Quality bouquets and flower arrangements are always in demand and having a flower shop can be a really profitable business, but only if you know how to run it properly. It’s a business like any other and it requires a business strategy, hard work and lots of patience and persistence. A flower shop needs to establish a good name locally and offer great service.
Here are some general tips on how to run a flower shop successfully and build a name of yourself. Whether it’s for the popular occasions (Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and the rest) or for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and baby showers, flowers are sought in all four seasons. This makes the flower business a very profitable one; a business full of creative strategies, imagination and opportunities for a home-based business.
Build a flower shop business plan
Before you plunge into the flower industry and start your own business, you need to understand it very well. You might’ve read a bunch of articles on the matter, or you might’ve even attended a seminar, but what you need to know for the business can’t be learnt from the outside. You need to get in it with enough knowledge and readiness to learn and make mistakes, as they are inevitable.
The flower business is not as complex as you may think, though. It is easy to grasp the basics, but you need the skills and the confidence to actually succeed and remain in the business. Here are the basic tips which will be useful when you start:
Which types of flowers are you going to sell?
Before you even begin your flower business, decide which flowers you want to sell. Supplying and delivering fresh flowers every day is a skill. It’s not easy to cope, but it can make you truly successful. Be aware which flowers are bought the most and which rare and exotic flowers are sought for special occasions. If you master the art of supply and demand and offer 100% quality and great customer service, then you have nothing to worry about.
Research the local market and the area around you
In order to get the most out of flower selling, you should know everything about the demand in your area. Based on your location, it will be easier to grow certain flowers and offer specific arrangements. If there is a hospital or a church nearby, you can get regular clients. Research the competition in the area – see what other floral stores are offering and offer a little extra.
If you are a start-up business you need to find a quick way to stand out and attract customers. Having a working business and a winning advertising strategy can save you from failure in the business.
Know your customers
Know who your customers will be. There is a customer for every product or a product for every customer. You should research who needs flowers around your area and which businesses need constant supplies. If you can think of providing an extra service, do it. Everything that will make you stand out in this business is what will attract clients.
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Location is a key factor
Your business has a chance to grow only if you choose the location properly – a perfect idea is to open your shop next to the local hospital. You can be sure that this will lead to a big demand for fresh flowers on a daily basis. Another option is to place it near a cemetery, but this can be tricky, as these areas are not very central.
A restaurant or a hotel nearby, an airport or a train station – these are all good locations which guarantee regular sales.
Start small and expand
Unless you can afford to spend a huge budget, you are one of those who can only start small and work their way from there. Many flower businesses start as home-based ones – growing flowers in the backyard or selling ones in the garage. Many such small businesses have become some of the best companies nationwide with hundreds of branches and all sorts of delivery.
Learn the business you are going to get involved in. If you lack the experience to arrange flowers, get some! You can take a class or learn everything about it through online tutorials. If you don’t know much about plants, buy or borrow some books and get knowledgeable. Check forums on flower businesses and learn as much as you can before you plunge into the business.
Flower shop and flower business ideas
Grow and sell at home
This business option is a great opportunity for stay-at-home moms or even students. Starting up a home-based flower business doesn’t require a big investment or a huge time commitment, so with some knowledge and persistence you can easily manage.
One example of getting into the business with flowers is by growing them at home and selling them to floral shops or wholesalers. Another option is to make your own floral arrangements and decorations and sell them to shops and wedding and event planners.
If you are crafty and imaginative, this is a great option to use your skills and earn a good profit out of it. You can even open your own online store and offer delivery straight from your home. Keeping the prices affordable and offering fresh flowers, just cut from your backyard will be much sought by clients.
Offer flowers on a contract basis
With plenty of events during the year, it is easy to make a profit from selling flowers, you just have to offer flowers on a contract basis. What would this mean? You can try to sign long-term contracts with hotels, restaurants, churches, wedding chapels and so on.
Create network of buyers
One good way is to create a network of individuals, who need a constant supply of fresh flowers.
This will guarantee you a constant demand for your flowers, a constant flow of income and you wouldn’t even need to open a flower store.
It would also mean more advertisement for you, as you will be able to showcase your flower arrangements to a bigger public for free – all of them potential future clients. If you decide to concentrate your skills on flower designs, determine your hourly rate and precise prices for your arrangements. Try to stay competitive on the flowers market – do research before you set your own prices.
