A floral shop can be a fun and profitable business opportunity. If you already love flowers, you just need some basic business knowledge to get started. Here’s what you need to know about entering the floral industry.
Why You Should Open a Flower Shop Business
Flower shop owners enjoy tons of benefits, both on a business and personal level. If you’re wondering whether or not this opportunity is the right fit here are some flower shop statistics. And here’s why many local florists get started:
- Ability to express creativity through flowers
- Opportunity to connect with customers during major life events (weddings, anniversaries, etc.)
- Multiple streams of revenue (bouquets, centerpieces, full wedding flowers)
The Florist Industry in the United States
The floral industry in the U.S. is worth about $5 billion. However, independent flower shops have lost market share over the past several years due to competition from grocery stores and ecommerce sites. For those in markets without existing florists, there may be opportunities to provide personalized service and stand out in a shrinking industry.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Flower Shop?
The costs of opening a flower business vary widely depending on the size of the store and inventory. Retail florists with large storefronts in busy areas may pay between $50,000 and $75,000 in startup costs for a lease, coolers, and inventory. However, those who sell flower arrangements online can save on retail space and large equipment. Smaller operations may cost $10,000 or less at first.
Starting Your Own Flower Shop Business
If you’re interested in becoming a flower shop owner, there are a few key steps to take before you can spend your day arranging flowers. Here are the most important elements of opening a flower shop.
1. Research the Flower Shop Industry
The flower shop industry has faced challenges in recent years. Increased competition from online and large retailers along with shrinking demand has led to fewer independent shops. However, floral designers who are passionate and have a strong business plan can still succeed. You just need to understand the challenges before getting started.
2. Know Your Target Market
Many flower shops succeed by focusing their efforts on a specific unmet need in their community. For example, your research may show that there are plenty of grocery stores in your area that sell basic bouquets. So you may have more luck focusing on wedding flowers and centerpieces. This niche and mission statement allow you to focus your marketing and branding on these target customers.
3. Research and Check out Your Floral Business Competitors
Independent flower shops face competition from grocery stores, ecommerce shops, and other florists in the area. Before opening any small business, determine where else people in your area can get similar products. Then determine if there’s a large enough need for your specific offerings.
4. Create a Flower Shop Business Plan
Every small business needs a plan to earn revenue. Here are some key elements to include:
- Business summary
- Market and competitor analysis
- Product descriptions and pricing strategy
- Marketing plan
5. Name Your New Flower Shop Business
A flower shop should have a name that is memorable, while still being obvious about what the business provides. For example, Teleflora is quippy and accurately describes the business, since you can quickly order flowers online or by phone. And Blooms By the Box describes the company’s wholesale model for large weddings and events.
Once you have a name, register it with your state to keep others from using your name. You may also trademark it for extra legal protection.
6. Get Your Branding Right
In addition to a name, you should also create a logo and other branding elements to use in your website and marketing materials. Keeping these consistent helps customers quickly remember your business and makes you look professional.
7. Choose a Location and Size
If you plan to open a retail flower shop, you need a storefront. It should have enough space for your inventory and coolers to keep them fresh. A location with easy parking or walkability can make it easier for customers to visit. But find a lease that’s within your budget, taking other operating expenses and projected revenue into account.
8. Open a Business Bank Account
A separate business bank account makes it easier to track revenue and expenses. And it separates your personal finances. You may open one at your own bank or a separate one using your business name and EIN. A business credit card may also help you cover expenses and build credit history if you ever plan to look for financing.
9. Research Licensing Permits and Fees
Business licensing and permit requirements vary by state and community. So check with your city clerk or state business office for specific processes and fees. Here are some common ones a florist shop may need:
- General business license
- Zoning permit
- Seller’s permit
- Building safety inspection
- Doing Business As license
10. Secure Funding for Your Business
Funding can help you secure a location, purchase inventory and supplies, and hire employees. If you have good credit, you might qualify for a small business loan from a bank or online lender. Additionally, some communities may offer grants to revitalize their downtown areas. Alternatively, you may use a personal loan or credit to cover some startup costs.
