If I wanted to sell project plans, where would I start?

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Forum topic by Boghog posted 05-25-2017 07:42 PM 1329 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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34 posts in 1849 days

05-25-2017 07:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource project plans selling download

Hello all, simple discussion topic here…

I have created my first project plan in sketch-up and I am most of the way through the process of documenting a project plan that is “sell-able”

-Any recommendations on a good place to start at a small level? Then as I create more projects, then I can then migrate to something more mature…


-- Justin Young, Kentucky

13 replies so far

View Rich's profile


7749 posts in 1926 days

#1 posted 05-25-2017 11:32 PM

I don’t buy plans. Ever. I look at photos to get ideas and design and build it myself. Lots of others do though, but I would think you would want to set up a web site with shopping cart capabilities (it’s easier than it sounds with something like RapidWeaver and plug ins, also GoDaddy has canned templates for doing it). I’d also think you’d be better off waiting until you had more than just one plan, so visitors would have different things to browse.

You’ll also need good illustrations or photos of the final product. Keep in mind though, that guys like me are going to look at them, and if it looks interesting, design and build it ourselves. Nothing you can do about it.

Considering some of the plans I see for sale for absurdly simple projects, I’m sure there are lots of beginners out there who buy them.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View finns's profile


173 posts in 4453 days

#2 posted 05-25-2017 11:56 PM

Hey Justin. A few ideas maybe: pinterest and etsy.

View Ripper70's profile


1379 posts in 2245 days

#3 posted 05-25-2017 11:58 PM

You can check out Matthias Wandel's site and maybe use his approach as a model. He has tons of videos and plans, many of which include templates for cutting parts out on a bandsaw.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View Woodknack's profile


13585 posts in 3717 days

#4 posted 05-26-2017 12:27 AM

Make a good quality video showing how to build it then link to plans on your website. Pinterest is a good place to promote.

-- Rick M,

View Ripper70's profile


1379 posts in 2245 days

#5 posted 05-26-2017 01:06 PM

CMT Formula 2050 Blade and Bit Cleaner, 18 oz bottle – $9.23

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View ScottM's profile


756 posts in 3483 days

#6 posted 05-26-2017 01:09 PM

Call Ted!! :)

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4203 days

#7 posted 05-26-2017 07:45 PM

I don’t ever buy plans. I sometimes go by a picture in a magazine and sometimes take a picture in someone’s house if I like it. I usually draw a pencil sketch and make it whatever is appropriate for where it’s going.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View trevor7428's profile


266 posts in 2298 days

#8 posted 05-27-2017 01:10 AM

The website with shopping cart is the best idea, but the best way to advertise the plans would be to make a YouTube video or post final project here on lumberjocks with link to plans.

I highly recommend checking out Jay Bates website. He shows what the plans actually look like (to small to copy tho) I prefer that because I know I’m actually buying high quality plans.

I’ve bought some plans that where shit and waist of money. The project was good, but plans sucked

-- Thank You Trevor OBrion

View Lewiston's profile


5 posts in 3005 days

#9 posted 06-05-2017 04:07 AM

Hey Justin. A few ideas maybe: pinterest and etsy.

- finns

This was my first thought.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4895 days

#10 posted 06-06-2017 03:10 PM

Hey Justin,

For people that do buy plans and assuming you’re either not a web development guy or have thousands of extra dollars to hire one, I recommend this:

1. Build a really nice version of what you’re selling the plans for.

2. Take really great pictures of it, possibly using a sheet as a backdrop, then erasing the background in a graphics program (pretty easy to do).

3. Get a catchy, cheap domain with some hosting and email for a few dollars a month (also pretty easy).

4. Find an HTML template that you like that has a look and feel that represents what you’re selling and paste the code into your website’s editor (also pretty easy).

5. Customize your website (just like editing a Word document).

6. Setup an email address with your domain ([email protected]). Do not use something like [email protected]

7. Setup a PayPal account with your cool new email address and verify it with your bank account (takes a couple of days).

8. Have people contact you via your website/email address to request to purchase your plans. Have them send you the funds via PayPal. Once you’ve confirmed the money is there, send them the plans. BTW, the plans need to be in some format even non-tech savvy people can use like a PDF.

9. Ask people to send you pics of what they’ve built and at least as important, have them send you testimonials of how they like the plans, experience, etc.

This may sound overwhelming and that you have to be a software guru, but each little step is doable by someone who can google solutions. It’s also the cheapest way to get your stuff for sale out on the internet. Post your project here and put a link to your website in your signature so it’s not blatantly pushing your stuff in other LJ’s faces.

Once you have done all this (and it’s also easy to add other plans to your website), your product will speak for itself. Also, you might need to give a set of plans to a few people you can trust to build one and help get your started. Make sure your plans are properly priced. I’d rather sell 1,000 plans for $5 each than only sell 5 for $100.

I hope this helps. I’ve done it numerous times and so can anyone else with a little determination. All that shopping cart stuff is the next level and complicates things immensely.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Boghog's profile


34 posts in 1849 days

#11 posted 06-06-2017 11:17 PM


Thank you for putting the time into that response. I will definitely be considering your input on this.

This was a very comprehensive plan you put together…

Is there an example of a site you’ve done?


-- Justin Young, Kentucky

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


10637 posts in 3746 days

#12 posted 06-07-2017 12:58 AM

This is a tough racket to break into. While having a business plan and approach is good, try to stay optimistic about your endeavor as failure is more common than success. Few customers understand how much wood costs, never mind how much work goes into a project. Buying a plan to build it, be prepared for alot of comments like, “it costs how much?”

As for plans, I am with helluvawreck. A napkin drawing at McD’s will do. LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Loren's profile


11370 posts in 4985 days

#13 posted 06-07-2017 01:03 AM

You may find it easier to make a few dollars
giving away your plans in exchange for
emails. Then email the list with affiliate
promotions for tool sales and stuff like that.

I imagine woodworking plan sales are pretty
competitive. I designed and built a pretty
fancy panel saw and while I’ve had requests
for plans, I don’t think the demand would
make it worth my while to draw and write
the intricate how-to of how to make it.

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