How to Start a Home-based Floral Business
Are you fresh out of college, trolling for ideas regarding a business of your own, and coming up with zip? We understand. You look around you, and everything seems to be available. What do you have to offer?
Answer: a lot. One business slated to grow over five percent is that of a florist. Have you thought of how to start a home-based floral business? Selling flowers from home might sound a little odd at first, but think how many doctors, dentists, accountants, and other professionals use home offices. Why not a florist?
How to Start a Home-based Floral Business
Think about it. Because you eat in the kitchen at the island, you only use your dining room at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Add to that the fact that when you have guests, they congregate in the kitchen, family room, and outside on the deck. What was the reason you needed a living room again?
So now you have two rooms for working and display that (a) you didn’t have to lease from someone, (b) learning how to run a successful flower shop is more comfortable at home than in a commercial building, and (c) the rooms are empty space to use as you learn how to start a floral business.
The supplies you need
Go for the good quality clippers because they’ll last a long time.
You’ll be cutting ribbons, so get two pairs: one for ribbons, and one for whatever else comes along.
Do. Not. Cut. Wire. With. Your. Clippers. Clippers are for the stems of fresh flowers. Wire cutters are for wire and zip ties.
Get a good quality knife such as a bud knife. Hold the flowers in one hand while you trim the leaves below the water line in your vase with the other. This prevents contamination of the water by bacteria.
If you have a workbench to add to the table, that’s more room to work. You need at least one surface upon which to work.
Fresh cut flowers need water to stay alive. You’ll need a utility sink or another water source nearby. A sprayer for keeping the flowers moist is essential.
A cold case or a commercial fridge is essential for keeping the cut fresh flowers as near perfect as they can get.
These hold not only water but blooms ready for arranging. You’ll also need an assortment of vases, bowls, coffee mugs, and other whimsical containers.
Now that you have your supplies arranged, you’ll need a wholesale flower seller. Choose one of good reputation with quality blooms to sell.
If you have to start selling flowers from home and delivering them in a VW Bug, then that’s what you have to do. You absolutely need a method of getting your wares to the customer, even if you have to use your own car.
In the car, leave your professional bag. Included in this bag should be your cutting tools, wire, floral tape, and any other supplies you feel are necessary when you’re on the road delivering. Keep your professional bag stocked up.
Pros & Cons Of Selling Flowers From Home
One of the first things those learning how to start a home-based floral business is the benefits and the disadvantages:
Flowers are a joyful reminder of the beauty of life. Special occasions are more special because of the flowers used to celebrate them. Other benefits of learning how to start a floral business are:
- You can start a home-based business along with an online business with very little start-up funds.
- Multiple choices. Not only can you begin a home business, there are also flower business opportunities such as event decorations, floral design classes, corporate flower occasions like work anniversaries and birthdays, and outside-the-box occasions that will set you apart from other florists.
- Multiple wholesalers. Using FTD, Florabundance, and Mellano and Company gives you unlimited choices in blooms and styles for your national and international customers.
How to start a home-based floral business has its drawbacks, so you should be well prepared to overcome them:
- Competition. You’ll have to work long and hard to earn your place among established florists in your area.
- Holidays. It will get crazy around the holidays, especially Mother’s Day. Be prepared.
- Lifespan. Cut fresh flowers don’t last long. Don’t buy more than you have orders to fulfill.
Financial Aspects Of How To Start A Home-Based Floral Business
If you went to a lender for start-up capital, then you’d have to present him with a five-year business plan, ideas to keep your business not only going but surviving over the long term, in addition to a financial plan. Do you have a florist business plan?
You’re using your home as your flower shop, so you won’t have rent or much overhead. You will, however, need a cold case or a fridge and water sprayers to begin.
You’ll need money for a website developer who can take your floral shop online and mobile. Do some research to find the developer who doesn’t charge both arms and a kneecap but who turns out good quality work.
You’ll require money for joining professional associations such as Society of American Florists, American Institute of Floral Designers, and Retail Florists Association, to name just a few among state and national associations.
Since you’re running a business, set aside a monthly payment for legal services, an accountant, and a marketing specialist. You’ll also need a monthly payment for using an online specialist like BloomNation as well as wire services such as Teleflora.
Cost-Saving Flower Business Ideas
Even if you’re running your flower shop from home, you need to know some cost-saving measures of how to start a floral business:
Is there space being wasted in your home business? Do you have surplus employees? Do your customers pay on time or months later? Be real, be nice, and be business-like, but clear up these problems. It will be reflected in your bottom line.
Talk to your suppliers, from the power company to the flower wholesalers, to find out what savings you could be making but were not informed. Suppliers are happy to help because it keeps you with them forever.
When a nut manufacturer switched from round to square jars, supermarkets could fit more jars on the shelves, thus making more money. Using outside-the-box containers for your flowers saves money on shipping and stocking.
