October 26, 2014

How Much Should You Spend on Business Gifts?

how much should you spend on business

Whether around the Holiday season or during any other time of the year, you may occasionally need to choose gifts for those in your organization or those you do business with regularly. But when it comes to your employees and customers, how much should you spend on business gifts?

Cost of a Gift

How much you should spend depends on your budget and other factors, some of which are business gift giving etiquette. If you’ve decided to spend some money and want to be sure not to spend too much, $25 to $50 per person is a nice average to start from.

However, try to remember that in some cases, when your gift is going to someone at another company, they might have limits to the value they are allowed to receive. So keep this in mind.

Policies in many large corporations and government organizations, for instance, prohibit employees from accepting business gifts valued in excess of  $25 (sometimes less).  For this reason alone, some small business owners limit their gifts to $25 or under.  The thought of having to return refused gifts exceeding allowable amounts is a complication some prefer to avoid altogether.

Gifts for Clients

When giving to clients, look at how much business each client brought to you in the past year. Rank your spending accordingly:

  • For clients that brought you $15,000 in revenues this past year, you might consider spending $100 or more on a quality business gift.
  • For clients netting you $10,000 or more, $100-500 may be more appropriate.
  • For clients netting you $9,999 or less, spending $25-50 could be the way to go.

If you consider this approach too commercial, set a budget you can afford for these important clients. Perhaps $100 per person or less if that’s all you can afford. Or maybe only $10 a person on something like some homemade cookies, a potted plant, or a greeting card with a handwritten note of thanks would be appropriate.

Gifts and Tips for Service Providers

Tips or gifts for service providers are also customary. But the expected amount varies widely depending on your location, how long the service provider has been working with you and some other factors. And again, your budget must also be a factor.

Here are some sample amounts you can start with. But you may want to research further what’s customary in your area and situation:

Personal Trainer

A cash tip equal to the cost of a session is appropriate.

Image Consultant

A cash tip totaling the cost of one session, or one hour at the hourly rate.

Delivery Person

Delivery personnel at FedEx, for instance, can accept non-cash gifts up to $75 in value. Check with the delivery company to be sure of guidelines.

Virtual Assistant

A cash tip equal to one hour at the hourly rate, or $50.

Cleaning Person

For an individual, a cash tip equal to one visit is appropriate. If a team works together, give a gift they can share, such as gourmet cookies or treats.

Driver/Limo Service

Tip 20 percent of a month’s bill, or $20 to $50.

Postal Worker

Again, this is tricky, because U.S. Federal ethics guidelines prohibit Post Office employees from accepting anything worth more than $20. Cash is prohibited, no matter what amount. Consider a gift basket or homemade goodies instead.

Gift Photo via Shutterstock

2 Comments ▼

Aubrielle Billig


Aubrielle Billig Aubrielle Billig is a full time senior at Kutztown University, PA, studying graphic design and professional writing, with a strong sense for the creative and innovative. She spends her spare time working on her schooling, and hopes to be a children’s author and illustrator one day. Her design page can be found at RampagingSnails.

2 Reactions

  1. I think that there should still be a budget but it still depends on how close you are to the person. I personally prefer sending gifts that expire like food or something that they need like a ticket. I don’t want giving tangible stuff that just usually get thrown away.

  2. Gifting is a good idea, but I believe gift should be given to please a person & make the person feel important. That is why, it should be compact, but useful enough for regular use.

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