Everybody loves flowers! That’s why starting a flower shop can be a profitable endeavor.
Still, to be successful, it’s important to take your time and make all the necessary steps. Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re planning to set up a stand-alone flower shop or provide flowers for events, such as weddings, funerals, anniversaries, and birthdays, this step-by-step guide will help you get there.
Let’s start planting the seeds for a flourishing flower business.
Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You
There’s more to owning a florist shop than just arranging flowers. So, as an up-and-coming business owner, you’ll want to do an industry analysis to develop a strong sense of what’s going on in the market.
Pros and Cons
Understanding the pros and cons of selling fresh flowers can help you prepare for the highs and lows that come with it.
- Make your own hours, choose your clients
- Work among great scents and positivity!
- Show your creativity with diverse arrangements
- Simple, profitable model
- Highly competitive
- Limited growth
Floristry industry trends
The US floral gifting market is expected to grow 5% annually through 2025, according to analyst ReportLinker.com.((https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/06/03/2042934/0/en/The-floral-gifting-market-in-US-is-expected-to-grow-at-a-CAGR-of-over-5-during-the-period-2020-2025.html))
Industry size and growth
Trends and challenges
The latest trends in the flower industry include:
- Resurgent popularity of flat-pack bouquets
- Preference for local flowers
- The rise in popularity of flowers as gifts
Florists face some challenges such as:
- Poor quality of flowers after transport
- Global flower shortage
What kind of people work in the flower business?
How much does it cost to start a flower business?
The startup cost for a flower shop business ranges between $10,000 and $50,000. Most of this money goes towards buying the following:
|Start-up Costs||Ballpark Range||Average
|Setting up a business name and corporation||$150 - $200||$175
|Business licenses and permits||$100 - $300||$200
|Insurance ||$100 - $300||$200
|Business cards and brochures||$200 - $300||$250
|Coolers||$6,000 - $10,000||$8,000
|Initial inventory and supplies||$1,000 - $2,000||$1,500
|Rent||$1,000 - $2,000||1500
|Website||$1,000 - $3,000||2000
|Total||$9,550 - $18,100||$13,825
The largest recurring expense for a flower shop is re-stocking the flowers, which is usually about 40-50% of sales. Other ongoing expenses worth noting include wages and delivery costs.
How much can you earn from the florist business?
Most florists do about $200,000 in annual sales, and have a profit margin around 20%.
In your first year or two, you could set up an online shop and work from home, with a higher profit margin of 30%. If you bring in $100,000 in annual revenue, you’d get $30,000 in profit, assuming that 30% margin. As your brand gains recognition, sales could double to $200,000 a year. At this stage, you’d rent a commercial space and hire staff, reducing your profit margin to around 20%. With annual revenue of $200,000, you’d make a tidy profit of $40,000.
What barriers to entry are there?
Some of the challenges you’re likely to encounter when trying to venture into the floral industry include:
- Connecting with younger demographic
- Securing deals with top suppliers
- Adapting to climate change
- Building strong brand and loyal base
Related Business Ideas
If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
Step 2: Hone Your Idea
You now have an overview of the industry. The next phase is to narrow your focus on fundamental principles to fine-tune your business idea further.
Why? Identify an opportunity
Your direct competitors are other floral shops in your area as well as online retailers like 1-800-flowers.com. Depending on your location, you may also compete against local department and grocery stores selling flowers.
It’s a good idea to see what your competitors are selling and at what prices. That way, you can offer unique arrangements at discount rates to gain a competitive advantage.
What? Determine your products or services
You should consider creating a niche for yourself by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry. This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing within your niche market. For example, you can introduce unique flower designs in unique packaging or containers. You might also want to focus on celebrations such as bridal showers, weddings, birthday parties, and other joyous occasions. Another option is to focus on funeral flower arrangements.
How much should you charge for flowers?
There isn’t a standard pricing structure for florists. As a floral designer, you should determine your markup by type of flowers, supplies needed for flower arrangement, labor, and whether or not the flowers are in season.
Most people in the floral business charge a markup of 3.5x on flowers and 2x for containers and supplies. The standard labor charge is 20% of the retail price. However, you can charge more for complex floral arrangements. Use our markup calculator to calculate your sale price and how much revenue and profit you will earn with different markup percentages.
When determining your pricing structure, be sure to keep in mind what other flower shops in your area charge. Generally, you want to set your pricing in line with the industry standards.
Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.
Who? Identify your target market
You’ll need to know who to sell your flowers to before opening your shop. The target customers for a floral business are varied. Your prospects may include:
- Adult gift givers
- Funeral homes
- Event buyers such as couples getting married
- Home flower buyers
Your location may determine who your customers are. So, be sure to do some research in the neighborhood and its demographic to help you decide which flowers you should sell.
Where? Choose your business premises
In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out a storefront. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.
The best place to open a floral design business is in an area with high foot traffic, such as near a subway station or busy parking lot. If you choose a storefront, make sure it’s easy for customers to see your business. On top of that, ensure the shop’s location allows suppliers to easily deliver.
When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:
- Central location accessible via public transport
- Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
- Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
- Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
It is also a good idea to have an online shop for customers who can’t make it to your brick-and-mortar store.
