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What is a Floristry Business?
The flower and indoor plant industry in the UK is worth a huge £2.2 billion. Traditionally, people used to only buy flowers and plants for their loved ones on special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day or birthdays. However, in recent years, the desire to bring nature into our homes and create a more calming, zen and aesthetically pleasing home environment has increased. This has resulted in a huge increase in sales of flowers and plants, making now a great time to set up a floristry business.
With the added business many florists get from supplying flowers to events or other businesses, starting up a floristry business can be extremely lucrative.
A florist is an individual who designs and creates arrangements of flowers and plants in bouquets, wreaths, vases, centrepieces and other designs. Your floristry business will source, process, cut and arrange flowers and plants for a variety of customers and/or events.
You will need to be aware of what flowers and plants are in season and will need to have great knowledge and understanding of taking care of flowers and increasing their longevity.
There are multiple responsibilities associated with running a floristry business.
These could include:
- Sourcing flowers from suppliers or flower markets.
- Monitoring stock and determining which flowers and plants are required.
- Creating floral displays and arrangements based on your own designs or customer requests.
- Preparing quotes, taking orders and handling payments and invoices.
- Meeting with clients.
- Providing advice on floral choices.
- Pruning and watering the flowers.
- Providing advice on plant care and maintenance.
- Selling flowers and plants and arranging pick-up or delivery.
- Setting up floral displays (for example, at a funeral, a wedding or another event).
- Keeping up to date with flower and plant trends and new floristry techniques.
- Sweeping, cleaning and organising the shop or preparation area.
- Creating and updating your floristry portfolio.
- Organising deliveries.
There are several different ways you can choose to run a floristry business:
- A floristry shop.
- Operating your floristry business out of another shop or venue.
- Operating an online floristry business.
- Operating both a floristry shop and an online floristry business.
To enable your floristry business to succeed, there are certain skills you will require. An artistic or creative flair is recommended to help you create attractive displays. You will also need great attention to detail, good communication skills and the ability to work well with your hands.
Types of Customers
The types of customers your business is likely to attract can depend on several factors:
- Your location: People tend to visit florists in a location that is convenient to them. You may choose to operate in a town or city centre or a residential area.
- Your flowers and plants: Do you specialise in certain types of flowers and plants? Do you have diversity in your options? This can have an impact on your client base.
- Your creations: Some customers prefer sophisticated arrangements, whereas others want an arrangement that is more fun. Will you specialise in a specific floristry style or diversify?
- Your price points: Some customers opt for a budget-friendly florist, whereas others are happier to pay higher prices for higher quality products.
Your floristry business will have the option to create bouquets and arrangements for walk-in customers.
Floristry businesses can also cater for several different types of events, such as:
- Corporate events.
You could also choose to target hotels, restaurants and other businesses that display fresh flowers on their premises.
Equipment You Will Need
Equipment is an essential purchase for a floristry business.
Some of the equipment you may require includes:
A floral knife
A floral knife is an essential tool for florists. It can be used for cutting stems, wires and ribbons and is essential for flower arranging. Your knife should be the right size for your hand and should be sharp. Floral knives typically cost between £5 and £15.
Floral branch cutters
For thicker stems and branches, you will need branch cutters. These are similar to the cutters or clippers you might use in your garden and come in different shapes and sizes, depending on your requirements. Branch cutters usually cost between £10 and £20.
Flower thorn strippers
These can be used to remove thorns and leaves from flower stems, such as roses, without causing damage to the flower. Some strippers are made out of plastic and others are made out of metal. Metal strippers are usually stronger and more durable and last longer. You can expect to pay approximately £7.
If you do large arrangements for weddings, funerals and other events, floral cages allow you to design your arrangements and keep your flowers secure. They are usually made out of plastic and filled with floral foam. Floral cages vary in price depending on their size.
Flower frogs sit inside the vase or other container and allow you to construct the arrangement and keep the flowers in place. Flower frogs are available in different sizes and often cost between £5 and £10.
