Want to take your hobby to the next level, or fancy a change of career?
Floristry can be an incredibly rewarding career if you put the time and effort in. A successful floristry business requires early starts, lots of dedication and honing various skills. An artistic touch is needed to create your bouquets and displays, and other skills such as sales, marketing and finance are also necessary.
As the face of your brand, you’ll be responsible for its reputation, so excellent people skills are a must. You may also meet people going through an emotional time, such as those looking for funeral flowers. Florists need to be calm, balanced and professional under deadlines.
You’ll need to do your research before fully committing to setting up shop, so we’ve put together a handy guide to help you out.
Passion and commitment are excellent business drivers, but you’ll also need insight.
You don’t need any qualifications to set up shop, though it’s best to gain some experience before venturing into business. Consider the following:
You may even wish to work in a flower shop part-time or on weekends to gain first-hand experience. This would show you what the day-to-day running is like, and what equipment and stock you’ll need.
You need to comply with various regulations depending on the legal status of your business. It’s worth having a good think about the type of business you wish to enter, and which legal structure works best for you. Each one of the three legal structures have their advantages and disadvantages, though we’ve given you a brief breakdown of each one:
If you become a sole trader, you’ll be self-employed and will need to register with HMRC. You will pay tax and National Insurance by completing a self-assessment form. You must also register for VAT if your turnover is over £85,000 per year.
The good news is that you can start trading as soon as you’ve registered, though you will oversee your own finances and be personally responsible for any debts.
Limited companies are legally separate from the people who run it. Any profit made after tax is kept. Your personal finances are not affected and you will need to set up a separate bank account from your personal one, though there are more management responsibilities. You can set up the company yourself, or you can hire others to take on specific roles.
You’ll need to register with Companies Houses and check to make sure your business complies with the rules.
This is where two or more people enter a business. Like a sole trader, you are classed as self-employed if you register your company as a partnership, which means that you are both responsible for the debts and accounts of the company. Read more about being in a partnership and how to register here.
Depending on the size and location, setting up a flower shop could cost you between £20,000 – £100,000. It is advised that you have a larger budget to cover your expenses through the first year – aim for three times as much as your establishing cost.
There are rules on what you can name your business depending on its legal status. Once you have decided which legal status to go with, you need to register a name with Companies House.
For sole traders and those in partnerships, you technically don’t have to have a business name, but you are legally obliged to add your company name on your business stationery if you use a name other than your own.
Limited companies, on the other hand, are legally obliged to register their business name. They must check that their intended business name is not already in use by another company.
You also may be eligible for a grant or other financial aids.
One of the biggest problems floristry businesses face is product waste. Flowers, being fresh produce, have a high turnover rate. Ordering too many, purchasing unpopular blooms, storing them at the wrong temperature and disposing of them too soon will impact your budget. Determine how long certain blooms last for in which temperatures, the flowers your customers prefer, and what stock is needed at certain times of the year.
Consider other items such as vases, pots, gardening items, and accessories. If you offer delivery as an option to your customers, you’ll also need to purchase and customise a van.
Research your market and see which items are essential for crafting your products, and who you will be catering for. Create a budget spreadsheet and keep it constantly updated. Also, take note of order dates for specific flowers so that you can monitor their lifespans.
Whether you plan to rent or buy a shop outright, you’ll need to comply with health and safety regulations. You may also have to pay business rates, though smaller businesses can apply for a discounted rate.
Rather than looking for an empty building to transform into your store, it may be easier and cheaper to obtain a flower shop that’s already for sale. This type of store requires special equipment such as coolers in the storage room so it would be convenient to obtain a property with this feature already installed.
Ensure that the property you choose has enough space to suit the needs of the business. A floristry will need space outside to display stock, a shop floor, a cold storage facility for your flowers and a preparation space. The location will also play a big part in how successful your business will be – consider local parking spaces, and how easily accessible your shop is.
If you decide to take on members of staff, you’ll need to run a payroll, pay for their National Insurance, and provide workplace pensions for eligible staff. You can find out more here.
You’ll also want to hire people who share your business vision. Like any art form, floristry is very personal and is developed through your own style. Hire people who respect your creativity and can replicate your creations, but ensure that you encourage theirs too.
You will need to research your market and demographics to gain a better understanding of who your customers are likely to be, and how to reach them.
You should build a buyer persona for your business and consider the following: how many potential consumers are in this sector? What is their income? How old are they? Do they work and, if so, what are their professions? How regularly would they be buying flowers and for which occasions?
There’s lots of competition within the floristry sector, so you’ll need to research to determine where it is coming from. List all the florists in your local area and the goods and services they provide. Also research online florists, garden centres, petrol stations, supermarkets and garden centres. The advantage of being an independent florist is customisation, so make sure to offer handmade, bespoke creations that other stores won’t be able to offer.
When it comes to promoting your business, consider a range of digital and traditional marketing methods. Printed media such as leaflets and posters directly target your local demographic and are great value for money.
Many customers now find local businesses online, and you need to make yours as searchable as possible. You can apply various techniques to your website and directory listing improve your search engine ranking or SEO. With social media, you can write and boost relevant posts on sites like Facebook and tailor them to best reach your demographic.
Directories are also important for establishing your business online. Not only can you optimise your listing with keywords and media content so that more people are likely to find you, having your business listed on a directory helps to add credibility and value to your brand or services. People are more likely to trust you if you have a clear, concise listing.
You can create a free business listing on HubFind. Find out more here.
A business plan is a strategy document that outlines your plans, opportunities and goals for your future business. It helps you to think through your options and how to best achieve them, plus you can use it to persuade banks and investors if you need financial support. It will show them that you have given your business plans thorough consideration and that you understand the market you are venturing into.