The History of selling Flowers as a business model became popular during the 19th century in the Netherlands which then, flourished throughout Europe and the United States. Today, Floral Business is one of the potential small and medium businesses in several parts of the country, which is best known to offer sustainable employment, especially to women.
In this article, we will discuss how to start a Flower business and look into various aspects of this business such as Market conditions, Skills Required, Capital Requirements, Resources, Profit Analyses, and Marketing
Please note, this information is crafted keeping in mind a small business so if you are a small florist, you shouldn’t miss out going through each step
A Small Note to Keep in Mind Before Starting Floral Business
This is a type of business that can be started with very less capital. It is mostly a seasonal-based business. Space is not a constraint at all; You can even start a flower business from home also. it can also fit as a great side hustle
Although it costs very little to start this business, it is not easy to expect high profits in the floral business. You need to be very good at Marketing, Customer service, and Quality. On top of that, this is a seasonal business, so the profits vary monthly
Here are quick facts about the floral business
The United States floral gifting market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.58% during 2022 to 2028
The Netherlands is one the largest exporter for cut flowers accounting 40% of all global export trade
Floriculture is United states third largest agriculture crop
More than 60,000 small businesses are involved in the floral business in the United states
According to an article in National Retail Federation, the total spending on Valentines Day is expected to hit $25.9 billion with an average person spending $193 per gift which also includes flowers
According to a report, on Mother’s Day 74% of gifts are flowers and gifting cards
Opportunities and Challenges Involved in Flower Business
Like every business floral industry also has a fair share of opportunities and challenges. Here is a quick breakdown of both the factors
Opportunities in Floral Business
- The floral industry still has room for a great number of entrepreneurs to come up with innovative ideas
- This industry hasn’t yet fully grown online – so, there is a lot of room for improvement in reaching customers
- If you are able to connect with Wedding event managers, décor artists, and venue owners and are able to get a deal then, your flower shop can see significant profits.
- In addition to selling flowers, if you can also outsource floral designers or provide consultation services for event decorations this can be a great business
- Floral business still has to improve in the areas of using sustainable farming and use of biodegradable products for packing or decorating. If your business can implement this change, you can gain a significant ratio of customers who cares for eco-friendly products
- The most lesser known yet profitable opportunity in the flower business lies in turning the waste produced from flowers such as petals, stems, and leaves to put to good use such as manufacturing essential oils, dies, and scents
Challenges involved in Flower Business
- The main challenge involved in the flower business is, it is a highly seasonal business. There will be a lot of fluctuations in the flower prices which impacts both the consumer and seller. For example, on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Mother’s Day the flower business owners need to invest a lot in the supplier to get the product and then they can sell it at a high-profit margin – However, if the market is dry and the expected customers don’t buy the flowers the business will be in loss
- Climatic conditions also play a significant role in flower production, which can impact market prices and the quality of the flower.
- Although buying flowers directly from a shop is still common, there has been a significant increase in customers preferring to buy flowers online. However, several flower shops still depend on physical orders than Online. Therefore Flowershops should overcome the challenge on completely depending on physical orders and try to embrace technology
So How much does a Flower Business make?
There are a lot of search results in the internet that states, On average retail floral shops make $362,318 annually However, this cannot be a standard there are a lot of factors to weigh while calculating the average profit of a flower shop.