Learning how to start a home-based floral business requires getting the word out. Customers need to know you’re there. How?
Make sure your website is professionally done because this is the first impression your customers have of you. Have photos professionally done for this as well as your corresponding mobile site.
Video goes farther to market a business than simple text. Make it short and sweet. Optimize it for a YouTube channel of your own. Make a short video thumbnail for your Facebook business page.
Social media rules the world. Facebook is especially useful for business marketing due to its visual nature. Post pictures of today’s specials, arrangements for special events, and any outside-the-box clients like real estate open houses or health care facilities.
Social media marketing
Spring for a social media marketing professional. These folks are experts at reaching any target audience you wish. Since Facebook, in particular, has billions of users worldwide, you can’t afford to miss this chance to reach them while you’re learning how to start a home-based floral business.
The object of the exercise is to get your floral shop on the top of page one of Google. You’ll do this in three ways:
Sign up for Google Adwords
This is a pay-per-click or PPC thing. Searchers are looking for FTD or 1-800-Flowers, and if your ad includes this, then you’ll get click-throughs.
Google My Business
This goes hand-in-glove with Google Maps. The listing falls below your top of the page PPC ad, and it lists your address, the neighborhoods you service, and your location on the Google Map.
This falls below the maps. It gets there by the Google bots crawling your site for keywords and other SEO necessities like backlinks and blogs.
How to start a flower shop doesn’t require a degree nor a specific type of licensure. However, every state requires business owners to have a license to operate in their domain, tax certificates, and zoning or home business permits.
These things vary by state, county, city, and/or principality, so check with your area’s business licensing offices to begin getting what you need to operate your shop. One of the things your legal counsel will do for you is to register your business as a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company or LLC.
The Most Profitable Flower To Grow
Learning how to start a home-based floral business would be a moot point if you didn’t know which flowers sell the best or at all. Best selling grown flowers is mainly a matter of climate as well as customers’ preferences. For example, I love daisies – any daisies, but mostly white ones.
I’m not fond of roses. Many growers don’t bother with roses due to the pests and other things the frail plants can’t handle. Some of the best-sellers are sweet pea ($119 per bunch,) sunflowers ($4 to $6 dollars per stem,) annuals like amaranth ($39 per bunch,) and perennials such as hellebore ($30 per plant.)
Profit Margin On Flowers
You’re here to make a profit. Making it from providing beauty to your customers is the bottom line of how to start a home-based floral business. What is a healthy profit margin in the flower biz?
The goal is a sustainable profit margin, but you have to face the music. Are your wares competitively priced? Do you price your blooms at a sustainable profit margin? Do you stick to your pricing plan, or do you waffle if a customer complains about the price? ‘Fess up: how you conduct your business could mean stone-broke if you don’t follow industry standards.
Current industry-standard profit margins are 67 to 70 percent. Marking up your wares at three times the wholesale price will not only give you this profit margin but a healthy fee for yourself. Remember that this is a labor-intensive job. You’re the labor, so charge properly for it.
How To Start A Home-Based Floral Business Tips And Hacks
If you ask any established florist, they’ll tell you to start your home-based flower shop before you’re ready. Just do it. As you’re working your day job, you’ll be setting up your home-based floral enterprise in your spare time. When it’s done, but these tips and hacks into practice.
1. The Why Of It
Working to put husbands through law or medical school, kids needing sporting equipment, cheerleading uniforms, and your own badly needed new car (or even a newer used car) are perfectly acceptable answers to the “why” of it all. Keep this in front of your mind’s eye as you’re leaping into your floral business.
2. Just Do It
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to start: start a diet, start a new job, start saving money, start making new friends. Make up a few floral arrangements and take them and a stack of business cards around town. Put your pretty flowers in law offices, doctor offices, accountants, insurance agents, movie theater ticket booths, restaurants, maybe a club, and I’m sure you get the idea. Just start.
3. Market Yourself
Going to a party? Take along a flower arrangement. Got a dentist appointment? Take along a vase of pretty flowers. Going to school to pick up a sick child? They could use some pretty flowers, too. This kind of marketing doesn’t cost you a thing beyond a few blooms, but it very prettily tells people you were there.
4. Hone Your Skills
It won’t matter how to start a home-based floral business if you don’t have the skills to make floral arrangements people want. Take night classes, online classes, attend lectures given by florists in their shops and read books, listen to podcasts, and find videos on YouTube. Learn all you can about flowers, and then keep learning. It will pay off in happy customers.
Floral businesses are growing.
Floral businesses are growing. Knowing how to start a home-based floral business in these times when people doing the quarantine thing are establishing their own businesses is just good sense. It doesn’t take much start-up capital to buy a cold case and a sprayer. You’ll need a good quality website and mobile site. Make sure to join professional associations and establish an online presence on social media.
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