With the recent hit that the economy has taken due to the housing market crisis, one of the most commonly uttered words today is \"budget.\" Individuals and businesses alike are spending considerably less on things whenever they can. Whether it\'s driving a few extra miles to get gas a few cents cheaper or re-evaluating the costs of service providers and going with someone who can save the company more money per month, everything boils down to budget. 

Now more than ever, in addition to attracting new business, companies are trying to keep their loyal customers and clients. It is the most loyal clients who will keep coming back time and time again. The easiest way to keep them coming back is to provide them with exceptional service and to go above and beyond the call of duty. One thing that everyone wants is to be cared about. A company will not succeed if they only see their clients as dollar signs. People, be it in business or just in life, enjoy feeling appreciated and the time is quickly approaching when everyone feels the most appreciated: the holiday season. 

Offices will soon be inundated with holiday cards, food gifts and other tidings of joy and merriment that accompany the holidays. Everyone loves receiving a gift and those that you do business with are no different. Sending out corporate gifts to your valued clients is just another way of going the extra mile. Here are a few simple tips on how to make sure that your corporate gifts stay within the budget. 

Order Early
While retail stores start putting out holiday decorations right after (and sometimes before) Thanksgiving, promotional product companies start even sooner. Start shopping right after back to school season to get an idea of what type of corporate gifts you want to send. Ordering early will ensure that you do not incur additional rush charges and it can almost guarantee that the items that you choose are in stock. 

Trim the List
One of the most important things about your corporate gift is quality. The larger the number of recipients, the less can be spent, per item, thus hindering your ability to send a quality corporate gift. Go over the list of recipients once, and then twice, and then a third time just to be sure. Call all recipients\' companies and find out their policy on gift giving. Make sure that whomever you are sending to is allowed to receive a corporate gift. Keeping the list as \"trimmed down\" as possible will ensure that you have more money to spend per item. And making sure that all recipients can, in fact, receive gifts will make sure that no money is wasted. 

Set a Price Point 
When shopping for corporate gifts it\'s tempting to spend an extra dollar per item to get a gift that seems much fancier or elegant. Those dollars add up, however, so be careful. Set a price point early on and shop for the best prices around. If you find something you like, call the company and get a quote for how much your total will be including shipping, art charges, and any other fees you might incur. 

Choose Items That Are Easy to Ship
Often times, items can incur hefty shipping charges if they are heavy, oddly sized, or require intricate packaging. Shopping for corporate gifts that do not fall into one of the above three areas will help you ensure that your shipping costs will work nicely into your budget, thus allowing you to spend more on what really matters: the corporate gift itself. Be sure to ask your promotional consultant how the gift is packaged for shipping before placing your order. 

To Logo or Not to Logo
It\'s nice to add your logo to a corporate gift, but is it really necessary? Most promotional items, including most corporate gifts require a set-up charge for art work. Additionally, if your artwork is not in the correct format, many companies charge an \"art charge\" to convert your logo. Also, if your logo is extremely intricate and detailed, you may incur a fee for recreation (editing the logo in the correct format to ensure that it will fit on your chosen product). Your corporate gift should not be about branding your logo. Instead, choose a simple message of holiday greetings or best wishes for the coming year. Have it printed with your company name as \"text only.\" While there will still be a setup charge, you will not incur any heavy art charges. However, do keep an eye out. Several companies offer products that have \"no set-up charges\" so shop wisely. 

With everyone trying to cut costs, there is no doubt that holiday sales will be affected by the recent economic trends. However, by following the above listed steps you can still celebrate the season with customers and clients. With a little time, research and some intelligent thinking, you can be sure that you\'ll find the corporate gifts that best suit your needs.


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