Step 3: Brainstorm a Business Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:
- Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
- Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
- The name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
- Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
- Including keywords, such as “flowers” or “floral”, boosts SEO
- Choose a name that allows for expansion: “Jim’s Bakery” over “Jim’s Cookies”
- Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
- Use online tools like the Step by Step business name generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.
Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these.
Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that set your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.
Step 4: Create a Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:
- Executive Summary: Brief overview of the entire business plan; should be written after the plan is complete.
- Business Overview: Overview of the company, vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
- Product and Services: Describe your flowers and services in detail.
- Market Analysis: Assess market trends such as variations in demand and prospects for growth, and do a SWOT analysis.
- Competitive Analysis: Analyze main competitors, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and create a list of the advantages of your services.
- Sales and Marketing: Examine your companies’ unique selling propositions (USPs) and develop sales, marketing, and promotional strategies.
- Management Team: Overview of management team, detailing their roles and professional background, along with a corporate hierarchy.
- Operations Plan: Your company’s operational plan includes procurement, office location, key assets and equipment, and other logistical details.
- Financial Plan: Three years of financial planning, including startup costs, break-even analysis, profit and loss estimates, cash flow, and balance sheet.
- Appendix: Include any additional financial or business-related documents.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist at Fiverr to create a top-notch business plan for you.
Step 5: Register Your Business
Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.
Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business!
Choose where to register your company
Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to floristry.
If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.
Choose your business structure
Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your flower business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.
Here are the main options:
- Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
- General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
- C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
- S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just needs to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using ZenBusiness’s online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.
Step 6: Register for Taxes
The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.
It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.
Step 7: Fund your Business
Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:
- Bank loans: This is the most common method, but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
- SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
- Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
- Venture capital: Offer potential investors an ownership stake in exchange for funds, keeping in mind that you would be sacrificing some control over your business.
- Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
- Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
- Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.
Bank and SBA loans are probably the best options, other than friends and family, for funding a flower business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.
Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits
Starting a flower business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more.
You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.
This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.
If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.
Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account
Before you start making money you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your flower business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
Step 10: Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.
Here are some types of insurance to consider:
- General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
- Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
- Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
- Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
- Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
- Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
- Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
- Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of any of the above insurance types.
Step 11: Prepare to Launch
As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.
Essential software and tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
Floral business software like IRIS Floral, FAS Pearl, and Details Flowers can help with accounting, purchasing, event organization, and project management.
- Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero.
- If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
Some of your business will come from the casual passerby or online visitors, but still, you should invest in digital marketing! Getting the word out is especially important for new businesses, as it’ll boost customer and brand awareness.
Once your website is up and running, link it to your social media accounts and vice versa. Social media is a great tool for promoting your business because you can create engaging posts that advertise your products:
- Facebook: Great platform for paid advertising, allows you to target specific demographics, like men under age 50 in the Cleveland area.
- Instagram: Same benefits as Facebook but with different target audiences.
- Website: SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Buy Now.” This can sharply increase purchases.
- Google and Yelp: For businesses that rely on local clientele, getting listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be crucial to generating awareness and customers.
Take advantage of your website, social media presence, and real-life activities to increase awareness of your offerings and build your brand. Some suggestions include:
- Competitions and giveaways – Generate interest by offering prizes for customers who complete a certain action, such as the 10th customer every Thursday.
- Signage – Put up eye-catching signage at your store and website.
- Flyering – Distribute flyers in your neighborhood and at industry events.
- In-Person Sales – Offer your products/services at local markets, trade shows.
- Post a video – Post a video about your flower business. Use humor and maybe it will go viral!
- Seek out referrals – Offer incentives to generate customer referrals to new clients.
- Paid ads on social media – Choose sites that will reach your target market and do targeted ads.
- Pay–per-click marketing – Use Google AdWords to perform better in searches. Research your keywords first.
- Create infographics – Post infographics and include them in your content.
Develop your website
Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism. They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.
You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.
Focus on USPs
Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your flower shop meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.
Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Some signature USPs for your flower business could be:
- The best locally grown flowers!
- Reliable and fast flower delivery
- The wildest and most unique arrangements
You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a flower shop, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in floristry for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections.
The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in flowers. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.
Step 12: Build Your Team
If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a flower business would include:
- Floral Designer
- General Manager
- Marketing Lead
At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need.
Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.
Step 13: Start Making Money!
You’re now ready to start making money with your flower business. You can bet there’s always a demand for flowers, whether for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, or funerals. Among the keys to success in this industry is providing excellent customer service on top of good quality flowers. Having satisfied customers will inspire their loyalty and potentially lead to successful referrals.
With adequate preparation and a reliable supply of flowers, you should be able to get your florist business up and running in no time. You could even expand your business soon and enjoy a profitable career for years!
Florist Business FAQs
Can I start a florist business from home?
Yes. You can. However, you’ll need to embark on a vigorous marketing campaign to attract customers. Remember, most floral shops are located in areas with high human traffic to serve as many customers as possible. Plus, you need to offer delivery services if you operate your business from home.
What else can I sell in a flower shop?
You can sell various items, including greeting cards, chocolates, fragrances, home décor materials, and gift items, depending on your customer’s preferences. The idea is to make floristry a one-stop-shop for people looking for flowers and related gifting items.
What flowers are most profitable?
Some of the flowers that can rake in some good revenue include roses, daisies, lilies, irises, peonies, and daffodils, to name but a few. When choosing flowers to sell in your shop, consider your target market. Ideally, you want to stock flowers with high demand.