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    Holiday Shopping and Gift Wrapping Working From Home
    By: Stacy Perez

    Because some subscribers have emailed me about working from home gift wrapping or shopping, I decided to write about it. The following article is based on my own ideas and opinions, but they should help give you ideas in providing a gift wrapping or holiday service.

    Providing a holiday shopping and/or gift wrapping service maybe a way to create an income for you during the month of December plus throughout the upcoming years.

    Today, people are busier then ever before, whether they work outside the home or inside the home. Offering a service to help people locally is a great way to tap into extra income.

    Whether you decide to offer a holiday shopping or a gift wrapping service, you have to come up with a business plan for how you want to start it, marketing, and expenses.

    Gas Mileage -

    If you are traveling to someone's home to wrap presents or travel to shop, I recommend charging gas mileage. Keep a record of the starting mileage and the ending mileage, and also where and what places you visited for the customer. You want to take the total miles multiple by about $.30 per gallon. I believe this is about the average cost per gallon. You could figure out your cost per gallon taking the total money spent to fill your tank divide it by how many gallons you put in.

    The idea of this is to take into consideration how much you are spending for all the driving for the customer. You can choose to charge the customer the fee for your gas mileage based on your log.

    Because this is a business, and if you choose to report this as a business on your taxes, realistically you can write off mileage. I recommend speaking with a local tax professional like H & R Block and talk to them about deductions.

    Supplies for Gift Wrapping -

    You will want to make sure you have plenty of holiday paper, ribbons, bows, boxes, and gift tags available. Having a variety would be good to have available so the customer has a wide assortment of colorful gifts.

    You will want to keep a log of how much you are spending for the supplies and keep all the receipts. Again, because this is a business expense you will want to consult with your local tax professional for advice on deductions.

    What to Charge for Your Service -

    If you are offering a holiday shopping or a gift wrapping service, you may want to charge an hourly rate. I would pick something where it is worth it to you and affordable for the customer. I would think around $10 an hour would be a good price to start.

    For gift wrapping, if you decide to choose a charge per package, then you will want it to be affordable to the customer plus worth it to you for the compensation for the supplies. I would think realistically $2-$10 per package would be fair. You would have to take into consideration how big the package is when determining prices. You should visit stores or malls that offer holiday gift wrapping to see how much they are charging for each size box so you have an idea what to charge your customer.

    For holiday shopping, I would charge per hour. I would start off around $10 an hour. You will want to keep of a log of when you started, times you arrived at the different stores, times you left a store, and a time you finished. This way you have it logged if a customer questions the final price billed.

    Getting Customers -

    Put up flyers on bulletin boards about your new service, tell family and friends. Also, ask people you know for referrals. You may find that either people that are very busy, new moms, sick people, single men, or people that are elderly may want to use your service.

    You will want to put your customer's name, phone number, mailing address on index cards. You can keep the cards in an index card box to keep them organized. You may want to include how many kids they have, ages and genders. The reason for this is, as different occasions come up, you can contact your customer and offer your services again.

    Conclusion -

    Think about this... If you provide a good service, people will refer you or consider using your services for other occasions.

    Make sure you either purchase or create business cards. This way your customer will have your information available to them for the future. There is business card software you can purchase from Best Buy, and office store, Walmart, etc.

    I also recommend mailing your customer a thank you card! Thank you cards or gifts can impact your business. People will remember a thank you card or gift!

    This information should get you started in starting your own gift wrapping or holiday shopping service.

    Good luck!

    Copyright 2000-2008, Stacy Perez, successful work from home mother who has inspired and helped many parents work from home. Visit: www.DotComMommies.com

    My daughter's website. You can get one for your kids too!

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