11. Choose a Legal Entity
A legal entity specifies how your business pays taxes and what kind of liability you may be responsible for as the owner. Here are some common options.
- Sole proprietor: This business structure is only for small companies with no employees. The owner is solely liable for all potential damages. So it may only be relevant to small ecommerce businesses.
- Partnership: Partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships. But more than one person is listed as the owner.
- LLC: A limited liability company separates you from your business in terms of liability. So if you’re sued, your personal assets should not be in play.
- Corporation: Corporations are also separate from the owner to prevent personal liability. But they’re also separate in terms of taxes, unlike LLCs where the owner claims the income.
12. Purchase Business Insurance
Insurance protects businesses from an array of unexpected expenses. Here are some types that may be relevant to a flower store:
- General liability insurance: This covers costs from lawsuits. For example, if a customer is injured on your property, your policy covers up to a certain amount.
- Commercial property insurance: This helps property owners and businesses pay for necessary repairs or replacement items if the storefront is damaged in a natural disaster or fire.
- Workers compensation: For shops that have employees, this provides compensation if they’re injured while working.
- Commercial auto insurance: If you deliver flowers, an auto policy protects your vehicles if there’s an accident.
13. Decide on Your Product Pricing
Before you can start selling flowers, you need to price each item. For example, single roses may be the least expensive, while bouquets and custom arrangements may cost more. You may also have rates for special events or specialty flowers that require extra work to source.
14. Source Inventory and Essential Items
Find a wholesaler that offers the flowers you need to create your arrangements and products. You may also need extra supplies like pruning shears and vases. Larger purchases may include coolers and a delivery vehicle.
15. Market Your Business
Once you’re set up, it’s time to bring customers through the door. Consider local ads, social media or search ads, or outreach to relevant community groups. For example, partnering with local dress shops may help you reach more bridal clients.
16. Consider Multiple Income Streams
Flower sales may make up the bulk of your revenue. But a successful business often requires multiple ways of making money. For example, you may also provide delivery to cemeteries or connect with a business partner like 1-800-Flowers to bring in more customers.
17. Hire Staff
If you cannot staff your own shop on your own, you’ll need extra employees to help customers. Register for an Employer Identification Number from the IRS and set up payroll and taxes to remain compliant.
18. Enjoy the Grand Opening
Your grand opening should be a fun event that introduces your products and services to target customers. Reach out to local publications and your local chamber of commerce to create buzz.
19. Be a Successful Flower Shop Business Owner
Maintaining a successful local florist business requires quality products, excellent customer service, and constant improvement of business skills. Constantly monitor trends in the flower industry and purchase flowers that your target customers are most interested in.
Things You Should Know Before Starting a Flower Shop Business
Before you start a flower shop, you need some specialized knowledge about running these local shops. Here are some florist resources that may help.
Some flowers go through their food reserves more quickly in heat. Keeping fresh flowers in a cooler or temperature controlled storefront can keep them alive longer.
Florist software can help you manage inventory, facilitate purchases, and cover expenses. Here are a few options:
- QuickFlora: This floral POS helps florists complete purchases in a retail environment
- FloralFrog: This all-in-one solution includes options for collecting payments, managing daily tasks, and even routing deliveries
- Details Flowers: This software specializes in event design. So it’s ideal for those that focus on wedding flowers
Holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are especially busy for flower shops. It may be worthwhile to focus marketing efforts around these holidays and ensure you have enough staff.
Is owning a flower shop profitable?
Flower shops can be profitable if they keep costs low and create multiple revenue streams. Many shops offer bouquets, cut flowers, wreaths, delivery, custom arrangements, and special event flowers. So if the purchase price of these products and services is high enough to cover the limited expenses of a flower shop, you should turn a profit.
Where do flower shops get their flowers?
Flower shops usually get inventory from wholesalers that offer an array of products in bulk. Or they may work directly with local flower farms.