This can stabilise the flowers in an arrangement and keep them firmly in place. Foam can also help your flowers to last longer which is more likely to result in repeat business. Floral foam is usually priced at £1-£2 per brick.
Floral tape is used for wrapping flowers and stems and lining vases. It is strong, sturdy and stretchable to keep your arrangements in place. You will likely need to invest in green, brown and clear tape to match different stems and vases. One roll of tape can cost as little as £2.
This can help you to keep your flowers facing certain directions and can be used to secure your arrangements together or to keep bows in place. Floral wire comes in different levels of thickness and flexibility and different colours.
Floral picks are another great option for giving your arrangements support. They can also help your arrangements looker fuller and can extend the length of the stems to make a taller arrangement. You can buy a set of floral picks for approximately £5.
Flower hoops can be used for creating wreaths and other circular arrangements. Hoops are available in different sizes and diameters. Prices typically range from £2 to £5 per hoop.
This is a type of floral glue that is used for making corsages and boutonnieres, for example, for weddings and proms. A tube of floral adhesive typically costs £7.
Presentation is key when making your arrangements and ribbons allows you to add a special touch and make your arrangements more attractive. You will need ribbons in a variety of colours, sizes and materials.
Using normal scissors to cut ribbon can result in fraying. You can purchase specialist ribbon scissors for as little as £5.
Flower boxes can be used for presentation and to ensure the safety and security of the flowers during transportation and delivery. You will need different boxes for different arrangement sizes.
Containers and vases
You may choose to provide containers and vases to hold your floral creations, especially if you cater for events. You will need a selection of vases in different sizes, designs and colours to suit different events.
Flower food and preservatives
You will need different types of food and preservatives for different flowers and plants. Ensuring you properly take care of your flowers can help your flowers to last longer and encourage repeat business.
A van or other vehicle
A lot of your business will likely come from flower deliveries. On special occasions, people like to have flowers delivered to the homes of their loved ones. Although you could use your car, a van allows you to deliver more flowers at one time and is also recommended when arranging a large number of flowers for events.
Adhesive door and body panels
These are a great advertisement tool and can be attached to your business vehicle to help your business gain exposure. These panels can be kept on your vehicle at all times to provide constant exposure to your business. They can show your business name and logo, your contact information and the services you offer.
A website is useful for advertising your business. It should contain your contact information, photos of your arrangements, the areas and locations you cover, the typical services offered and your customer reviews. It could also have an option to order flowers online. Design your website to include your business logo and to reflect your branding.
A CCTV system
This can protect your business from potential break-ins and theft. A CCTV system can cost between £300 and £5,000 depending on the specification of the equipment, how many cameras you require, and the installation costs.
Some of the other equipment you may require includes:
- Cards and delivery notes.
- Corsage pins.
- Wrapping paper.
- A stapler.
- Zip ties.
- Labels and signs.
- Gardening gloves.
- A till and Point of Sale (POS) system.
- A desk or counter.
- Water cans and/or a water mister.
- A fully stocked first aid kit.
- Business cards.
- A business phone.
When planning your floristry business, you will need to calculate the estimated costs associated with setting up and running your business.
Planning your finances allows you to estimate your monthly and annual costs, determine your initial investment requirements and calculate your acceptable profit margins.
Below is an approximate list of costs associated with a floristry business:
This will likely be your biggest expenditure. If you run your floristry business out of a shop, you will likely rent your shop on a monthly or annual basis. Rental prices will vary significantly, with city-centre locations typically having the highest prices. Prices will also vary depending on the size of the shop. Rental costs are often calculated per square metre. They can range significantly, from £500 to £15,000 per square metre annually.
Renovation and refurbishment
You will likely need to renovate or refurbish your premises to fit your business aesthetic and make it fit for purpose. Your florist shop should be attractive to your customers, easy to clean and have appropriate display areas. Renovation costs can vary, depending on the level and scale of work required.
The equipment required for your floristry business can vary in cost, although it shouldn’t require a large initial investment. You can expect to pay between £200 and £2,000 for your equipment.
