video types that you can offer to satisfy your animation client’s needs. Listed below are just some examples of animation video retainers.

  1. Explainer Videos
  2. Commercial Videos
  3. Social Media Videos
  4. Tutorial Videos
  5. HR Videos
  6. Sales Videos
  7. E-Learning Videos
  8. Mini-Series
  9. Event Promos
  10. Onboarding Videos
  11. Testimonial Videos
  12. Case Study Videos
  13. Crowdfunding Videos
  14. Promo & Sales Videos
  15. Holiday Videos
  16. About Us Videos
  17. Recruiting Videos
  18. Company Jingle Videos
  19. Before and After Videos
  20. Thank You Videos
  21. Tips & Tricks Videos

6 Tips to Set Up Animation Video Retainers

1) Choose an Animation Client

a man choosing with his eyes closed

GIF from Big Brother After Dark via GIPHY

Closing the deal for an animation video retainer will typically work best when pitched to an animation client whom you’ve been working for a longer time. These repeat clients know that you understand their brand and business goals due to the relationship that you’ve cultivated with them over past projects.

If a repeat client is looking to work with an animator or animation studio for a longer period of time, they will definitely have you as one of the priorities if not the priority to hire.

Despite this, animation video retainers can still be pitched to newer clients. Make sure to consider the risks before pitching an animation video retainer to a new client. You may not know much about their brand or business goals, which may give them a few reservations about hiring you on retainer. 

2) Showcase the Value of Animation Video Retainers

a man talking about the value of animation video retainers

GIF from NFL via GIPHY

Before diving headfirst into pitching an animation video retainer with a client, it may be best to take a step back and ask them more about their business goals. This ensures that you and your animation client are on the same page and will allow you to fine-tune your business retainer proposal to fully meet their needs.

Aside from learning more about your animation client’s goals and pinpointing their problems, you may also offer various upsells and cross-sells such as short commercial cuts, subtitles, different aspect ratios, that can help increase your profit.

This may help mitigate the discounts that you might need to offer when pitching to your animation client. 

3) Suggest a Trial Period

a person who wants to give it a try

GIF from Reddit via GIPHY

As a freelance animator, it may be difficult to ask for a retainer agreement up front as it may come across as distrustful to your animation client. However, pitching a trial period of the animation video retainer agreement with your client should help them get a feel of your services.

At the same time, you will be able to get a good grasp of the workload that the client will be demanding from you. After the trial period, you may be able to renegotiate the retainer agreement with your client depending on how it went. 

Aiming for a time-bound contract will give you and your animation client a better sense of each other’s workflow and rhythm. Remember to include goals and milestones in the animation retainer agreement in order to track your progress and deliverables with the animation client. 

In addition, remember to include an exit strategy in your agreement. Aside from it being standard in any time-bound contract, your client will appreciate the option as it keeps disruptions to their business to a minimum.

4) Define the Scope and Limitation of Your Work

a man who knows how to set his boundaries

GIF from Digital Spy via GIPHY

When pitching a retainer agreement, you must always remember to set the scope and limitations of your work. By being able to specify exactly what you will be doing for your animation client, you set the boundaries and the amount of time and effort you will be putting into the project.

Here, you may be able to set your minimum price, the number of hours you will be working on the project per week, the number of deliverables you give the client by the end of the month among other things. 

Having set boundaries will prevent the animation client from taking advantage of you while the project is ongoing. You will be able to focus your time on other ongoing animation projects you have on your plate or use your time to rest to avoid burning out

5) Add Packages to Your Animation Video Retainers

a man who talks about how special his animation video retainers are

GIF from 2020 MTV Video Music Awards via GIPHY

Adding packages to your retainer agreements increases the chances of closing the deal with your animation client as it will offer more choices for them to choose from. Consider offering a basic package with the bare requirements and offer higher-end packages which include more that you can give to your client.

Listed below are some examples of packages you can add to your animation video retainers.

  • Package A: Unlimited videos per month for 3 months. From scriptwriting to final production.
  • Package B: Unlimited videos per month for 6 months. From scriptwriting to final production.
  • Package C: Unlimited videos per month for 1 year. From scriptwriting to final production.

By giving different options, you are giving your animation client the freedom to choose which of your services will best fit their needs. They will also appreciate the different options especially if they are working with a budget.

6) Be Realistic

a woman who is realistic

GIF from The Bachelorette via GIPHY

Lastly, keep in mind that you must always be realistic. The lure of a steady monthly paycheck can easily fool you into biting off more than you can chew. These constant deadlines and demands can quickly pile up along with other animation projects that you’ve got going on. 

If you happen to run into some complications with your animation client during the trial period, you can choose to opt out of the agreement after the trial.

These complications can come from the client being too demanding, rude, being unclear with instructions, and the like. These things can take a toll on you in the long run. With that being the case, a steady monthly income is not worth losing your mental health over.

Summary

Animation video retainers are a great alternative to find work for freelance animators and studio owners. Due to the difficulty of constantly having to find animation clients, a steady monthly from business video retainers will help you cover your various living expenses. 

These types of retainer agreements can help you stay afloat while there are no new animation projects on the horizon and at the same time, maintain your relationships with your animation clients. 

Animation video retainers are also enticing to the clients since they get to work with an animator that already knows their brand, and they get to release videos regularly. This not only establishes their online presence but also increases their engagement with their target audience. 

There are various animation video retainers that you can pitch to your client. These include explainer videos, commercial videos, and social media videos among other things

Aside from being difficult to ask and discuss it up front, one glaring problem of working under an animation video retainer is the amount of time and resources that you will have to devote to it.

This can lead you to either turn down potential projects from other clients or overwork yourself with too many projects at a time. 

Another downside of working under a retainer agreement is the possibility of getting less pay. Animation clients will usually expect you to offer a discount when they purchase your services in bulk.

This may lead to you getting paid less per video when compared to getting the full amount in a single animation project. Even so, if the agreement stretches over a longer period of time, the money can balance itself out in the end. 

Learn to say no when you cannot follow through on an animation client’s deliverables when pitching a business retainer or even during the trial period.

You can also choose to decline if the animation clients are being unreasonable, rude, or too demanding during the trial period. Earning a steady monthly income is not worth overworking yourself over. 

For more information and tips regarding animation and its business side, consider signing up for our free masterclass and download a copy of our free marketing handbook.

JOIN FREE MASTERCLASS
Build Your Freelance Animation Business

Should you be an On-Staff Animator, Freelance Animator, or Studio Owner?

X
crossmenuchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram