A woman approached me with an armful of products as I arrived at a bookstore to speak about my book, How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business.

Books - Gift Basket Business

“Hi! I’m going to a birthday party after this. Can you use these products to show everyone how to make a gift basket, and then I’ll have a gift all wrapped for the party. Okay?”

“No, I have my own products. I can wrap it for you, but it will cost (amount). Okay?”

“Oh, I thought you’d do it for free. Never mind.”

Free — that’s the one word you don’t want associated with your gift basket-making talent.

People know that you turn single items into complete works of art, but some people think they can get your services free of charge.

Can you imagine going to a big retailer with an armload of products and asking a saleswoman to wrap items free of charge that you didn’t buy from that store?

She’d look at you as though you’d just lost your mind.

She might even call security and have you escorted out of the store.

Why give away your expertise?

Getting into Gift Baskets, by Shirley George Frazier. All rights reserved.

Nothing is free when you operate a business — not your time or your talent or your products.

Wedding service providers are great examples of how not to give away products and services.

For instance, when brides-to-be want to sample cake or see how flowers will be arranged, the providers of those services charge a fee for appointments.

Brides must pay a price to taste cake slices and see flower arrangements.

Service providers know all too well that if they do not charge, brides will take what they learn and have someone in the bridal party make similar products.

While that may still happen, the providers are compensated for acting as teachers.

The same is true for you with gift baskets.

If someone wants you to…

  • Wrap items purchased elsewhere
  • Show them how to make a design
  • Show them what you’ll make for an event

…that’s when you either decline because you’re not interested or charge a fee for the time invested.

How much to charge?

Your fee depends on many factors, including:

  • Calculated expenses
  • Geographic location
  • Industry expertise

Get any of this wrong, and guess what? You lose money!

You not only lose money; more people will come to you for the same service because your charge is too low.

How do they know your charge is too low? They know because they shop competitively.

One gift basket designer who I mentor each month learned this the hard way, and she was nearly in tears when I calculated what she charged and what the appointments really cost.

“I gave up so much money!” she said to me in a quivering voice.

Since then, she’s increased her earnings by 20% just from these types of appointments and increased her overall sales as well.

How do you proceed when asked to provide your precious services for no money?