Flowers and plants
You will need to replenish your flowers and plants regularly, potentially every day. You will need to factor in the costs of purchasing your stock into your weekly and monthly budget. You may be able to save on costs by purchasing directly from the grower, buying in bulk or shopping at flower markets. Buying flowers that are in season can also help to save you money.
Much of the equipment that you use will need to be replenished regularly, such as ribbons, packaging materials and arrangement equipment. You will likely need to make monthly orders to replenish your equipment.
These are the everyday costs associated with running your floristry business. It could include your overhead costs such as electricity, gas, water and council tax. Most of your running costs will be paid monthly, although some may be paid quarterly or annually. Keeping your running costs as low as possible allows you to maximise your profits.
You may initially operate your business independently and then hire staff as your business grows. You could hire other florists, shop assistants or delivery drivers. If you hire staff permanently, you will need to pay them at least the national minimum wage of £9.50 per hour and account for other expenses such as holiday pay, sick pay and maternity/paternity pay.
A van will likely be the most convenient type of vehicle for your business. The price of a van can vary significantly, depending on the make and model, and whether it is new or second-hand. A second-hand van can be purchased for as little as £5,000 and a new van for £25,000 and above.
Vehicle running costs
Your vehicle running costs include your vehicle insurance, petrol, MOT, services and the costs of any repairs. These costs can vary significantly, depending on the age and condition of your vehicle, the level of insurance you choose and the amount of travel you need to do. Typically, you can expect to pay between £50 and £200 per month. However, you can charge your customers delivery costs to offset some of your vehicle costs.
Branding can help you to establish your business’s identity and set you apart from your competition. Branding could include creating your business’s visual identity, a logo, your business name, and creating your business website. You can hire a professional to help you with branding or do some of the work yourself. Branding can cost between £500 and £10,000, depending on the amount of branding you require.
Marketing and advertising
This can help you to grow your business. You may require more advertising and marketing when your business first launches. It is recommended that you spend between 1% and 3% of your annual revenue on advertising costs; for example, if you make £45,000 per year, you should spend between £450 and £1,350 on advertising. Some of the ways you can advertise are via your website, on social media, on your van, and through leaflets, posters and business cards.
There are several types of coverage you could choose for your floristry business. The cost of your insurance can vary depending on your insurance provider and your coverage level.
Some insurance options you could choose are:
- Public Liability Insurance.
- Product Liability Insurance.
- Employers’ Liability Insurance (if relevant).
- Stock Cover.
- Goods in Transit Cover.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance.
- Contents Insurance.
When determining your pricing strategy, you will need to price your flowers differently depending on:
- Whether you are supplying flowers for an event or whether you are providing individual bouquets or arrangements.
- Whether you are delivering the flowers.
- Whether you are supplying vases or other permanent display containers.
- The types of flowers you use.
- The longevity of the flowers.
- Your location.
- Your business’s reputation.
Safely Running a Floristry Business
Safe practices are essential when running a business. They can help to protect you, your employees and your customers.
Some safety practices you can implement in your floristry business are:
Be aware of potentially harmful or toxic flowers and plants
Ensure you are aware of potentially harmful flowers and plants, especially those which can be harmful to pets. Notifying your customers of any dangers; for example, by warning them that lilies are toxic to cats, can help them make an informed decision.
Complete a course
A floristry course will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to make your business succeed and allow you to run your business safely.
Some of the courses you could opt for include:
- Level 1 Certificate in Floral Design.
- Level 2 Certificate in Floristry.
- Level 3 Extended Diploma in Floristry.
Obtain a First Aid Certificate
First aid training allows you to provide first aid treatment in the event that you or someone else has an accident or obtains an injury. You can undergo training and get a first aid certificate which is valid for three years.
Use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE can help to protect you and your employees from obtaining an injury at work, especially when dealing with thorns, chemicals or sharp equipment. Gloves, a mask and long sleeves are all recommended.
