Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on May 5, 2021 Updated on November 23, 2023
$9,550 - $18,100
$100,000 - $200,000 p.a.
Time to build
1 - 3 months
$30,000 - $40,000 p.a.
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.
Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.
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.
The startup cost for a flower shop business ranges between $10,000 and $50,000. Most of this money goes towards buying the following:
Setting up a business name and corporation
$150 - $200
Business licenses and permits
$100 - $300
$100 - $300
Business cards and brochures
$200 - $300
$6,000 - $10,000
Initial inventory and supplies
$1,000 - $2,000
$1,000 - $2,000
$1,000 - $3,000
$9,550 - $18,100
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.
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.
Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.
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
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 florist shop location
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: “The Floral Studio” over “Dutch Tulip Florist”
Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
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: A concise overview of the florist business, highlighting its key elements and objectives.
Business Overview: Detailed information about the florist business, including its mission, vision, and the niche it aims to serve.
Product and Services: Clearly outline the floral products and services offered, such as arrangements, bouquets, and event floral design.
Market Analysis: Examination of the local floral market, identifying target customers, trends, and potential growth opportunities.
Competitive Analysis: Assessment of competitors in the floral industry, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses to position the business effectively.
Sales and Marketing: Strategies for promoting and selling floral products, encompassing online presence, partnerships, and advertising.
Management Team: Introduction of key individuals responsible for running the florist business, highlighting their expertise and roles.
Operations Plan: Details on the day-to-day operations, including sourcing flowers, arranging and delivering orders, and managing inventory.
Financial Plan: A comprehensive outline of the florist business’s financial projections, including startup costs, revenue forecasts, and break-even analysis.
Appendix: Supplementary materials such as resumes, permits, and additional information supporting the florist business plan.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist 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 an 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can create your own website using website builders. 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.
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.
For your florist business, the marketing strategy should focus on showcasing the beauty, quality, and creativity of your floral arrangements. Emphasize your ability to craft arrangements for a variety of occasions, your use of fresh, high-quality flowers, and any unique services or styles you offer, such as bespoke designs, eco-friendly options, or flower subscription services.
Professional Branding: Your branding should convey elegance, freshness, and creativity. This includes your logo, storefront design, packaging, and online presence.
Direct Outreach: Network with local wedding planners, event coordinators, funeral homes, and corporate businesses to introduce your services. Building partnerships can lead to regular orders and referrals.
Digital Presence and Online Marketing
Professional Website and SEO: Develop a visually appealing website showcasing your floral arrangements, services, and customer testimonials. Use SEO best practices to optimize your site for local search terms related to florists, flower delivery, and event florals.
Social Media Engagement: Utilize platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, which are visually oriented, to showcase your arrangements. Facebook is also great for engaging with the local community and sharing customer testimonials.
Content Marketing and Engagement
Floral Blog: Share posts about flower care tips, the meanings behind different flowers, and behind-the-scenes looks at your floral design process.
Email Newsletters: Keep your customers informed about seasonal offerings, special promotions, and floral design workshops.
Video Tutorials: Create and share video content on arranging flowers, choosing the right bouquet for different occasions, or floral care tips.
Experiential and In-Person Engagements
Floral Workshops: Host workshops or classes in your shop to engage with customers and offer them a hands-on experience with flower arranging.
Participation in Local Events: Set up booths at local fairs, markets, or bridal shows to showcase your work and connect with potential clients.
Collaborations and Community
Collaborations with Local Businesses: Partner with local venues, restaurants, and other businesses for mutual promotion or to offer your floral services for their events.
Community Involvement: Participate in community events or charity functions, offering your floral services or engaging in sponsorships.
Customer Relationship and Loyalty Programs
Loyalty Program for Regular Customers: Implement a loyalty program that offers discounts or special benefits to repeat customers.
Referral Discounts: Encourage word-of-mouth referrals by offering discounts to customers who refer new clients to your business.
Promotions and Advertising
Targeted Local Advertising: Use local newspapers, radio, and community boards to advertise your business. Online advertising through Google Ads and social media can also be effective.
Seasonal Promotions: Offer special promotions for major holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or Christmas, when demand for flowers is high.
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:
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: Run a Florist Business – 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.
Is florist a good side hustle?
Running a florist business as a side hustle can be a great way to earn extra income. It offers flexibility and allows you to showcase your creativity and passion for floral design. However, it’s important to consider the time commitment required to manage orders, source flowers, and handle customer inquiries.
How can I differentiate my florist business from competitors in the market?
To differentiate your florist business from competitors, focus on creating a unique and memorable experience for your customers. Offer distinctive floral arrangements and designs that showcase your artistic style and creativity.
How to Start a Florist Business
Decide if the Business Is Right for You
Hone Your Idea
Brainstorm a Business Name
Create a Business Plan
Register Your Business
Register for Taxes
Fund your Business
Apply for Licenses/Permits
Open a Business Bank Account
Get Business Insurance
Prepare to Launch
Build Your Team
Run a Florist Business - Start Making Money!
Florist Business FAQs
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