Floral arrangements and delivery service is in demand year round. I guess you could say they are seasonal products for all seasons. This makes floral design a profitable business to get into. Yet, if you don’t have the funds or desire to open a shop, but still like working with plants and have a creative flair, you have options. You even can work out of your home!
For example, you could offer a floral arranging service for flower shops, grow the flowers at home selling to stores or produce and sell floral arrangement accessories such as vases, cards or other trimmings. If you decide not to have a storefront, you may be able to cheaply lease outdoor space in a popular downtown area with lots of traffic. You can also work from home. With a delivery service, you can easily operate out of your house with a vehicle. To get started, you’ll need the items used to create your arrangements and a few basic tools.
With events and holidays happening throughout the year, the opportunities to make money are all around you. You can work with individuals to provide arrangements for holidays, birthdays, special events like weddings and graduations, etc. In addition, you can look for longer-term contracts with churches, hotels, restaurants and other businesses who need flowers delivered or arranged on a regular basis. These clients can provide a more stable and consistent income flow. It’s also an easy way to showcase your designs to other prospective flower-buyers (for free!).
As a floral designer, you can charge a certain hourly rate, and also have established prices for certain arrangements or orders that clients place. What you charge will depend on how much you pay for your wholesale supplies and also what other flower shops are charging, so you can stay competitive with the market yet still remain profitable.
Finding customers: Whether you are working from home or out of a shop, start with people who know and trust you. Offer special discounts for free flowers in exchange for referrals, and you’ll be surprised at how your prospect list will grow. If you really want to make a statement, create mini-arrangements and deliver them free-of-charge to local businesses you think could be interested your service (i.e. wedding planners, funeral homes, party supply stores). Attach a business card with a simple brochure of your services and rates. Make sure you include a coupon or special introductory price to have them like you even more. Don’t forget the advertising opportunities you have in the yellow pages, local newspapers and radio stations
Donating a flower arrangement for a large event is another inexpensive way to get your business name out there – in front of lots of people. Submitting a press release is a great example – the media will promote you for free if you send them a great news story about your business. This could be as simple is having your friend write a review about your “Store Opening” and sending it to your local paper.
So how do you actually start your floral business?
1. Learn your business. If you don’t have experience arranging flowers, get some! Take a flower arranging class, learn about plants – you want to know a lot more about your product than your customer does. Get an inexpensive start-up guide on how to start a floral business or interview a floral designer or flower shop owner who can give you helpful advice.
2. Find out who your customers are. Who is buying flowers in your community – and what for? What extra service can you provide that they are not already getting, and how much is it worth to your potential customers (what are they willing to pay)? What are other flower shops charging for their designs? As long as you offer more value (i.e. unique products, faster service, weekend or evening hours, etc), you don’t necessarily need the lowest price to gain market share.
3. Find out which licenses or permits you need from your local government office. Talk with an accountant, insurance agent and banker (you can get referrals from other local business owners or friends) to get helpful tips on financing, tax issues, insurance and business management that will save you time, money and hassles in the long run.
Owning a floral business can be very rewarding. Working directly with customers will help you learn the ropes faster and grow your company. Use your creativity to offer a truly unique service that you really enjoy – after all, it’s YOUR business.