Factors like Location and Demand play key roles in deciding the profit of a flower shop. If you are operating at a high-priced location, you may tend to get more customers but you also going to pay high rent. Moreover, season and occasions highly influence your profit, so this is something every flower business owners need to do the math work
Steps Involved in Starting a Flower Business – The Business Plan
Now that you have seen the opportunities and challenges involved in setting up a flower business as well as a market scenario let us discuss the steps to ensure in setting up a flower business
In order to run your flower shop commercially, you need to apply for business registration. There are different kinds of business registration such as sole proprietorship, LLC, Private limited company, etc… Among these, the sole proprietorship is more suitable for those who run their business on a smaller scale. And it also requires less documentation work. Whereas, if you are investing a high amount and thinking to get funds, then you may better opt for a private limited or partnership
Gathering Market Research Data
Conducting market research helps you to know potential customers, offers, and the forecast of sales. As mentioned earlier, the flower business is a potential business that highly depends upon seasons and occasions. Hence you need to have strong data on the target market, age, gender, and purchasing power of the location where you are setting up the business
With market research data, you can decide the type of flowers and gift articles that are most suitable in your locality and then figure out the pricing plans accordingly
Not only that, well-performed market research data gives you information of your competitors and identify their gaps that you can utilize the opportunity to create a USP
To start a flower business, you required resources such as Location(land), budget, inventory system, employees, and equipment. The details of these resources should be specified in detail in your business plan. Let us go through each one of them
We have a breakdown of the initials start-up resources required to start floral business in the following table
|Land/space||250 square feet||Rent – $30,000 (2,500 per month)|
|Equipment||Tables large and medium (2 – 3 no’s)Flower showcases normal flower showcase with refrigeration systemFlower display stand(s)Stationary equipment packing equipmentFlorist tools||$ 10,000|
|Website||Theme, Hosting, Email set-up, SEO tools (here are some economical hosting options that work best- Hostinger, Bluehost,SiteGround, Host Armada, Chemicloud, Fastcomet. SEO tools like SEMRush, SERanking, Ahrefs are best for research. Regarding theme, you can buy from theme forest. )||$ 1,500|
|Marketing||Advertising in local radio’s, T.V and newspaperPPCDigital MarketingBanners, flyers||$ 5,000|
|Inventory system||Depends upon plan and scale of your business||$ 500/ year|
|Payroll||2 employees with 35 K/year salary||$70,000|
|Total (per year)||–||$ 117,000|
So, on average the start-up costs required to start a small flower shop is ~ $117,000. However, equipment such as tables and flower display, and storage equipment are one-time purchases so you can exclude them from next year’s budget
Several small-scale floral business owners that run the business from home usually don’t hire employees. However, this type of business has smaller profit margins. On the other hand, a Mid-sized floral shop requires at least 2 florists to take care of the customer’s needs
According to Openflowershop.com, there are a few important factors in hiring an ideal flower shops employee such as education, customer service, passion, work ethic, personality, purchasing, organization skills, retail service duties, certifications, and work experience
It is important that you clearly define the description of the job and the duties to the florists that you are going to hire in order to make sure they are going to produce the best design and know how to receive customers
In high-demand seasons or in the initial stages of your business you can also hire an experienced freelance florist who can train your employees as well as provide you with the tastes of the customers. But keep in mind, you may need to pay a higher hourly wage for their service
Finding a Reliable Flower Supplier
This is one of the crucial steps of running a floral business. The flower shop owner should have sound knowledge of where to purchase when to purchase, and what to purchase at a given time and budget. There are various vendors and exporters you will find in the market selling flowers of different quality and price
Basically, flower shops purchase flowers from wholesale suppliers or directly from farms. In most of the scenarios, one would buy from a flower supplier as they already have a wide variety of flowers sourced from different farmers
What to look for in a wholesale flower supplier
- Check whether they are licensed wholesale flower suppliers.
- Figure out the prices for each type of flower.
- Know their distribution capacity.
- Know their supply timings.
- Check if they accept orders via online.
- Check if they have a membership option (* few floral retailers give membership for retailers for $50 – $100)
- Do they deliver special orders such as bouquets for weddings or funerals or special occasions?
- Check whether how they operate on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day or mother’s day or Christmas and look if there will be any price fluctuations during these days
- Finally, compare the prices and offers from different wholesalers.
- Check how they accept the money. Few wholesale flower distributors prefer cash to credit cards.
- Know if there are delivery options (certain floral retailers can ship directly to your desired location for an extra price)
Setting Up Your Flower Shop and Important Factors to Consider
Once you have the required budget, figured out floral suppliers, and studied the market, it’s time that you start opening a flower shop
This is a major milestone of your business where you are going to completely operate your business from.
While setting up a flower shop you need to take care of the following things
Location of a flower shop
The location of the flower shop can influence your customers’ inflow. Your shop should be in a place that can be accessible by customers as well as near commercial zones like theaters, churches or temples or holy places, and malls
It is always advisable that there is a minimum space where the customers can stand and watch your shop from outside. If your shop is in high-density traffic where there is low space to even walk or occupied with street vendors, it can be hard for the customers to come-in
Appearance of Storefront
In addition to having a good location, your floral shop should have an elegant appearance from the outside to attract customers. You should also have a clear readable signboard outside of your storefront that should include your website, phone numbers, and timings
Interior of Floral Shop
A serene interior is important for floral shops to entice customers and make them feel good to defiantly make a purchase. Make sure the arrangements or flowers or other gift articles are arranged properly and have a proper price tag associated with them
There should also be enough space for the customer to freely walk in and observe the shop.
