Retainer agreements basically reserve a portion of the consultant's time for a month.
Retainer agreements can be made for as little as 4 hours/month, to as many as 40 hours/month (note: limited availability at this level). The "typical" agreement is for 16 hours/month and lasts between 9 and 12 months.
Retainer agreements are ideal for the business owner who either knows he needs assistance in a number of areas or who has received results from a business profile analysis indicating several areas needing attention.
Additionally, a business owner who desires an objective outside look as part of his/her "board of directors" can greatly benefit from having a retainer agreement.