Properly maintain equipment
You will be dealing with potentially sharp and potentially hazardous equipment on a daily basis. Ensuring equipment is clean and properly maintained and performing regular equipment inspections can help to protect you and your employees and can help to extend the lifespan of your equipment.
Carry out risk assessments
You should identify any potential hazards and risks in your business and how these can be reduced or eliminated.
As part of your risk assessments, you should:
- Identify hazards.
- Determine who could be at risk.
- Evaluate any potential risks.
- Implement relevant safety measures.
- Record the results of the risk assessment.
- Review the risk assessment regularly.
If your floristry business has more than five employees, risk assessments will be a legal requirement and will need to be recorded.
There are few legal requirements for floristry businesses in the UK, making your business lower risk. However, there may be specific legal requirements depending on the type of business you run, for example, if you offer an online ordering and delivery option or if you hire employees, such as other florists or delivery drivers.
Some legal requirements you should be aware of include:
Comply with the Consumer Rights Act
Under the Consumer Rights Act, you are responsible for the condition of the flowers until they are delivered to the customer. The flowers must be in good condition and must match the description you supplied, including the number of flowers, and the type and colour of the flowers. If you offer a delivery service, you must also ensure the flowers are delivered at the time specified in your agreement with the customer.
Apply for permission to advertise outside your shop
If you put advertising or display boards outside your shop or advertise on posters or signs, you will need to apply for permission from your local authority. You must also ensure your outside advertisements stay clean, are in a safe condition and are not hazardous.
Apply for a music licence
If you play music in your shop, you will need to apply for a Licence to Play Background Music from the PPL PRS and pay an annual fee.
Comply with employment legislation
If you employ any staff, you must ensure you follow employment legislation, including the Employment Rights Act (1996) and the National Minimum Wage Act (1998). You must also comply with legislation relating to recruitment, working hours, sickness, discrimination, dismissals, and maternity or paternity pay.
Comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)
Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), you must ensure that all work equipment is safe to use, maintained properly, suitable for the job and used appropriately. You must also ensure that you and any employees you hire are trained on how to use the equipment and wear PPE, where necessary.
Comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations
The COSHH regulations state that you must control any substances that are potentially hazardous. You should also assess, control and reduce any risks or potential hazards and protect people from harm. This could include chemicals, fertiliser, plant food and any other hazardous substances you use as part of your business.
Comply with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013
RIDDOR states that you must report all injuries, diseases and dangerous events that occur when your business is operating. Reports must be made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) using an appropriate recording document.
Comply with the Manual Handling Regulations (1992)
You may be engaging in manual handling activities when you transport or move the floral arrangements and using repetitive movements when cutting and arranging the flowers. Manual handling activities can result in pain or injury. Following manual handling regulations can help to protect you and your employees from sustaining an injury or illness as a result of manual handling tasks.
Implement health and safety policies and fire safety procedures
All businesses should have health and safety policies that help to manage health and safety in your business. They protect the health and safety of you, your customers and your business. Your policies and procedures could include fire safety and emergency procedures.
Comply with the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (1992)
Under these regulations, if your business has five or more employees you must ensure you conduct appropriate risk assessments, minimise any risks and maintain all equipment. You must also make sure high levels of cleanliness are maintained.
Comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (DPA)
You must comply with both pieces of legislation when storing or sharing personal information, such as your customers’ contact details, delivery details or payment information. You must also apply for a Notification to Process Personal Data Licence. If you process or store personal information such as customer accounts and records, you will need to apply for a licence with the Information Commissioner’s Office and renew your registration every year.
Register your business
You must register your business with HMRC before you begin operating. You can register as a sole trader or as a limited company. You will need to register your business name and any other relevant information.
Register for self-assessment tax
This allows you to calculate and pay your own taxes each year. You will need to track your finances every month and submit any expenses as part of your tax assessment.
Positives of Owning a Floristry Business
Owning a floristry business can be rewarding in many different ways.
Some of the main pros associated with this type of business are:
You can be creative
Every arrangement you make will be different and you will be able to experiment with different flowers, colours and designs and create decorative pieces for a variety of events. For artistic people who enjoy being creative, floristry can be a great industry.