What to consider prior to starting your own flower business
Have you reached the stage where you are seriously considering opening your own flower shop? If yes is the answet you should then think about a few factors.
To help you, we ave listed top 10 things to do prior to opening and registering your business.
Top 10 Advices prior to starting:
- Get a toll-free phone number and print it on business cards and leaflets and put it on your website. Statistics show that those phones boost the clients’ response significantly.
- If you really wish to succeed in the business you must offer impeccable customer service and try to give more than your clients expect you to. That small extra effort is what will make you stand out in the business and guarantee you positive word-of-mouth recommendation.
- Write an informative article or a column for a local newspaper. It’s best to do it for free and provide some expertise on topics referring to flowers which interest most people. For instance, what flowers to pick for a date, birthday, anniversary and so on. This is a great way to get some free advertisement and to establish yourself as not only a florist, but also an expert on flowers,
- Advertising is everything these days, so prepare a nice ad for the local newspaper and for the Internet too. The key to success is frequency, so as long as your ad keeps appearing on a regular basis, more people will remember your name.
- Spend some time checking to see who you are competing with in the business and what they are offering. This should be done regularly so you are up to date with the standard and popular services in the business. You can even get inspired to add something new. Don’t try to copy though, or if you do – copy the general idea, but be creative in the details.
- Try to communicate and bond with your customers. Try to get to know each of your customers, as this will help you meet their needs and also find out what you might be lacking in terms of service. You can create business bonds as well. Once you get clients to remember you and respect you, you will begin to make long-term relations with them.
- When you are just a beginner in the business, it’s essential to play your marketing cards right. Offer a voucher code for a flower or a bouquet from your shop. You can also add a deal of the day. These small things will make you popular among a bigger public. Think well though – you wouldn’t want to offer a hundred vouchers if you’re going to be on a minus at the end.
image alt text: Smiling florist
- Prepare the marketing plan and define a budget for the first year. Always have a clear idea of your budget year by year. This method will help you stay clear of any monetary emergencies. This way you can purchase the inventory for the shop easier.
- Be aware of how you talk to clients and suppliers on the phone. Most of your business will be done over the telephone or through emails, so make sure you keep a positive and kind attitude at all cost. Your voice should be pleasant and polite.
- Quality is extremely significant in the business of flowers. Your inventory must always be fresh. Make sure you do your best in order to offer the freshest flowers in town and this will secure you a long-term success and a great reputation.
You need passion for this job
Are you wondering why it says passion instead of skills, for instance. It’s because you need to love what you do in order to succeed. You must love flowers and have an eye for the beauty and aesthetics in this business. Passion is what will push you further until you reach your goals. Passion will help you make the right business decisions and know when the time for expanding has come.
Could you stand being surrounded by flowers all day?
This may seem like a trivial thing, but it’s actually a deal breaker. There are people who simply can’t stand the fragrance of too many flowers and plants, not to mention all the care and the dirty work. Growing, watering, cutting, wrapping, explaining to customers, delivery and many other tasks are the life of every florist. It may sound great being among flowers and such beauty, but when you do that for a living, the reality is much different.
Having a flower shop means more than simply selling flowers – you sell the whole idea, celebration or occasion, i.e. you have to order cards, stuffed animals, ribbons and all sorts of things that the customer may need. In order to cover your rent or expenses, you will need to sell plenty of other stuff.
Customers know nothing or little about flowers
No florist can succeed in this business without the proper knowledge of species, types, growing and taking care of flowers and plants. In order to impress your customers you will need to be able to do more than citing the flower’s Greek or Latin name. You need to know the origin of the flower, a fun fact about it, how it’s grown and taken care of and above all – its symbolism, as this is what the majority of customers want anyway.
Knowing the meaning of each flower, along with the best combinations of flowers for each different occasion is not an easy task. It can take months or years until you acquire all that knowledge, but once you do, you will feel much more confident, and customers will see that your place is special. In order to be successful, you also need to be selling what your customers need. The most popular and sought-out flowers worldwide are roses, lilies, daisies and carnations, but there is a growing popularity for tropical flowers too, so meet the demand in order to have bigger sales.
