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How to Start a Gift Wrapping Business

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Gift Wrapping Business

Fast Facts

Investment range

$8,550 - $19,100

Revenue potential

$120,000 - $255,000 p.a.

Time to build

1 – 3 months

Profit potential

$36,000 - $77,000 p.a.

Industry trend

Growing

Commitment

Full-time

Do you love shopping for gifts just so you can wrap them creatively? Most people don’t!  That’s why the gift packaging market is projected to grow more than 40% over the next decade. 

Gift wrapping is a skill and an art, and if you have a knack for it, you could start a gift wrapping business, ride this growth wave and turn your abilities into a rewarding career. You could open your own kiosk and get business from hundreds of passersby every day.

But before you break out the tape and scissors, you’ll need to learn how to start and grow a business. Fortunately, all the information you need to launch a successful gift wrapping business is packaged into this step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons

Starting a gift wrapping business has pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s right for you. 

Pros

  • Have Some Fun! – Get creative and meet lots of people
  • Good Money – Sell wrapping paper and greeting cards along with wrapping
  • Expanding Market – Demand for gift wrapping is growing

Cons

  • Somewhat Seasonal – Holiday season will be the busiest time
  • Crowded Market – Compete with the likes of Hallmark for sales

Gift wrapping industry trends

Industry size and growth

gift wrapping industry size and growth
  • Industry size and past growth – The global gift packaging industry is worth $27 billion in 2022 after growing nearly 4% the previous year.((https://www.factmr.com/report/2231/gift-packaging-market)) 
  • Growth forecast – The global gift packaging industry is projected to expand more than 40% by 2032 to reach $38 billion. 

Trends and challenges

gift wrapping Trends and Challenges

Trends in the gift wrapping industry include:

  • The use of foliage and fabric ribbons in gift wrapping is increasing. Modern designs and polka dot wrapping paper are also trending.
  • The rise in purchasing power around the globe is creating more demand for customized wrapping paper and packaging options. 

Challenges in the gift wrapping industry include:

  • Gift boxes are the fastest-growing segment, reducing demand for gift wrapping services, but presenting an opportunity to offer a high-demand product for sale.
  • The increase in online gift shopping is reducing mall traffic, presenting a challenge for gift wrapping businesses.

How much does it cost to start a gift wrapping business?

Startup costs for a gift wrapping business range from $8,500 to $19,000. Costs include renting a kiosk or a store, and an inventory of gift wrapping paper. 

If you want to hone your gift wrapping skills, you can take online gift wrapping courses through Udemy

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your gift wrapping business, including: 

  • Inventory
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Tissue paper
  • A wrapping table
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$150 - $200$175
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Insurance$100-$300$200
Business cards and brochures$200 - $300$250
Website setup$1,000 - $3,000$2,000
Kiosk or store rental deposit$2,000 - $5,000$3,500
Inventory and equipment$5,000 - $10,000$7,500
Total$8,550 - $19,100$13,825

How much can you earn from a gift wrapping business?

gift wrapping business earnings forecast

If you are properly skilled, you should be able to charge about $10 per gift, depending on the size. You can sell rolls of premium wrapping paper for about $15 per roll. Your profit margin after product costs and overhead should be about 30%. 

In your first year or two, you could average three gift wraps and $300 in sold products per day, bringing in $120,000 in annual revenue. This would mean $36,000 in profit, assuming that 30% margin. As your business gains traction, sales could climb to an average of $700 per day. With annual revenue of $255,000, you’d make a healthy profit of nearly $77,000.

What barriers to entry are there?

The only barrier to entry for a gift wrapping business is the competition you’ll face for your products from large gift stores.

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a gift wrapping business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research gift wrapping businesses in your area to examine their products and services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a gift wrapping business that also makes customized gift baskets or offers fabric bows.

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as gift wrapping for corporate clients, or an online store to sell wrapping paper.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your products or services

In addition to gift wrapping services, you can sell wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, tissue paper, gift boxes, gift bags, and greeting cards.

How much should you charge for gift wrapping?

You should be able to charge an average of $10 to wrap gifts. Prices for the wrapping paper and other items you sell will vary. After all your costs, you should aim for a profit margin of about 30%. 

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market will be broad, so you should spread out your marketing to include sites like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You could also reach out to major local retailers and big box stores to see if they might be interested in a partnership. 

