For some reason, cleaning businesses typically do not sell a lot of gift cards during the holidays. This is a huge missed opportunity at a time when most businesses are selling hundreds if not thousands of them. I won’t go into detail on how to sell maid service gift cards here, but I sold $12,000 worth of gift cards one holiday season just by following the principles that I outline in my gift card course. So it is possible.

Most cleaning business owners get nervous because they think a gift card equals a free cleaning which could be anywhere from 3-8 hours depending on the person’s house. You can solve that problem by noting on the gift card that this is for a three hour cleaning, and when the card is redeemed, you can clearly outline what will be taken care of in that three hours and offer the homeowner the opportunity to purchase more time from you if they’d like. You can also work with them to get their list of prioritized areas and tell them that you’ll tackle that list in the three hours that the gift card covers. With that, you make the redemption process easy and hassle-free.

You’re not selling a cleaning, you’re selling a gift.

Another obstacle to overcome is to turn cleaning into a gift. We sell our house cleaning services every day to people who call up and are looking to solve a dirty house problem. But when we’re selling gift cards, the person who is buying the gift card is not buying a cleaning or a service, they are buying a gift for someone. Let’s say a husband wants to buy his wife a really nice Christmas gift of free house cleaning for a year. He’s buying a gift while you’re selling a cleaning. I’m here to help you think through this disconnect and to get you selling a ton more gift cards this holiday season.

Make this gift look visually spectacular!

The number one tip is that you have to make this gift look visually spectacular. A year’s worth of free cleaning, let’s say, is $1200. You cannot let this hypothetical husband leave your office holding a computer printout for a year’s worth of house cleaning and expect the wife to be dazzled. However, if this printout or actual gift card comes tucked inside an elegant gift basket, you’re well on your way to making that gift a jaw-dropper. So put together a gorgeous, holiday-themed gift basket and fill it with some other items, like a bottle of wine, some wine glasses, some fancy chocolates. We use a really pretty wicker basket and add a few Christmas ornaments inside, then tie it up with a red bow and some holly or greenery to give it that extra Christmas sparkle.

If you’re concerned about including the wine, you can check with your local alcohol bureau to make sure you’re allowed to include wine in the gift basket as long as you haven’t charged directly for it. If that’s not allowed, you could always purchase a gift certificate from a local wine boutique and put that inside, to say that your gift baskets come with a bottle of wine from a local vendor. This wine boutique could also be someone you’ve done a barter with, like you clean their store and get a number of these gift certificates in exchange.

Another idea is including a gift card in the basket for a therapeutic massage—another potential spot for you to barter your services in exchange for receiving gift cards that you can include in your own holiday gift basket. Restaurant certificates are another good idea (and yet another potential barter partner).

The goal here is to make a very elegant gift that someone will feel special receiving. You can have several of these baskets made up ahead of time to save yourself time and money. Then you can tuck your own gift card into the basket depending on the amount of money someone wants to spend with you.

We use the gift baskets as a bonus to entice people to spend more. I don’t mind giving away those free massages or wine or chocolates when I know I’ve sold $1200 worth of house services to this person. Bartering for those extra bonus items makes it even cheaper for you, and then you build it into the price of the package you’re selling them by saying that you’re throwing in over $100 of free bonuses into the gift basket when they buy a year’s supply of maid services, or a $1200 basket worth $1300.

The bottom line is that you’re not selling a cleaning, you’re selling a gift. So you need it to look and feel like a gift and it needs to be something tangible they can hold in their hands. There is nothing elegant, romantic, or special about that husband printing off the gift certificate that you emailed him and him giving that to his wife on Christmas morning. It doesn’t feel special. But this gorgeous gift basket that you’re building is a different story.

The actual construction of the gift baskets is easy. Get yourself some wicker baskets, a roll of cellophane, some pipe cleaner, red bows, bits of greenery. You can make them up ahead of time and close the top of the cellophane with a pipe cleaner so you can just twist it and tie the bow on later, then you can reach in and adjust the gift card amounts based on what they buy. Perhaps someone doesn’t want to buy $1200 worth of maid service but rather 4 hours of cleaning once a month for 12 months. You can do the math and adjust your gift card amount based on what you’d charge for that job.

Once you’ve got your gift baskets in place, take some photos of your beautiful creations and spread the word. Mention it in all your emails, have your staff leave flyers with your clients, put something out on Facebook about it once or twice a week, hit up your NextDoor threads with information on your gift baskets.

Make sure that the gift looks elegant and high-value, and you are on your way to breaking that pesky habit cleaning business owners have of not selling enough gift cards in the holidays.

I highly recommend that you join my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course to get training, strategy, and weekly answers to your burning questions. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.