Contractors or consultants transitioning from one-off projects to a more regular and constant pattern of working will typically require – or be offered – payment on a retained basis. This regular form of payment is known as a retainer and is a monthly or quarterly fee (as appropriate) offered to ensure continued engagement by a contractor, to maintain systems, for example, to conduct repeat work, or to be on call. While retainers offer some form ofrf regular income to non-employees, they also come with formal obligations to supply services as agreed.

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