Retainer Packages

A dedicated UX designer for your startup – without the hefty salary.

image of some wireframes in a mobile setting.

We live in a fast-paced world and your potential customers have a bunch of options when it comes to filling the software gap in their lives.

Unfortunately, you have only minutes to hook them after signup. Poor onboarding can lead to a high churn rate, which in turn leads to the need for more top-of-the-funnel traffic…Which in turn leads to wasting marketing budget as more new trials churn. The problem is that when you lose a potential customer not only do you lose a paid account, you lose word-of-mouth marketing and potential brand evangelists. That’s the kind of marketing money can’t buy! And it all starts with your app.

Successful startups solve this problem by hiring in-house UX designers. But they’re not cheap. The average UX design salary in the US is between $86,137 and $116,488. That’s a fair chunk of change! Not all SaaS can afford those salaries and frankly, that puts a lot of new businesses at a disadvantage.

Currently, you have three options:


- Hire an in-house UX designer -

Always available

$$$$$$$$$$

A time-consuming and potentially expensive hiring process


- Hire a freelancer -

More cost-effective

Not worth the back-and-forth of proposals and deposits for smaller projects

A time-consuming and potentially expensive contracting process

Can be unreliable

Cannot guarantee ongoing availability


- Use an ‘unlimited’ all-in-one design service -

(Theoretically) hundreds of small design tasks a month for a fixed price

Low-quality work and no strategic input or thought

They don’t specialize in UX design - But they can make it look pretty

None of these options are ideal for growing a SaaS business. They either take up too much time, too much money, or just become so frustrating that it doesn’t make it worth the hassle.

That’s why I (Nathan 👋) am piloting a monthly UX design service to help software companies like yours get all those ongoing UX design improvements done – without the commitment (or salary) of a full-time UX designer. 

A design retainer with a difference

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

  • Nusii : This was my first SaaS, which I created in 2013. It 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 run a business and not just design one. Building and growing a SaaS is tough!

  • Develop Your UX: A free email course. I give developers just enough practical UX knowledge to be dangerous! This is currently being developed into…

  • What the UX!: This will be my third book, (the first was The Designer’s Guide to Freelancing and the second was The Creative Guide to Writing Winning Proposals) With this book I plan to help SaaS builders, both devs and founders to have a better working knowledge of UX and what it can do for their businesses. It’s going to be a very practical book, full of examples.

  • Feature Flux: This is my current SaaS. In fact, it’s being built as I write this document! Feature Flux is GitHub for product teams, more specifically GitHub for the design process. I’m super excited about getting back into SaaS again!

  • Freelance Designer: Over the years I ’ve worked with brands such as BBVA, Cabify, Nusii, Castos, Content Thread, Egghead, Toggl, Moraware, Demand Maven, Consensus, and Expedited SSL. 

Unlike many designers, I know how to run a business. Honestly, making software more user-friendly is straightforward, it’s a process. But I know that you need to do more than just make your SaaS work. You need it to have a great user experience.

I’ll be your go-to UX designer who not only knows your SaaS inside and out but also has first-hand experience in what bootstrapped founders need. 

Things I can help with.

These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammelled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided.

I’ve worked on all kinds of products over the last 17 years, but typically I’m most helpful in the following areas. 

  • Customer journey reviews. From signup to activation.
  • Improving onboarding.
  • Analyzing areas of friction within your SaaS and designing alternative solutions.
  • Designing structural wireframes.
  • Ideating solutions to longstanding problems.
  • Create visual mockups.
  • Build interactive prototypes to test assumptions before coding (save $$$).
  • Sort through user research and offer critical insights.
  • Create user personas.
  • Define a plan for easy wins and longer-term goals.
  • Give guidance on new features before you start coding. 

Pricing Options

I offer 3 different packages, the only difference between them is the number of hours you think you might need. Simple pricing! 

Option 1: Indie

5 hours per month - $750 Introductory pricing: $599*

Best for SaaS businesses that need help moving in the right direction. Think customer journey reviews, ideation, initial wireframes etc. If your business is just starting, this could be a great fit. 

Option 2: Growth

10 hours per month - $1,500 Introductory pricing: $1,349*

Best for SaaS businesses that have a consistent need for UX help. If your SaaS is growing and you’re looking to invest in improving your user experience, this is for you. In 10 hours you can get a lot of UX work done! 

Option 3: Enterprise

20 hours per month - $3,000 Introductory pricing: $2,849*

Best for SaaS businesses that are on a mission and need to hit PM fit ASAP. Note: I will only take on one client at a time for this package.

----------------------------------------------------------------

*Since this is a brand-new service, I don’t have solid processes in place yet. So I’m providing a discount to account for any hiccups you might experience while I get this going. Rest assured, I’m extremely organized and will do my best to make the process smooth and easy for you. And you will be locked into this price for as long as you keep an active subscription.


All packages include the following:

  • Same-day email response, Monday to Thursday. 
  • You own all the work that I create for you – even if you cancel your subscription. 
  • Access to a shared folder where we will keep all your designs (including editable formats), neatly organised so you can refer to your assets any time you need them. 
  • Designs will be created in Balsamiq and Figma. You will have access to all original files. 

Apply below...

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

My working week is Monday - Thursday, 10 am - 6 pm CET. 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 (remember, calls are also timed :). 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.

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! 

If you’ve got your own successful businesses, why are you doing this?

Like most solopreneurs, I’m constantly keeping my eyes peeled for gaps in the market. And from running my own businesses I know that usability is not a done-once-and-forgotten thing. It’s ongoing.

Fortunately, being a UX designer I can quickly deal with these things myself, but it got me thinking about the hoops others have to jump through to get something as simple as a basic prototype built. 

It seems like there is a big opportunity for a service like this. And I’m unique in that I have a deeper understanding than most designers about what SaaS businesses really need. So I want to give it a go. It’s as simple as that. 

Image of a chat icon as a CTA image

Interested?

Here's how to apply!

If you’re interested in a UX design retainer email me at [email protected] with the package you’d like to start with (5, 10, or 20 hours) and we’ll get the ball rolling. If you’d like to have a quick call, you can book a time here. 

Nathan J Powell Logo