Unwrapping gifts is fun. Wrapping them? Not so much. A lot of people will pay you to wrap their Christmas, Hanukkah, other holiday and birthday gifts for them. Many may not have the time or patience to wrap their own gifts, or they might want someone with a little decorative flair. Some may not want to wrap gifts in their own homes because they don’t want kids to see gifts before Santa Claus brings them.
The Covid pandemic has hurt the economy in many ways, but it has helped certain areas and this may be one of them. According to Forbes magazine, online shopping has exploded; in 2021, it is approximately double what it was only five years ago. That means that fewer shoppers are going to malls, where they might be able to find a gift-wrapping service, so there’s less competition for home-based businesses. As long as you take the proper precautions (e.g. wearing a mask), you should be able to interact with customers safely.
- You can easily run this business from your home.
- Start-up costs are low.
- While you may make at least some money all year, the peak season for earnings is relatively short.
How to get started:
NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.
To keep it simple, let’s assume you are starting a gift wrapping business in your home and/or a traveling business in which you go to homes or offices (as opposed to setting up a kiosk in a mall.) Even with the simplest of businesses, however, you want to make sure you are following all rules and regulations. So before you state a gift wrapping business, there are a few things to do:
- Contact the local county clerk office, or check its website, to see if you must get a license, file a “doing business as” form, or meet any other requirements.
- Call your state revenue department, or check its website, to see if you need to pay sales tax.
- If you find yourself doing a high-volume business working with expensive gifts, you may want to organize your business as a Limited Liability Company – that gives you some protection in case you are sued. There are fees for starting an LLC that may be high, depending on the state, so it probably won’t be worth it otherwise.
Learn to How to Wrap Gifts Professionally
Once you know what hurdles you have to jump over before starting a business (and have decided it is worth it), you want to make sure you know how to wrap gifts. You may have wrapped lots of gifts and think you know how to do it, but customers are going to want a gift to look professional if they pay for it, so make sure you are good at it.
YouTube is always a good place to go to find out how to do something well; it is full of video tutorials from helpful people. Do you want to know basic wrapping techniques? Here’s a good video . Want to learn how wrap odd-shaped gifts? There’s a video for that. Want to get fancy? Here’s a video on diagonal wrapping and another on how to wrap seamlessly.
Or maybe you want to get fancy? (That would be a worthy investment of your time – you can charge more for gift-wrapping jobs that stand out.)
Purchase Gift Wrapping Supplies and Tools
Next you will need supplies. The basic supplies are wrapping paper, scissors, tape, ribbons, bows, name tags, etc. You can get these items for a good price at Walmart, but you might want to find a craft store where you can get some fancy or unusual paper for customers who want that.
Branding and Marketing
Now you’re ready to choose a name for your business and set up a website. Think of something catchy but a good idea is to check the website for the Secretary of State’s office in your state; do a name search to determine if there already is a business with that name.
You may not need a website if you’re just doing business in the neighborhood, but a website is so easy to set up so why not? Platforms like Wix.com or WordPress.com allow you to set up free and easy-to-create basic websites.
When you are ready to start soliciting customers, make up fliers with your website address and telephone number and a description of your services. Place the fliers next to doorknobs in your neighborhood. (It is illegal to put your fliers into mailboxes, and you don’t want to litter by putting them on the ground.)
You should also get the word out by social media. Nextdoor is a particularly good way to advertise – all the people who see your notice will live in your neighborhood, and they will tend to trust you because you are their neighbor. Also, you can tell your story as part of the notice (e.g., “Hard-working teen trying to earn money for college.”) And Nextdoor is free.
How much to charge for gift wrapping?
As with any business, you want to make sure you cover your costs. If you have developed a business plan, you know how much your costs are for the initial months of operation and how much money you need to bring in to cover them. But, of course, there are limits to how much you can charge.
Many malls allow schools and nonprofit organizations to wrap gifts as a fund-raising activity and they will charge rock-bottom prices. Imagine a shopper who has seen your flier or your website and knows they can get personalized service from you for only a little bit more; they may hop out of the long gift-wrapping line at the mall and go home and give you a call.
The websites we consulted suggest that shoppers can expect to pay about $3 per package at the mall (more for larger packages); you may want to start at $4. Truly creative gift-wrappers can command $30 to $50 per package, but likely your skills are not worth that much until you have done it for while and have developed unique artistry. A good price for your more creative services, at least at first, is $5 to $20.
Taking it to the next level:
- See if you can add other services to your gift-wrapping business, such as selling gift boxes, balloons, special containers before you wrap the gift.
- Design your own custom wrapping paper! You can find a wrapping paper printing company to print out your custom designs.
- If you feel your gift-wrapping business from home does not have a good visibility, you could consider renting a small space in a pop-up store for a short lease.
- Seek corporate clients for gift-wrapping services for holiday activities (ask mom and dad for help and suggestions).
Photo by Nick Fewings