Floristry businesses are popular due to the number of potential revenue streams, including weddings and special occasions. However, the marketplace is very competitive due to an increasing number of small and big players. Our guide tells you the information you need to know before starting your own florist.
Why start a florist?
Small players dominate the floristry market, which is worth over £1.5bn. Entering the industry is therefore popular for entrepreneurs looking to make their mark and gain their own revenue share. Relay schemes such as Interflora make floristry an attractive opportunity for smaller businesses and start-ups looking to operate on a national scale without significant marketing and promotion costs.
Why skills will I need?
Drive and discipline are essential; days often start around 4am with a trip to floristry markets. You’ll also need to be a good listener, taking into account your customer’s needs and responding in the right way. Floristry can be quite an emotional profession, especially on emotional occasions such as weddings and funerals. Handling these in a discrete and professional way is essential to success. There’s a lot of lifting involved too, so physical fitness is important, particularly if you’ll be running the business on your own. Finally, creativity is important; making beautiful arrangements will help ensure customers come back again.
Practical training is essential; if you can’t arrange bouquets to customer requirements then you’ll fail to make sales. Experience of running a florist would also be helpful to help you deal with logistical issues such as transporting glassware. Colleges, horticultural schools and local councils often offer training but the quality of these can vary significantly. There’s an NVQ on offer too. Combining theoretical study with practical experience can give you the best of both worlds.
Start-up costs depend whether you buy property outright – and how expensive this property is – or start off at home and then move once you’ve become profitable. Setting up a florist can cost between £8000 and £150,000 and will cover stock, transport, shop fittings, marketing, and promotion in addition to standard business outgoings. Marketing and promotion will be substantial costs in your first few years of operation as you try to build a viable customer base.
Insurance and compliance
Public liability insurance is essential to cover you in the event of accidents or damages caused to third party properties. You may also wish to get professional indemnity insurance. Employer’s liability insurance will be essential when you take on staff. There may also be compliance related to storage and disposal of flowers – talk to your local council to find out the rules as they are likely to differ depending on where your business operates.
Your first step
Practical experience is essential; if you have never worked in the industry before then it may take a few years to achieve a level of seniority sufficient to gain the type of experience that’s valuable to starting your own florist. Take a look at courses on offer at colleges and local councils or contact local florists and ask what they can offer you.