An accessible industry
Entering the floristry industry isn’t difficult and you don’t need any specific qualifications to set up your own business. This makes it easier for you to begin your floristry career.
Do what you love
Florists are usually passionate about what they do and love their work. You can create beautiful creations and work with different plants and flowers. Doing what you love can be extremely rewarding and make your business feel less like work.
Work with nature
Working with flowers and plants every day can have a great impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that being around plants and flowers can reduce stress and anxiety and boost your mood. Your job can actually have a positive impact on your life.
It can be lucrative
As your business grows and your arrangements become more popular, you will have the potential to earn a high income. You can charge higher prices, cater to large events and hire additional staff to help you take on more clients. The opportunity for growth will allow your business to increase its profits.
You can be part of big occasions in people’s lives
People often use a florist for the big occasions in their lives, such as their weddings. You will also be able to support people in the hardest times if you provide floral arrangements for funerals. You will also likely cater to other important events, such as birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions.
People tend to use the same florist every time they want flowers. This means you could get a lot of repeat business and be serving the same clients for months and years. This could also result in customer recommendations; if other people see your flowers at an event or in someone else’s home, this could result in more business.
A lot of business at certain times of year
During special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas, florists are extremely popular, and you will likely see a boom in business. This can have a great impact on your profits. As you can predict the increase in business, you can also plan your business accordingly, such as by increasing your working hours or hiring additional help.
Seeing people’s delight in your creations and seeing how happy your flowers make them can be extremely rewarding. If you have worked hard on your creations, seeing customer satisfaction is a huge compliment.
A positive work environment
A florist shop can be a great place to work. You will be working with plants and flowers every day and spending lots of time talking to your customers. The floristry industry is also usually very supportive, and you can connect with like-minded people.
You can work alone or as part of a team
You can choose whether you want to operate alone or as part of a team. You can make the decision based on what is best for you and your business. Your floristry business can be run by you alone, or you can hire other staff to help you complete more orders.
Control your own workload
You can choose your own working hours and take holidays whenever you want. As your business grows and you hire more employees, you could also choose to take a step back and hand over a lot of the day-to-day responsibilities.
Be involved with the local community
You will likely operate your business in areas close to your home. This allows you to connect with people from your local area and become more involved in your local community.
Be your own boss
You can make all key decisions yourself and steer your business in whichever direction you choose. You can choose how involved you want to be, the type of creations you want to make, and whether you hire employees. You can make the best decisions for you and your business.
Design your dream business
As the business owner, you can create your dream business, from the type of flowers you want to work with to the creations you want to make, whether you want to cater to events and your business’ brand and aesthetic. Creating your dream business can be very rewarding.
Negatives of Owning a Floristry Business
However, it is important to be aware of the possible cons associated with running a floristry business.
These could include:
It can be stressful
You will often be working to tight deadlines, with no room for mistakes. If there are delays or mistakes from your supplier, this can result in additional stress and the worry that your arrangements won’t be ready. You will also have the additional stress of managing the business and ensuring it succeeds.
With the rise of e-florists, offering an easy internet service, the amount of competition you will face is only increasing. You will also be competing with other florist shops and supermarkets. High competition can make it more difficult for your business to succeed.
You may have to deal with difficult clients who insist on flowers that are out of season, complain about your arrangements, or expect the flowers to last longer than they do. Dealing with difficult clients can be time-consuming and stressful and could result in the client leaving negative reviews.
Lack of job security
Because of the high competition you will face and the decline in florist shops in the UK, you may find your business struggling to succeed. The floristry industry is also heavily affected by recessions and times of financial difficulty.
You may have to wake up very early to visit suppliers and flower markets to get your stock. As you will also be operating your floristry shop during the day, you will likely be working long hours.
Most florists are busier at the weekend when most of their customers aren’t at work. Although this can mean more business at the weekend, it does mean you are working less sociable hours and could miss out on important family and social events.