Deciding What to Sell in Your Flower Shop
Once you have done the market research and know your target customers, you should be able to figure out what varieties of flowers and floral arrangements sell at a given point in time. In general tulips, daisies, lilies, gladioli, sunflowers, snapdragons, and roses are some of the bestselling flowers across the United States
In addition to just selling flowers, you also need to stock items such as gift cards, gift wrappers and gift articles as they are mostly purchased along with a flower bouquet
Operating Flower Business
There are different ways you can run a flower business out of which most flower business owners run the business completely from scratch. Starting from selecting a location, finding suppliers, and gathering resources everything to establish a flower shop.
However, you can also purchase already existing florist businesses for sale in the market. These types of flower businesses offer great value by offering a preexisting shop and inventory
You can simply look for this type of business on the internet by searching with words like florist business for sale or flower shop for sale and you can get listings of flower businesses that are on sale in your area
The next method of operating a flower business is through the franchise. Although this is not so popular it is known to be profitable especially if you have good investment capacity and looking to start the business in tier 1 cities or wealthy areas
Setting-up Pricing Structure for Flower Business
To be frank, floristry is not a regulated market and flower shops are free to charge whatever price they are thinking of. A florist can charge a premium if they are known to produce the best quality flowers and their designs are worth the price tag
Though this could be an advantage it has a potential drawback when it comes to new flower businesses that may underprice their products or overprice leading to budget issues
The best way to figure out the pricing structure is to analyze your competitors. Try checking the pricing structures of various competitors and check how much they are pricing for each variety of flowers
Moreover, the pricing strategy in the flower business depends upon the season, demand, location, service and products and overhead costs, etc.,
Here is one method of Pricing structure in Flower Business
According to a popular florist website, Little Bird Bloom explains how the retail flower pricing method works and its pros and cons. In a nutshell, this is how it works…
Retail flower pricing method
In this scenario, the pricing structure is decided based on the wholesale product rate + time invested by workers for a floral arrangement
Here’s how simple formula to calculate flower pricing
Price of the item = Wholesale cost *Markup cost * Time taken to make the item
Let us imagine the pricing structure of a $60 bouquet can be broken down into $15 for wholesale flowers x 3(markup cost) = $45 and $15 for the time invested by the florist who charges ($60/hour)
Please note, this formula is not a regulated one and may or may not work in your given scenario. As stated earlier, the flower industry is not regulated, and again it’s completely up to the owner how to decide which pricing model works best for their business
Upgrading Your Business
The need for upgradation as per market trends is crucial for any business and it applies same to the flower business too. Most floral shops still rely on conventional methods where the customer walk-ins to buy what they like. However, market data show there is a significant rise in customers preferring to order flowers online. In such cases, you should not miss the opportunity to have an e-commerce platform for your business
Next, the older way of logging the sales in the ledger book is not going to be promising if you want to be in the market. You need better insights into the sales, forecast sales and manage the inventory; Hence try getting CRM software tailored for florist professionals like Curate, Details Flowers, Floristware, etc., you can even try searching on the web with words like ‘CRM for florists’ and you will get number of searches and pick the best software as per your budget and convenience
Branding and Marketing
Marketing plays an essential role in the Floral business by attracting customers and scaling up the business. Here are quick strategies you can use to promote your flower business
- Using social media to market your business – Instagram, and Pinterest is a great place for florists to showcase their products and these channels has the highest number of female audience. Take advantage of Youtube and publish videos of various gift articles, floral arrangements, tips, and tutorials
- Collaborate with other florists and event managers around your locality to promote your business. You can give a referral bonus to the event coordinators for referring your services. However, make sure you stick to the quality and terms promised to the customer
- Make sure you have a website that is well-designed and has high-quality pictures and details. It should also have an option where customers can order online
- Reach out to a digital marketing agency before you fully go online as they can suggest tools and techniques that can help your services be visible to customers searching on the internet
- Try marketing your signboards at prominent locations that can bring awareness to a larger audience
- Finally, make sure of Radio stations and Local newspapers to advertise your business
Floral Business still is an unexplored industry with a lot of opportunities for new businesses. When utilized properly this can be a million-dollar business. It can be started as low as $10,000 from home and provide a decent income for a small family, in several nations floral industry has created a wealth of opportunities for women to stand on their own feet. With the right marketing tactics and using technology, one can consider making this a potential full-time business