Shop policies can be a little daunting when you are just starting out. There is a stormy sea of important things that must be done and being your own boss means most times it all falls on you. I have definitely felt a bit of anxiety around getting this right and hoping that what I write will be easy to follow. The great thing about Etsy's Policies is that they are actually "your" policies. You decide what your policies are and you can change them at any time to suit your needs and your customers needs. Your shop; your policies. It's up to you.
There are three (3) main policies you should focus on before opening your shop. The rest will fall into place with time.
1. RETURN OR EXCHANGES:
⦁ What will you allow to be returned?
What is your "grace period" (for returns & exchanges) if allowed?
2. SHIPPING METHODS:
⦁ Provider you will use
⦁ Will you be shipping "Internationally" or just
⦁ Time-line (for shipping method). I personally list "economy" ship times and send out packages "Priority." For example: Domestic 2-9 days (shipped 2-3 days). International 2-6 weeks (6-9 days).
3. PAYMENT INFORMATION:
⦁ Etsy accepts all: Credit/Debit/Paypal (payments). "You" can also accept checks or money orders. (I personally don't accept checks or money orders and don't get requests for them.)
⦁ What about "Cancelled Orders?" Will you allow for it or not? (I allow it within an hour.)
⦁ When will work begin? (I prefer to start an order upon receiving payment in full.)
Let's go a little Deeper into Payments, Shall we!!?
Figuring out how your payment plans will be set up is an important step. I personally feel it is the most important. So, to figure out how your payment plans will be set up, you will have to make some carefully thought out decisions and weigh your options.
I personally take FULL PAYMENT "up front" before any work is started and CLEARLY STATE this in policies (and while messaging potential clients) as well as "NO RETURNS ACCEPTED" (because everything is custom to my clients needs). Since all my orders are custom-made and progress photos are shared throughout, my clients know exactly what to expect before their package arrives.
I started out with a 50% deposit before an order was started but, about 8 months into my paper flower journey, I had a customer who payed the first half and when it came time to pay the second half as the flowers were complete and ready to ship out, they were nowhere to be found! It only took one experience for me to decide that I will no longer start work until the entire package is paid for. (I do however offer payment plans to those that can not pay all at once, I just don't start work until it is 100% paid and they are aware of this from the beginning.)
It's okay if you don't know exactly what you need to specify in your policy statement right away. As you gain experience with clients, you will run into a few (as I did), that will help you establish where you draw the line. To be honest, it comes down to what works best for you and your business.
What works for me may not work for you completely and that's ok! Be sure that you are comfortable with the policies you decide on and that both you and your client will have a great experience because you both know exactly what is expected of each other.
I know that was a lot to take in but I'm hoping you're feeling a lot less like a little boat in a stormy sea and much more like this big happy whale named Humphrey.
If you are feeling a bit better about tackling your shop policies, leave a comment below and let me know!
Click here for Day 1: Writing a compelling "About page"
Click here for Day 3: How to price for big profits
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