Start a dried flower business by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple step guide to starting your dried flower business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
STEP 1: Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How long it will take you to break even?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a dried flower business?
Initial costs are typically wrapped up in gardening supplies. You may need to lease vacant land if you don’t have enough space in your own home to grow the crops you want. Community gardens can cut down severely on leasing costs if you don't currently have enough land, though you may be limited on space. Owners may also purchase flowers too, though this method can get very expensive.
Owners may also need a state permit to conduct their affairs, with each state having different requirements and regulations. If you choose to freeze-dry bouquets for flower preservation, you will need a good specimen chamber for the best results. This professional equipment may cost up to $1,600. You may want to start your own website, or invest in online advertising to attract customers. A basic website service will cost about $16 a month. Most people can start this business with less than $2,000 in their pocket total.
What are the ongoing expenses for a dried flower business?
Ongoing expenses can include the following, depending on whether or not you grow your own flowers or buy from a wholesaler.
- Gardening supplies
- Website maintenance
- Equipment replacement
- Staff salaries
- Flower purchases
- Land upkeep (e.g., leasing costs, tilling, etc.)
Who is the target market?
You’re looking for people who love to make their own decorations. Lampshades, bags, and candle holders are just a few decor items that would benefit from dried flowers, meaning there are a wide range of hobbyists available.
You may also want to market to those who want to keep their bouquets from different events intact, and store them in special keepsake places. For example, a child may want their dried flowers in a family chest from their First Communion or middle-school graduation.
How does a dried flower business make money?
Maintaining a garden and crops doesn't necessarily take very much money to do, and flowers are some of the most profitable plants to sell on the market. Those who run these businesses can base their prices based on demand in the area. The key is finding a steady group of hobbyists who come to rely solely on your flowers.
How much can you charge customers?
This is heavily dependent on the types of services you offer. Bouquet preservation can run a person up to $700. A full dried flower bouquet of a variety of different bulbs may run up to $20. One type of plant, like lavender, may be closer to $7 or $8.
How much profit can a dried flower business make?
Flower drying businesses can make hundreds of thousands of dollars with the right marketing and services, even if most people use it as a supplemental income. If you can charge even $200 to preserve bouquets from important events, it’s about $18,000 or more in profit you’ll make for every 100 orders you have. Dried flowers can also net you very high profit margins, especially if you grow and dry them yourself. If you sell 100 bouquets at $16, that’s potentially $1500 in pure profit.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Attend every trade and craft show to get more clients, and consider making your own specialty crafts using your dried flowers. Offer personalized services for people (e.g., spelling out someone's name in flowers). Expanding your business to preservation can also be a good way to maintain your profits if you start with dried flowers only. Market yourself heavily especially around formal dances (e.g., homecoming, winter formal, and prom), and during wedding season.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your dried flower business is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
For most small businesses forming an LLC is a great option, but if you still want to weigh all your options check our our article, What Structure Should I Choose for My Business?
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a dried flower business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
In business where services are provided on an extended basis, a services contract is often put in place outlining terms and conditions of service.
Dried Flower businesses should require clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, and service level expectations. An example of a service contract can be found here.
STEP 7: Get Business Insurance
Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
How to promote & market a dried flower business
The best way to promote your business is to offer the plants that people want to use the most in their crafts. You may want to take full-color photos of your best work to illustrate just how beautiful dried flowers can really be. Market your preservation tactics as the best in the business, and then continue to learn and experiment with the best ways to keep your flowers perfect.
Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.
How to keep customers coming back
Hobbyists love websites that teach them how to do what they do better, so you may want to start advertising there if you were hoping to sell directly. Specialty websites like Reddit are also a good spot to establish yourself for free, though you have to be careful about your reputation there. The retention will stem from offering quality goods that can be used in a variety of circumstances. When it comes to craft stores, show your enthusiasm for the art of drying flowers. Take samples, and grow plants that the different stores aren’t currently offering to distinguish yourself from others in your industry. The more research you do into the particular companies, the more likely it is you’ll make a business partner.
STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence
A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Start A Dried Flower Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
This business is excellent for someone who loves to spend time in their garden, and who understands how plants react to a variety of different circumstances. You don’t need to have formal education in botany, but you should be willing to experiment with different types of techniques and plants.
What happens during a typical day at a dried flower business?
This business is normally started as a part-time enterprise (at least at first). Here are some activities that may be included in the normal day of a dried flower business owner:
- Finding craft shows/stores to partner with
- Marketing services online and in-person to hobbyists.
- Growing and maintaining a garden
- Drying out plants
- Freeze drying plants
- Choosing new crops for your business
- Harvesting flowers at the proper time
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful dried flower business?
The first thing you’ll need is in-depth knowledge of how flower drying works. From oven to glycerin drying, there are a variety of ways to reach your goal. Those who need dried flowers for centerpieces may want a different look/feel than those who will use them for their homemade sandals. New business owners will also need people skills to find either direct clients in their area, or to make relationships with larger retail craft stores.
What is the growth potential for a dried flower business?
Normally this business is done as a side venture to a person’s full-time job, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Flower drying can grow exponentially if you establish yourself in a community as the go-to for decorative plants or sentimental keepsakes.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a dried flower business?
All flower drying businesses should develop service contracts with the stores they supply. These contracts may be boilerplate, but they need to include provisions for payment failures, legal disputes, and ordering hiccups.
How and when to build a team
Normally you won’t need to build a team at the beginning. However, if you do start to find that your demand heavily outweighs the supply, you can hire other gardeners and teach them how to do what you do.