Starting up a floristry business can be expensive
A floristry business may require a high initial investment. You may have to source investment from an outside source or invest a lot of your own money, making your business more high risk. If your business doesn’t succeed, you may lose a lot of money.
Work can be inconsistent
You may find that your business is much more in demand close to holidays and during the summer and is less busy at other times of the year. This can result in inconsistent profits and have a detrimental effect on your business.
It can be demanding
As well as working to deadlines and creating your arrangements, you will also have a lot of other responsibilities, such as ordering stock, advertising, handling invoices, cleaning and running the business. Running a floristry business can be demanding and time-consuming.
As you are self-employed, you won’t receive benefits such as pension contributions. You will also be responsible for doing your own taxes and organising your National Insurance contributions.
Planning Your Floristry Business
An effective and well-designed business plan is essential to the success of your floristry business. A business plan can help you to focus on the specific steps that will help your business succeed, plan your short-term and long-term goals, determine your financial needs and help your business to grow.
When creating your business plan, ensure it contains information such as:
- Your company information.
- Your company description.
- The services you will provide.
- Your branding, marketing and advertising plan.
- The structure of your business.
- The operational plan for your business.
- The financial plan for your business.
Some of the factors you will need to consider when planning your floristry business are:
What type of floristry business are you going to set up?
Will you open a floristry shop? Will you offer an online ordering service? Will you offer a delivery service? Deciding the type of business you are going to run is one of the first considerations you will need to make.
What will your target market be?
You could choose to target events such as weddings, parties and funerals or target businesses or individual customers. Determining your target market can help you to decide your advertising and marketing strategies.
What types of flowers and plants will you offer?
Consider the types of floral arrangements you want to make, and which flowers and plants are likely to be most popular. You may choose to stock seasonal flowers and plants, follow floral trends (such as stocking additional red roses for Valentine’s Day) or specialise in particular flowers and plants.
What will you include in your portfolio?
Your portfolio will be one of your most successful forms of advertisement. You can have an online portfolio, usually on your website, and a physical portfolio that prospective clients can look at. Ensure your portfolio has a good selection of images with an assortment of different flowers and arrangements, is presented well, looks professional and is aesthetically pleasing.
What local competition do you have?
What other floristry businesses operate in your local area? Are there any businesses specialising in the same floristry style as you? If so, consider their pricing, the services they offer, their branding, marketing and advertising strategies and what they do well. You should also investigate the target customer base of your competition to ensure there is a space in the market for your business.
What are your equipment requirements?
Consult the list above to determine your equipment requirements. Once you have determined your equipment requirements, you can then calculate the initial costs of purchasing the equipment and the monthly replenishment costs.
What are your initial set-up costs and running costs?
You need to determine your approximate start-up costs and running costs to enable you to calculate your initial investment, determine how you will fund this investment and what your monthly or annual costs will be. Creating a budget is a key part of your business plan. It can also help you to determine whether you can finance the business yourself or whether you require outside investment or a business loan. Consult the list above to help you calculate the approximate costs associated with setting up and running your business.
What is your pricing policy?
Your pricing will vary depending on whether you are selling individual arrangements or providing flowers for an event or business. Consider whether you will offer a discount for consistent business or if a lot of flowers are being purchased at one time.
What are your sales forecasts?
You will need to determine how many arrangements you can feasibly make each day and what your weekly, monthly and annual sales forecasts will be. As your business grows, your sales forecast will change. Consider the time it will take you to prepare each arrangement.
What are your business objectives?
Your business objectives are crucial for creating a successful business plan. Your business objectives highlight the targets and goals of your floristry business and help you to create a one-year, three-year, and five-year business plan to help you grow your business.
What are your business objectives?
Your business objectives should be SMART:
- S = Specific
- M = Measurable
- A = Achievable
- R = Realistic
- T = Time-bound
Have you complied with all legal requirements?
Consult the list above and ensure you have complied with all legal requirements before opening your floristry business. Failure to comply with the legal requirements could negatively affect your business and your profits.