Selling & giving away FAQs

Selling FAQs

How do I start selling?

First, sign up as a seller. Once you have done that, go to My Showroom and click to add a new item—this requires you have at least one design file in My Designs. Then follow the step-by-step process. You get to choose whether you want to sell a finished product or product plan, what materials you want to offer, and where you are willing to ship. You will also add photos and describe your item, and you can preview how it'll look for others before you add your item to the public Showroom.

What items can I sell on Ponoko

You can sell anything that's in your My Designs – Design library. You can choose to sell the product plans only, or the finished product, or both.

How do I become a seller?

When you sign up as a seller we will ask you for two things:

  1. Your name and email
    This is so we have your most current details. Your email address will be sent to your customers when they've completed a purchase from your Showroom, so they can touch base with you. We will never share your billing address with anyone.
  2. The email address of your PayPal account
    Your customers will pay you directly using their credit card (or PayPal) via PayPal. This means you must have a Premier or Business account with PayPal. We ask you to give us the email address that's associated with your PayPal account so we make sure we send your customers to the right place to pay you. We use PayPal because it offers instant transactions and fraud protection. You need a PayPal account to sell on Ponoko, so if you do not have one, you can get one here for free.

How do I get paid by my customers?

Your customers will pay you directly using their credit card (or PayPal) via PayPal, a third party online payment processing service owned by eBay.

This means to sell on Ponoko you will need a PayPal account to accept customer payments. If you do not already have one, you can set up a free PayPal account here—you must choose the Premier or Business account to sell goods on the internet.

When you receive a payment from a customer, PayPal will send you a confirmation email, and you will be able to view the payment in your PayPal statement online. You can then transfer these funds elsewhere, for example, to a checking account. To find out more please refer to PayPal.

How do I set up shipping options?

At this stage, whether you choose to have Ponoko ship direct to your customer or to ship to the product yourself, it is necessary to enter the destinations you wish to have it shipped to - and how much you charge for each option. You will need to do this when you add the product to your Showroom.

If you are having Ponoko ship direct, you'll want to price up shipping for your product to the applicable locations in your Personal Factory. A common method is to price up shipping to the furthest part of the country you're shipping from and provide a flat rate for shipping there - and then price up shipping to any address in other countries if applicable. You can use any address as long as you have the country set up right, and for US shipments if the state and zipcode are correct.

We would like to provide the ability to calculate shipping for you in the future, but cannot confirm when that will be possible at this point.

Can I set different shipping costs based on bulk or multiple orders?

No, not yet, but we're working on it. We keep you posted about updates on our blog.

What happens after I sell something? How do I fulfil an order?

Whenever you make a sale, we will send you an email with all the details (product, quantity, seller contact details, payment). You can also see a list of your sales in your Personal Factory – My sales. Your customer is also sent a confirmation email which includes your email address so they can get in touch with you for any reason.

If you sell a product plan, you don't have to do anything—your customer can download it direct from your Showoom once the payment is confirmed. Happy days.

If you sell finished products, you need to decide if you want Ponoko to ship them, or you if you want to ship them to your customers. Products that can be self-assembled by your customers are typically suited to being shipped direct by Ponoko. Products that you embellish or assemble before they are ready to go (such as adding a neck chain to an item of jewelry you have made with Ponoko) are typically shipped by you.

So there are 3 scenarios that can eventuate:

Scenario 1—Seller elects Ponoko to ship products direct to customers

  1. Customer makes payment
  2. Seller receives order from customer
  3. Seller places customer’s order with Ponoko
  4. Ponoko makes and delivers product to customer

Scenario 2—Seller holds no inventory and elects to assemble and ship products to customers

  1. Customer makes payment
  2. Seller receives order from customer
  3. Seller places an order with Ponoko
  4. Ponoko makes and delivers product to seller
  5. Seller assembles and ships product to customer

Scenario 3—Seller holds inventory and elects to assemble and ship products to customers

  1. Customer makes payment
  2. Seller receives order from customer
  3. Seller assembles and ships product to customer

Depending upon how you set this up, it's a good idea to let your customers know how long it will take to fulfil their order, especially if you have to take delivery from Ponoko and assemble it first.

And it's always a good idea to confirm with your customer that they have received your product. Make sure everything has been completed before you move the order into your "completed orders" in your Personal Factory – My sales. Happy customers are repeat customers :)

What's the difference between selling a product and a product plan?

If you sell your design files, you're selling the plan for your product. Other people can download your design files, edit and make your finished product themselves. If you've added a Creative Commons license, you can even permit people to modify or embellish your design files, allowing them to improve your product.

When you sell a product plan, your buyers can download it immediately from your Showroom once they have purchased (they need to agree to the the copyright license you have chosen).

When you sell a product, you sell the physical object that you (or another person) assembles from the cut parts received from Ponoko. You need to consider shipping options and costs when you sell a physical product.

Can anyone buy my designs?

Yes, yes they can! They don't need to log-in or sign up, they can view you in the Ponoko Showroom, contact you direct and get buying.

What if I don't want anyone to buy my designs?

If don't wish to sell an item but still would like to show it off, you can add it to the On Show section of the Showroom. See the Showing FAQs for more information about showing your items.

If you don't want your item to appear in the Showroom at all, just keep it stored and secured in My Designs.

What will Ponoko do to promote my products?

First we've created the Ponoko Showroom where people can browse and buy your products and product plans. Second, we have featured designers and featured designs, so the sooner you get making, the sooner you may get featured. And third, we've created the MakeBox widget you can use to promote your products—see the next question.

What steps should I take to protect myself as a seller?

You can choose to add a returns policy in My Account – Seller options. By adding a returns policy, you can state up front what you will do if something gets lost or damaged in transit, or if the buyer wants to return it. Ponoko's returns policy ONLY covers the product parts we ship, so you need to create your own policy for product you ship to protect yourself.

When you add an item to your Showroom, you can choose the destinations to which you are willing to ship (if you are shipping it yourself).

When sending products to buyers, it's always a good plan to keep all packing slips, courier and post office receipts.

When receiving online payments direct from others, PayPal offers fraud protection as part of their service—please see them for details on how to sell securely.

Most importantly, communicate with you buyers and let them know if there are any delays, and what the status of their order is, especially if you make it through Ponoko first and then assemble and ship it yourself.

Giving away FAQs

Why would I want to give away my designs?

They say that the best things in life are free, and here at Ponoko we encourage you to get busy giving away some of your designs. Collaborating with others is a really neat way to get your design completed. You may have a great idea, but can't use Freehand or you are a great industrial designer but have no flair for drawing surface decoration. By giving away your product plans, you allow other people to extend and improve your product, whether it's by trying out new materials, adding decoration or simply finishing the job.

And you still get to control how much or how little you allow people to modify your design by adding a creative commons license to your design—you decide how people can modify your work. And if you don't want people to change your work, choose all rights reserved—your intellectual property then remains protected.

What can I give away?

You can give away the product plans of the products you've designed. You may also want to give away other design files—like the tolerance tests you create when designing interlocking parts. Then, you can share your discoveries with other designers and they can share theirs with you.

How can I give away?

In your Personal Factory, go to My Showroom and select "Add new item". From there, follow the step-by-step process. You get to select your design files, describe them, add a copyright license, and then add them to your Showroom.

This means others can now download design files you're giving away directly from your Showroom. Before they can download however, they have to agree to the copyright license that you've chosen.

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