Product Design retainer

Hire a product designer, without paying a full-time salary.

The average product design salary in the United States is between $75,000 and $119,000. That’s not something everyone can commit to, and it puts a lot of businesses at a disadvantage. So what are your options?

Need a designer? You have 4 options. 

Image that shows some of the inconveniences of hiring full time. For example, a W4, I9 and health insurance.

1. Hire an in-house product designer

Sure, they're always available but you have to pay the big bucks to entice any product designer worth their salt. Don't forget the time-consuming and potentially expensive hiring process. And to top it off, they might not be a good fit for your business!

2. Hire a freelancer

Freelancers can definitely be more cost-effective, but the back-and-forth on proposals, contracts and deposits can get old really quickly. Much like hiring a full-time product designer, there is also a time-consuming and potentially expensive contracting process. But possibly the biggest drawback to working with a traditional freelancer is the lack of ongoing availabilty. If a new gig comes along, they're gonna take it. And we won't mention the freelance flaky factor.  

Image that shows some of the inconveniences of working with a freelance designer
Image that shows some of the inconveniences of hiring full time. For example, a W4, I9 and health insurance.

3. Use an ‘unlimited’ design service

In theory you'll get hundreds of small design tasks each month for a fixed price. Sounds great! But of course, when you read the small print, you'll see this isn't the case. Doh! But the real problem is the lack of strategic input or thought. You'll work with whichever designer is on-hand and sadly they won't specialize in product design.

4. Hire an expert on a retainer.

And that’s me, Nathan 👋. I run a monthly product design retainer to help software companies like yours get all those ongoing design improvements done – without the commitment of paying for a full-time product designer, skipping from freelancer to freelancer or being disappointed with a low-quality unlimited design service. 

Image of me, Nathan Powell

A designer who's a business owner too.

I’ve been a designer for the last 17 years. I’ve also launched and run several products. Here are just a select few:

image of the Nusii proposals log

My first SaaS Nusii, was (and still is) proposal software for creative agencies. I grew it with my co-founder until 2019 when I exited and moved on. I learned a lot about what it means to take a business from 0 to 1 and beyond. 

Image of the Feature Flux logo

Feature Flux is my current SaaS and much like Nusii, it's an app for creatives. It's a design collaboration tool for product teams, more specifically, the design process. Gone are the days of asking, "Is this the latest version?

Image of the Develop Your UX logo

Develop Your UX is my free email course for founders and developers at early stage startups. Over 5 days you'll learn enough about practical UX to be dangerous! The intention is to develop this course into a book :)

Unlike many designers, I know how to run a business, which puts me in a unique position to help you. I’ll be your go-to product designer who not only knows your SaaS inside and out, but also has first-hand experience in what founders need. 

Where I can help you.

an image showing examples of my product design work

Building interactive prototypes to test assumptions before coding (save $$$).

Sorting through user research and offer critical insights.

Defining a plan of easy wins and longer-term plays.

Giving guidance on new features before you start coding. 

Analyzing areas of friction within your SaaS and designing alternative solutions.

Designing structural wireframes.

Ideating solutions to longstanding problems.

Creating visual mockups.

Improving onboarding.

Marketing graphics.

Customer journey reviews. From signup to activation.

Landing page design

Start small and grow as you need.

I offer 3 different packages, the only difference between them is the number of hours you think you might need (save15% discount on the Enterprise package). 



10 hours per month

The Indie plan is best for SaaS businesses that want to test the waters by working with a product designer.

If your SaaS is growing and you’re looking to invest in improving your product, this is for you. 



20 hours per month

The Growth plan is best for businesses on a mission to improve their product!

In just 20 hours a month, your business will experience real product progress.




40 hours per month

Best for SaaS businesses that have ongoing, consistent design needs.

If you need to hit product market fit ASAP or have a backlog of outstanding design projects, this is the package for you.

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How to apply!

If you’re interested in working with me, drop me a line: and mention the package you’d like to start with (10, 20, or 40 hours) and we’ll get the ball rolling. If you’d like to have a quick call, you can book a time here. 

P.S. I don't take on all applicants. Check FAQ for further details.

Frequently Asked Questions

If your question isn't answered below, feel free to drop me a line at 

Do you offer a free trial?

The short answer is no. As soon as you hire me, I begin work and like yours, my time is precious :) But I can of course provide references from clients past and present. If you're nervous about hiring an expert product designer it may be beneficial to test the waters with the INDIE retainer plan. If you're happy and need more hours, you can upgrade your retainer plan with confidence. 

How long after submitting a request can I expect a draft?

My working week is Tuesday - Friday. I aim to get most requests finished during the same week, although this depends on the scale of the project. If anything is urgent, let me know and I will do my best to meet the deadline.

Occasionally I take time off for holidays so if this is due to happen during our retainer I will let you know in good time. Other than that you can expect intermittent availability around all major holidays including Christmas, New Year, and Easter.

How do I submit design requests?

You can request designs in whatever way is most convenient to you. You can fill out my design request form, share a Google doc, record a video, DM me in our Slack channel, email me directly, or book a call. BTW, videos are a great way to communicate. Async rules! 

I keep track of all tasks in our shared Trello board in order of priority. You can go there anytime to add, remove, or change the priority list.

Who is this a good fit for?

I work best with business owners who are passionate about improving their businesses and see the value in working with experts. This is a service for business owners who can trust the expertise of a seasoned designer, but who are also willing to question and have questions asked of them. Great work is done through collaboration and understanding!

Who is this NOT a good fit for?

While I always try to be as fast as possible with my turnaround times, I prioritise quality over quantity. If you have a list of items that need to be banged out quick-smart, then an unlimited design service may be better suited to your needs.

I also only work with people whom I think will be pleasant to work with. I want to enjoy the work I do, and by extension, my relationship with the business who is hiring me. All retainers come with an introductory call so we can both see if we 'vibe' :)

Can I track the time you’ve spent each month?

Yep! I use Toggl to track my time and I’ll give you access to your own area so you can see exactly what I’ve been working on and how much time has been spent each month. 

Can I roll unused hours over to the next month?

Because I block out hours each month for you specifically, you can’t roll over unused hours. However, typically there is always something productive to be achieved with the time available. I will do my best to let you know before the month ends if you have time left on your plan. 

What if I have a really big project? Can I use my retainer for that?

Yes, you can use your retainer for larger projects. Just note that once the hours for each month have been used up, I will pause work until the following month. 

Alternatively, for larger projects, we can create a fixed-price proposal (depending on availability) and keep it separate from the retainer. 

Can I upgrade/downgrade/pause my retainer?

If you ever want to upgrade or downgrade I just need one month’s notice so I can check availability. It’s important to me that I only take on a small number of clients so I can give everyone the amount of time and effort they deserve – but I will do my best to accommodate you.

If you decide to pause or cancel your retainer you can sign up again as long as your spot hasn’t already been taken by someone else. I’m not able to hold places, so once the spots are gone, they’re gone! 

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