Start a flower shop 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 guide to starting your flower shop. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
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 much can you charge customers?
- 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 flower shop?
A flower shop business usually costs between $10,000 and $50,000 to open. The majority of this goes towards coolers for keeping flowers fresh, leasing a location, buying the initial order of flowers and floral-arranging supplies (e.g. floral tape, vases, floral foam, floral wire and preservatives). If a business will be delivering flowers, wages for an employee and a the price of a delivery van should be considered.
Florists can keep these startup costs lower by purchasing only one cooler and reducing how many flowers they stock at a time. They also can offer delivery but only deliver in the morning and evening, before and after business hours, so they can make deliveries without closing their floral shop or hiring an employee to cover for them. Purchasing a van can also be delayed until the business is earning a profit.
What are the ongoing expenses for a flower shop?
The largest ongoing expense for a flower shop business are ordering flowers, which usually runs about 40 to 50 percent of sales. Other significant ongoing expenses include the cost to lease a space, employee wages and vehicle expenses (for businesses that have a delivery van).
Who is the target market?
Most people purchase flowers for special occasions, and many people give flowers to others even when there isn’t a particular event. Customers who have a significant amount of discretionary income, however, have more to spend on flowers than those who have less discretionary income. Therefore, flower shop businesses can usually sell higher-priced flowers and arrangements to more affluent customers.
How does a flower shop make money?
A flower shop business makes money by charging its customers for flowers. A flower shop will sell individual flowers and arrangements.
How much can you charge customers?
The price of flowers varies from around $5 or less for certain individual flowers to $100 or more for fancy arrangements. Events that call for multiple arrangements, such as weddings can easily reach $1,000 or more.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Flower shop businesses can increase their orders by keeping in contact with their customer base, especially around holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. They can increase their average order sale price by offering extra items, such as vases, and up-selling fancier arrangements.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Flower Shop Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your flower shop is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
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?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
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.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
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.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
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 business permits or licenses may be needed to open a flower shop 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.
Flower shops may also wish to look into applying for a resale certificate, as a resale certificate allows retailers to purchase goods intended for resale without paying sales tax.
In addition, local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. For more information:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office.
- Reach out to a local association listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
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.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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How to promote & market a flower shop
A flower shop business can market itself to local residents by offering classes after hours. For instance, a shop might offer a class on designing arrangements for a significant other or choosing in-season flowers for weddings.
A floral business can also increase income by attracting large orders for events through networking with wedding planners and funeral homes. People often ask these businesses if they know a good florist. The businesses are usually willing to recommend a reputable floral business -- especially if they receive a commission for doing so.
How to keep customers coming back
A flower shop can provide exceptional customer service by building a database that includes customers’ birthdays, the birthdays of their family member and their anniversaries. With a list of such dates, a flower shop can recommend a flower or floral arrangement when a customer needs it. For instance, a shop can send a customer an email for a coupon off a specific arrangement the week before their anniversary or parent’s birthday. Most flower shop businesses have plenty of beautiful flowers to choose from, but not all florists offer this level of service.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Start A Flower Shop 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?
People who love flowers and have an eye for beauty are well-suited to open a flower shop business. The business involves a mixture of quiet hours, preparing flowers alone, and time meeting with customers. Because customers may come into a floral shop at any time of day, it’s difficult to run a floral business while working another day job.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a flower shop?
The day-to-day activities of a flower shop business involve ordering, preparing and arranging flowers, helping customers select flowers and fulfilling customers’ orders. If delivery is offered, flowers also must be taken to customers.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful flower shop?
A good florist is an expert on flowers, knowing the different types of flowers, how long they’ll last and how to properly care for them. They also are skilled at decorating and able to create beautiful arrangements that can both stand on their own and complement the decor surrounding them.
While a florist needs to know flowers and be able to arrange them, a florist doesn’t necessarily need formal training. Louisiana previously had licensing requirements for florists, but the state has changed its laws. At the time of writing, no states require florists to be licensed.
A florist should also be comfortable talking to people no matter what they’re going through. Florists regularly see customers who are planning weddings or celebrating major accomplishments, as well as customers who have loved ones who are seriously ill or recently passed away.
What is the growth potential for a flower shop?
A flower shop business can be a small, one-person operation (that doesn’t offer delivery), or it can be a national chain with hundreds of locations. Some of the largest national operations sell flowers online only and don’t have physical stores.
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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.
How and when to build a team
One of the first employees that most flower shop hire is a driver to help fulfill delivery orders. As a business grows, a florist may hire salespeople to help customers in-store. These employees can usually be taught what they need to know about flowers on the job, as long as the business owner is present and can provide assistance if a salesperson needs it.