There’s a big fluctuation in the spending seasons
Many beginner florists aren’t prepared for what the business will be like. The truth is that a flower shop is dead throughout much of the year and only a few days are really busy and generate big revenue. The most popular day for buying flowers is undoubtedly Valentine’s Day. Not only people in relationships exchange flowers, but also relatives and friends. They also buy red hearts, cards, stuffed animals and all sorts of Valentine-related things.
The other big spending day is Mother’s Day. It can be hard to survive the year just on these two days though, so seek additional ways to make a profit. One way is to always offer a deal of the day – a much cheaper flower or bouquet, which people can buy with or without occasion. The other option is to open an online-based shop and offer delivery.
Flower shop legal permits
Do you know what kind and sort of permits you would need in order to grow, deliver and sell different kinds of flowers?
Depending on the services you provide, you have to take the legal questions and matters to a lawyer or a company that deals with permits for flower shops and businesses. Talk to an accountant, a banker and an insurance agent to learn what you will need, as they might also help you.
Sell more than flowers
In order to earn more you need to think big – wrapping material, greeting cards and all sorts of packaging materials at reasonable prices are a good idea. People often buy these things from florists when they need to wrap a gift.
Join large networks of florists
Once things are stable and working in your flower shop, try expanding your business – join one of the bigger companies for flower deliveries.
Make sure that you research the basics and the details of the flower business and you are knowledgeable enough.
The more you know about flowers, growing them, taking care, symbolism and arrangements, the easier it will be for you to grow your business from a local store to something bigger and better. Don’t rush into hiring staff until you are convinced that you have enough profit and stability to afford it. Remember that this business is profitable, emotionally rewarding and fun.
When it comes to finding customers it can be harder from working at home, but there are a few basics to follow. Always start supplying people that know you well and trust you. If you impress them, word-of-mouth will quickly spread. In the beginning you will probably have to offer discounts, free delivery and arranging bouquets for free. However, these are the necessary first steps until you get your first stable customers. You need to have business cards and ideally a brochure. Make sure your contact details will reach the buyers. Opportunities for advertising your business are also the yellow pages and the local newspaper and radio station. You can donate a beautiful flower arrangement for a big event where plenty of people will notice it. This is an affordable way to spread your name.
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1. What flowers should I grow?
Starting in this business should be with small steps – don’t jump into the deep by planting flowers that are hard to grow. A good advice is to listen to the local customers – what do people buy and can you supply that? If you manage to grow the flowers that are the most commercial and sought as cut flowers you will make a big profit. These include roses, tulips, gerberas, carnations and lilies.
2. Can I use fertilizers?
It is advisable to avoid using chemical fertilizers and to stick to organic ones. Same applies to all the materials you need for gardening – natural and organic materials will be much appreciated by your customers and your flowers will be healthier.
3. What perennials should I grow?
The recommended best perennials to grow in your garden include achillea, chrysanthemum, allium and lavandula.
4. Which are the best places for selling my flowers?
You can choose among several good places for selling fresh cut flowers. One of them is farmer markets, where you can always see large crowds gathering in search of good flowers to buy in bulk. The other option is a roadside stand or selling to restaurants, hotels, reception halls, churches and other such places.
5. Should I commit to this full-time?
You don’t need to be committed to this business full-time, which means that you can continue doing your usual day job and take care of the flowers in the evening, morning and at the weekend. However, it all depends on how big your goals are – if you want to expand the business and make a really good profit, you might have to spend more time making contacts and finding big clients.
6. Should I grow bulbs?
Yes, because it is quite easy and with the proper care they will multiply. This way you can force some flowers to grow outside of their typical season which leads to good profit. Such flowers include the daffodil and the tulip.
7. How do I make customers come back?
In order to be successful in the flower growing business you need more than great flowers. Above all, you need to communicate well and have immaculate customer service. This is what will make you stand out from the crowd. Try to keep in touch and seek feedback. Think of different promotions to do for your loyal clients or prepare a mailing list. Keep your clients informed on any news in your business. This is the way to be successful – by paying attention to your clients all the time.
After you start growing flowers for profit you will soon realize that this is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying businesses and it becomes much more than making money. You will learn a lot about flowers, their symbolism and meaning. You will see how easy it is to make somebody happy by selling them beautiful flowers for their loved ones. If you follow the easy suggestions mentioned above you will quickly fall in love with this business and you might just commit to it full-time.