Do you withhold retention on your subcontractors? What is retention, any way? It’s a good idea to withhold retention on your subcontractors to make sure they get the job done, and on time. Retention is usually a percentage of a contract’s total dollar amount that you withhold from the contractor until the work is signed off and completed satisfactory. Sage 100 Contractor can handle, and very nicely I might add, keeping track of what you owe your subcontractors for retention.