Making gift baskets is fun, but gift basket law sometimes gets in the way. There are legal things to know about gift baskets. Learn about that here.

Rules to protect your lifestyle

Are you making gift baskets as a hobby and not getting paid for it, or are you making gift baskets and getting money in exchange for what you make?

The law puts gift baskets in different categories depending on your answer to the above question. You can ask “what if” questions for many situations, but the law’s line is drawn between for fun and for profit. That’s one area you may overlook when starting a gift basket business. Let’s clear it up.

I’ll share some basic rules here. However, every U.S. state and all countries have laws that may specifically target gift baskets. For example, I’ve heard from designers that the state of Florida, or certain counties within the state, prohibits at-home gift basket businesses. I’ve not been able to find that law online (that doesn’t mean the law doesn’t exist), but this is the type of situation that must be explored by anyone starting a home-based gift basket business in any location.

Some U.S. states (and surrounding countries as well) have no law, making rules murky and unexplored. That means it’s wise to seek legal counsel if you are making gift baskets you plan to sell.

In this roundup, for fun = no money and for profit = money. Also, recognize that I am not an attorney. Legal issues must be discussed with an attorney who understands the rules and laws that apply to you.

Legal things to know about gift baskets

Baking

If you make gift baskets for fun, you can bake products (cookies, brownies, etc.) in your home kitchen and add it in the gift. When it’s for profit, you must either purchase baked goods from a manufacturer or wholesaler or make your own in a commercial kitchen, not your home kitchen.

Liquor

Wine and alcohol can be added to gift baskets when it’s for fun. You can add wine and alcohol to gift baskets for profit if you have a license to buy it issued by your local, state, or country government that approves such applications.

Location

It’s easy to make gift baskets in your home when you make them for fun. If for profit, you must learn about any zoning restrictions related to having a business at home. This is one of those murky rules that many U.S. cities do not have, but you still must seek general information.

Insurance

Gift baskets made for fun do not require insurance although you want to make sure you have some type of coverage (home, etc.) in case a neighbor cracks their tooth on a gift basket cookie and wants to sue you. Making for profit gift baskets requires insurance against liabilities you can imagine and don’t know exist. There are many situations within this category.

Travel

When you make gift baskets for fun and deliver it by car to its destination, your car insurance is basic coverage for travel. If someone delivers a for profit gift basket for you using your car or their own car and a vehicular accident occurs, you may be part of a legal liability.

Exhibitions

If you plan to display your for profit gift baskets at a conference or similar event, some event producers require each exhibitor to submit documentation showing that the business is insured. This is usually not the case in the fun category.

Marketing

Decals, stickers, and magnetic advertising on cars are fine when you make gift baskets for fun. However, for profit gift baskets that are advertised on a car may mean your car requires commercial licensing.

Donations

You may be upset if someone steals a donated gift basket made for fun, but a for profit gift basket stolen from an event location is a different situation where you may need legal protection.

Law is constant

Depending on where you live and the laws that apply to your area, you may find more rules and regulations regarding gift baskets whether you make them for fun or profit.

Once again I point out that these are situations I know about and have identified as potential legalities to address. As a non-attorney, I advise you to seek legal assistance to either confirm, deny, or add to what I share above. The bottom line is protecting your lifestyle as you create beautiful designs for friends, family, co-workers, and clients.

My hope is that laws don’t detract from the fun and beauty of gift baskets. There are thousands of designers working within the law. If they can establish this as a fun hobby or legal business, so can you.