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Our practical guide to starting your home florist business
Few businesses are more rewarding for your creativity than arranging stunning bouquets. Best of all, floristry is the kind of small business you can easily run online, from the comfort of your own home.
Aside from picking out the right flowers and figuring out what makes you stand out, though, there’s a whole host of business factors you’ll need to consider to make sure your company really thrives. Here, we’ll take you through a few of the most important things to consider before you get started.
Setting up your company and Understanding the law
Before you begin selling your gorgeous creations, you have a few practical decisions to make. First, you’ll need to choose whether you’ll be a sole trader or set up as a limited liability company. Sole trading is a faster and easier option. The second protects your personal assets: keeping them separate from your business. Either way, it’s useful to set up a dedicated business bank account to keep track of your expenditure and cash flow.
The law also requires you to understand health and safety regulations. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has a useful list of issues, written specifically for florists, covering everything from allergies to tetanus and poisonous plants. According to the IOSH leaflet, you are legally obliged to write a health and safety policy for your business, develop a plan to manage risks for yourself, your customers and your staff, and know how to store and dispose of products containing hazardous chemicals.
If you ever plan on selling your flowers directly to the public, also make sure you have public liability insurance. This can protect you from any customer accidents that might occur. You should also look at getting product liability insurance, legal expenses, and business-interruption cover (which can protect your income if an injury or other major disruption prevents you from working).
Remember that, when you sell flowers online, you need to comply with the Consumer Rights law and online and distance-selling regulations. This ensures that your flowers must be delivered on time (on the agreed day if you ordered a timed delivery, or within 30 days if no date was specified) and be of satisfactory quality and as described. Your customer has a right to request a refund if what you deliver doesn’t match the picture on your site — so make sure that your images, while beautiful, are also 100% accurate!
Whether you want to register as a limited company or acquire a range of insurance options, the process of forming your floral business can be time-consuming — and it can be difficult knowing where to start. So, we’re here to help with the whole process. If you’re interested in finding out more, head to the register a company package page for more information.
Managing your start-up costs
Be prepared to spend almost as much time behind a computer as you will making beautiful creations. Starting a floristry business requires more than buying fresh, beautiful flowers every day. You’ll also need a range of practical inventory, such as tools and means of transport or a delivery service. . Budgeting is key to making the best use of your money, and working from home or selling online will make this easier because the initial capital investment will be a lot smaller, you won’t have to worry about store rental, energy prices and other overheads. Acquiring a premise is hugely expensive and, unless you plan on hiring some staff, often unnecessary.
Make your business stand out
There are a lot of florists on the high street and online. To succeed, you need to be unique and memorable, so find a signature that stands out from the crowd. Using native varieties or eco-friendly practices are a couple of examples.
Consider the following: what is your message? Who is your target audience? Use this to refine your approach and make it relatable. And while you should follow trends, it’s crucial you remain true to your creative vision.
It’s great when customers love your work, but they need to find you first. This is where a strong online and social media presence comes in useful. A website that’s user-friendly, discoverable by search engines, but also looks great is key. Consider using location hashtags and geotagging posts on TikTok or Instagram.
In such a visual field, Instagram is a no-brainer to showcase your creations. Other great visual marketing channels include Pinterest, Facebook business page and TikTok. Using a quality camera, most phones have one now, and learning some basic photography techniques will help do your work justice. Bad lighting or the wrong angle of an image could lose you sales opportunities. The biggest key is to be authentic and to engage with your audience, both in your content and by replying to comments.
Interesting captions for your images are also vital, as well as the use of relevant hashtags. Many don’t consider the times of the day to post either, but more of your followers may be online during their commute, or on a Sunday evening for example. Above all, though, you should talk to your followers, answering any questions they may have, following other people’s accounts, and leaving questions or comments for them. Be interactive by using the stories feature on instagram or Q&A feature on TikTok and Facebook. It takes time and effort to get your social media strategy right but it is worth it and it opens the door to valuable business opportunities.
Finally, reviews are essential to your business, especially in the early days when you are starting to establish a customer base. You want to encourage happy clients to leave reviews online on Google or Facebook. You may also want to monitor your reviews, don’t be disheartened by a negative review, reply to them kindly and take on any valid critique.
That said, don’t forget that delivering excellent customer service is still the heart of any floristry business; that’s the continuing value of ‘word of Mouth’.