The Hog Ring: Offering Auto Upholstery Gift Certificates

Nov 28, 2012

Editor’s Note: regularly shares articles from The Hog Ring, a blog and online community for auto upholstery professionals. Here, the site’s Naseem Muaddi writes about selling gift certificates.

‘Tis the season for auto upholstery? Sure, why not? With Christmas only one month away, I’ve had several customers call my shop inquiring about repair or upgrade services to gift a loved one. On the surface this seems like the perfect gift, but I’ve noticed that after only a few minutes of talking with them, the reality of the situation changes their tone and the customer seems to lose interest. The trouble starts when I inform customers that even if I place an order for fabric and parts immediately, they may not arrive until after Christmas. And even if they do arrive on time (or I already have the materials in stock), the customers would have to sneak the car away for a couple of days while I work on it, thereby ruining the surprise. Fortunately, I’ve found a solution that would allow customers to give their intended gift on time and still keep it a surprise-gift certificates.

I picked up a 25-pack of gift certificates from Staples for just $10. Gift givers come in and fully describe the job they want, I write a detailed estimate and sell the certificate on the spot. They gift the certificate on Christmas day and the recipient can have the job done whenever it’s convenient. A few tips based on my experience selling gift certificates:

1. Package them in an appealing way-fancy envelope, a holiday card, whatever it takes. Also include a business card, shop swag and some material samples. It’s the total package that will make the certificates an easy sell.

2. Be sure to number, date and sign each certificate sold. Plus keep a record (perhaps even a photocopy) of each and every one. This helps to prevent fraud.

3. Include with every certificate sold a detailed description of the work paid for and the exact cost of parts and labor. This will prevent confusion when the certificate recipient comes to your shop to have it redeemed.

The Hog Ring is a blog and online community for auto upholstery professionals. To read the site’s latest articles, search job listings or connect with other auto upholstery professionals, click here.