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Owning a flower shop typically involves renting a space from which you will sell floral arrangements. Owners purchase these arrangements at wholesale price and resell them to consumers for a profit.
Florists provide cut flowers and floral arrangements for all these occasions. They not only offer people beautiful flowers, but they help arrange flowers so they look good and make recommendations if customers aren’t sure of what to get.
Who is this business right for?
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 steps to start a flower shop?
Once you're ready to start your flower shop, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your flower shop is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your flower shop keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Establish a 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.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I 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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
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.
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.
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).
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.