Where? Choose your business premises

You’ll need to rent out a kiosk in a mall or a storefront. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
gift wrapping business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Gift Wrapping Business Name

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “gift wrapping” or “wrapping and cards”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “The Wrapping Room” over “Baby Gift Wraps”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but might hinder future expansion

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan
  • Executive Summary: A concise overview highlighting the gift wrapping business’s key objectives, market position, and financial projections.
  • Business Overview: A detailed description of the gift wrapping business, including its mission, vision, and core values, providing a comprehensive understanding of its purpose.
  • Product and Services: Clearly defining the range of gift wrapping services offered, including customization options, materials used, and any additional features.
  • Market Analysis: A thorough examination of the target market, including demographics, trends, and potential customer needs, to inform business strategy and positioning.
  • Competitive Analysis: Evaluating key competitors in the gift wrapping industry, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and differentiating factors to gain a competitive edge.
  • Sales and Marketing: Outlining the strategies for promoting and selling gift wrapping services, including pricing, distribution channels, and promotional campaigns.
  • Management Team: Introducing the individuals responsible for leading and managing the gift wrapping business, highlighting their qualifications and roles.
  • Operations Plan: Detailing the day-to-day operations of the business, covering aspects such as production processes, inventory management, and quality control.
  • Financial Plan: Providing a comprehensive overview of the gift wrapping business’s financial projections, including startup costs, revenue forecasts, and profit margins.
  • Appendix: Including any additional information, documents, or references that support and complement the gift wrapping business plan, such as market research data or supplementary financial details.

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to gift wrapping businesses. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your gift wrapping business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

types of business structures
  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

types of business financing
  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a gift wrapping business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept. 

Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a gift wrapping business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties. If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your gift wrapping business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

types of business insurance
  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks. 

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as LS Retail, Vend, or Retail Pro, to manage purchasing, inventory, sales, and invoicing.

Accounting

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial. 

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using website builders. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 

Marketing

Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • Professional Branding — Develop branding that communicates creativity, attention to detail, and sophistication across all materials, including your logo, business cards, and the presentation of your wrapping station or storefront.
  • Website Optimization — Create an attractive website showcasing your gift wrapping portfolio, customer testimonials, and service variety. Use SEO practices to rank for local searches related to gift wrapping services.
  • Local SEO — Regularly update your Google My Business and Yelp profiles to strengthen your local search presence.
  • Social Media Engagement — Utilize visually-oriented platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to display your wrapped gifts and use Facebook to share customer testimonials and seasonal promotions.
  • Content Marketing — Maintain a blog with posts on creative wrapping ideas, current trends, and tutorials. Produce video tutorials demonstrating your gift wrapping techniques.
  • Direct Outreach and Partnerships — Network with local businesses, department stores, and event planners who may need professional wrapping services, particularly during holidays or special events.
  • Email Marketing — Send newsletters to keep clients informed about services, special offers, and wrapping tips.
  • Experiential Marketing — Host gift wrapping workshops to teach techniques and attract customers, and set up pop-up wrapping stations in high-traffic areas.
  • Collaborations with Retail and Events — Partner with local gift shops and department stores for in-store services and collaborate with event planners to provide wrapping services at special events.
  • Customer Loyalty Program — Implement a program offering discounts or a free service after a set number of transactions to encourage repeat business.
  • Referral Incentives — Offer incentives for customers who refer new clients, enhancing word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Targeted Local Advertising — Promote your services through local newspapers, community bulletin boards, and online platforms, especially during key gift-giving seasons.
  • Seasonal Promotions — Run promotions or package deals during holidays and festive periods to capitalize on increased demand for gift giving.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that set it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your gift wrapping business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your gift wrapping business could be: 

  • Professional gift wrapping to please your corporate clients 
  • Gift wrapping and supplies for all your holiday needs
  • Hate gift wrapping? We got you. 

Networking

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a gift wrapping business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in gift wrapping for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in gift wrapping. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a gift wrapping business include:

  • Store Clerks – wrap gifts, make sales
  • General Manager – scheduling, ordering, accounting
  • Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Gift Wrapping Business – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

Most people dislike gift-wrapping, so if you’re in the minority, why not start a gift wrapping business and have some fun? Gift wrapping is a large and growing industry, and you could grab your share of the market. You’ll have to put in some hours and have a passion for being creative and working with people, but you can build a lucrative gift wrapping operation.

You’ve now got the required entrepreneurial insight, so it’s time to get out the supplies and start your successful gift wrapping business.

Gift Wrapping Business FAQs

Is a gift wrapping business profitable?

Yes, a gift wrapping business can be profitable, but you’ll probably need to sell wrapping paper and other gift wrapping supplies to be successful.

How to differentiate your gift wrapping business from competitors?

To differentiate your gift wrapping business from competitors, you could focus on unique and creative wrapping techniques, use eco-friendly and sustainable materials, offer personalized and customized wrapping services, or provide additional services such as gift delivery or gift selection assistance.

How to find a clients and gift wrapping orders?

To find clients and gift wrapping orders, you could advertise your services through social media platforms, online marketplaces, or by networking with local businesses and event planners.

Can I start gift wrapping business from home?

Yes, you can start a gift wrapping business from home as long as you comply with any zoning or licensing regulations in your area. You may need to invest in supplies and equipment such as wrapping paper, ribbons, scissors, and a work table, and ensure that you have a dedicated workspace that is clean, organized, and free from distractions.

What is the best material for gift wrapping?

The best material for gift wrapping depends on personal preferences and the occasion. Common options include wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, or fabric. Some eco-friendly alternatives include recycled paper or reusable fabric wraps. 

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How to Start a Gift Wrapping Business