Talking about money is really hard. It implies that we aren't in it for the love, which we are. When you read on, you’ll realise how little money us florists make. We are in it for the flowers and we are in it for the love. Please don't ask us to reduce our prices, or cut corners. It’s our profession, we value what we do highly and want others to too.
As it’s February, I’ve had time to do a post event breakdown of a recent wedding. I always say to myself that I’ll do this after every job, so I can be sure that I’m pricing correctly, but in the middle of wedding season, I just don’t have time.
I try to price fairly and competitively, but also want to make sure that I’m paying myself a decent wage. Wedding floristry is hard work. But get the price right from the start, and the whole process will be so much more enjoyable. There is nothing worse than totting up the numbers after the event and realising you’ve made nothing.
Floristry is high product cost and high labour cost. I really want to urge florists to look hard at this. From the numbers below, you’ll see why I can’t afford to do a wedding for less than £1,000.
This was a relatively small wedding by the way. They didn’t have any bridal flowers for example. The couple had a big piece for the ceremony area, table garlands and a few other little pieces.
Interestingly, the only dispensable/flexible item is what I pay myself. I can’t not buy flowers, I pay my freelancers well and have to pay my petrol. If anything is going to get skimmed, it’s my own pay, but I have three kids, a mortgage and a business to run. I have to take myself seriously and pay myself seriously. I really want to improve standards within the industry, so I can’t put less work into the design, or buy cheaper flowers.
Here’s what I charged and what I spent:
The client paid £1, 400
My spend £1,329.90
Silk ribbon £15
My labour (£25/hour) 26 hours £650
Freelance labour (£12/hour) 6 hours £72
How my labour breaks down for this job:
Admin (emails, phone calls and quote writing) 2.5 hours
Design 2 hours
Ordering 1.5 hours
Sourcing flowers 1 hour
Conditioning 1 hour
Making 6 hours
Set up (including travel time) 6 hours
Clear/collection (including travel time) 4 hours
Clean down & composting 2 hours
I pay myself £25 per hour. I would like to charge more, but don’t want to become prohibitively expensive. I do increase my rate each year though, which means quoting a higher rate for 2020 enquiries.
My profit was low on this job. About 5%. My profit was swallowed up in the additional time travel needed due to horrendous weather, which was hard to financially plan for. I do perhaps need a contingency for days like this, as event work is often derailed by one thing or another.
Clear and clean down
I removed all the wire from the foliage garlands, because it’s February and I had time, but also because I want to turn over a new leaf and commit to sending less to landfill. Even if I stuck it all in black bags, I would have had to take it to the tip, which takes time. I also spent 45mins breaking boxes (for the compost), cleaning out buckets etc.
I made two return trips to the venue which was 40 miles away, and a return trip to Crediton to collect flowers, which is 6 miles away. So a total of 172 miles at 45p/mile. The couple could have saved by booking a more local florist. This is something I now for-warn at consultations.
I know some florists don’t charge delivery, but I don’t think clients would really expect you to be out of pocket travelling. I think this should be a cost that the client sees and pays for.
I ordered from a Cornish wholesaler, so I could guarantee English blooms. I therefore had to spend time travelling to meet the van, as he doesn't deliver to my door. This is often the case with buying local produce. It can feel less convenient and sometimes take longer, or certainly add another factor. It’s not always the case though, as often buying local means less time dealing with packaging and conditioning is much quicker. But, in any case, supporting local growers is a core principle of my business, so I factor into the price accordingly.
My minimum spend for 2019 is £1,000 and for 2020 it’s £1,200. I can only assume that prices for flowers will increase. I also increase my labour rate with each year. Introducing a minimum spend has really helped me work at the standard that I wish to. I also found small budget wedding were as much, if not more work sometimes.
If you are new to the game, and want to work on small weddings while you build your confidence, you still need to know what your minimum charge is for say, a bridal bouquet, so start to get your head around these costs.
Some tips for florists to take away:
Don’t spend more than 40% of the budget on flowers
Work out your day rate/hourly rate and stick to it firmly
When quote writing, be realistic with yourself and the client. This isn't a free service. Get the quote right from the start, to avoid feeling disappointed with yourself and help give the bride a realistic picture of what it costs.