If you have a head for business and a love for flowers, you could be the perfect person to open a florist.
It’s one of the UK’s most enduring industries, with flowers at the centre of some of our biggest and most significant events – from weddings opens in new window and memorials to romantic gestures and celebrations.
According to research from IBISWorld opens in new window, the floral industry is worth £1 billion, and employs almost 19,000 people across nearly 12,300 businesses.
These businesses come in many different shapes and sizes, each suited to a unique set of skills and interests, so starting a florist is about finding the right path for you.
Find out how to get started when choosing and creating your florist business.
Types of florist business
You might have many different ideas when picturing what it would be like to open a florist.
For instance, some florists own high-street shops opens in new window providing floral arrangements and hand-tied bouquets, while others prefer to grow their own flowers and sell them to retailers.
It’s important to know what type of florist you plan to open before you get started with your business, with common types of florists including:
- retailers – typically set up in a high street shop, selling flowers and creating arrangements for individual customers
- online sellers – operating at home opens in new window or in a private space, where they sell flowers via their website or a third-party marketplace
- wholesalers – sells all types of floral materials, such as flowers and glassware, to retailers and service providers
- limited-service flower shops – focuses on specific markets, such as weddings.
Each type of florist has its own business requirements and, when choosing one, you’ll need to consider issues such as whether you want to focus on the art of flower arranging, be creative with marketing and advertising opens in new window, or speak with customers on a day-to-day basis.
Who is suited to be a florist?
Starting a florist is about more than having a passion for flowers and floral arrangements; you also need the skills to run your own company opens in new window.
It helps to have a solid understanding of business concepts, such as project management opens in new window, bookkeeping opens in new window, and marketing opens in new window, but these are skills you can improve as you develop your start-up.
For instance, you might enrol on a training course, such as our Learn with Start Up Loans programme opens in new window, to further your knowledge.
Created in partnership with the Open University, these online courses are free to join and delivered by experts.
But to succeed as a florist, you’ll probably be driven, adept at solving problems, and willing to work long days.
After all, floristry can be physically demanding, as you will often be on your feet watering flowers and carrying stock, including glassware and other heavy supplies.
You might also have to work irregular shifts during busy periods opens in new window, such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
Other skills to consider include customer service and creativity.
What costs are involved in setting up a florist business?
The costs of starting up a florist will depend on the type of business you are establishing.
For example, retailers may need to consider renting a location for their shop opens in new window, while wholesalers opens in new window and online sellers opens in new window have more flexibility when deciding where to keep their stock.
You will also need to work out whether you need additional equipment, such as display cases, storage facilities, cash registers and online card terminals, delivery materials, and decorative elements, such as a shop sign or a banner.
Other costs that florists should consider include:
- utility bills – whether renting a shop or a warehouse or operating from your own home, you’ll need to consider things such as water bills, which could be especially high after watering your flowers, and other utilities, such as gas and electricity opens in new window
- materials and stock – you might need a diverse range of flowers, foliage, and other floral supplies, including decorative materials and vases
- employees – you might need an extra pair of hands to run your florist or want to hire a specialist to help with the business
- marketing – every successful business needs to promote itself, and you may want to allocate money specifically to advertising campaigns opens in new window and other ways to boost your profile
- insurance – depending on your florist, you might need various insurance policies opens in new window that cover aspects such as public liability and employers’ liability, as well as property and contents insurance.
How to get started setting up a florist
One of the first things you need when starting up your florist is a business idea opens in new window– the spark that turns your interest in flowers into a plan that could make money.
Your idea might be based on a tried-and-tested approach, such as opening a shop on your high street, or it could be inspired by a unique demand or a special interest.
Once you have an idea you’re happy with, you can start turning your idea into a business opens in new window.
Research the market
It could help if you researched your target market to understand what they’re looking for in a florist and whether you can provide those services.
Market research opens in new window also helps you consider competitors in your industry and determine their prices, the areas in which they’re succeeding, and how your business can stand out opens in new window.
Create a business plan
A business plan opens in new window explains what your business does, its objectives, and why you believe it will make money.
This document helps you develop your idea as you highlight challenges that stand in your way and opportunities you can take advantage of.
It can also help investors understand your business opens in new window and determine whether they are willing to support it.
Unless you have savings, you will need to consider how to finance your floris opens in new windowt.
Some new businesses seek loans from banks or credit unions, but these can often be hard to acquire, so you might be better off using alternative options opens in new window, such as crowdfunding opens in new windowor government grants opens in new window.
You might also be eligible for a Start Up Loan opens in new window – a government-backed scheme that provides unsecured funding of up to £25,000 for new businesses.
Find a location
Choosing the right location for your florist can make a big difference to your business, and you will need to consider several things.
For instance, a space in your town or city centre will be more expensive but plenty of people will walk past, which can act as free advertising.
By contrast, a more remote location can be less expensive and could be easier for customers and delivery drivers to access, but it could also be more inconvenient, and you may have to rely on advertising to grow your brand.
Find more tips on how to find the perfect retail space opens in new window.
Register your business
To be legally recognised as a business in the UK, your florist must be registered with Companies House.
This offers several legal protections, such as stopping other companies with similar ideas from using the same name.
You don’t have to do this if you’re a sole trader, but you still need to complete a self-assessment opens in new window within three months of formation.
See our guide for more tips on registering your business opens in new window.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window include:
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window
- Entrepreneurial behaviour opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.
Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.