Diversifying your portfolio of services into the event-rentals segment can offer myriad opportunities for expanding your business and creating additional revenue streams.

By Nita Robertson, AIFD

Botanica International Design & Décor Studio

Florists can diversify their services by offering rental services for weddings and other events, providing additional revenue streams while complementing their core business. Incorporating such rentals into your flower business can be a lucrative venture, especially if you are in an area with a demand for such services. Remember, though, as with all business ventures, the success of a rental business will depend on a combination of quality products, excellent customer service and effective marketing, and it will require continuously adapting and evolving the business based on customer feedback and industry trends. Before venturing into rental services, you should conduct market research to identify local demand, set competitive pricing, assess costs and additional labor and storage requirements, and ensure that the additional services align with your brand.

Initially, you can start small by renting inventory from other wedding and event décor companies, items such as table linens, chairs and chair covers, tables, arches, chuppahs, arbors, gazebos, tents, lighting, backdrop or partition drapery, and so on, which would require no immediate cash outlay for inventory. Additionally, these other companies would also likely handle delivery, setup and removal, cleaning, and repairs, which would eliminate any need on your part to immediately gear up for additional labor, storage and transportation.

More diverse rental offerings, such as vases and containers for flower designs, as well as candleholders, arrangement stands and risers, columns and pedestals, aisleway stands and shepherd’s hooks, and the like, might be easier options with which to start. You could also create custom backdrops, flower walls and other bespoke structures for floral installations (floor and hanging) that would be unique to your business and might require less investment. So that you will have a clear understanding of what customers are looking for in terms of décor, it will be important for you to become and stay informed about current wedding and event trends and popular wedding and party themes so that you can tailor your rental offerings to meet their wants and needs.

Another factor to consider is how seamlessly integrate rentals into your business. Consider the logistics of managing rental items, including display, storage, transportation and maintenance, as well as marketing, pricing, rental contracts, additional labor and seasonality of the business, all of which are crucial to ensuring a steady stream of rental revenue that results in profits. Sometimes rentals “walk away” or get damaged, so make sure you have a rental agreement that requires a deposit and makes clear your policies for such losses.

One Florists Success Story

In 1989, Ian Prosser, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, NDSF, opened Botanica Design Studio, providing the greater Tampa, Fla., area with the very best in event design. Today, Botanica International Design & Décor Studio, along with its sister company, Style House Rentals, compose a full-service event design and décor firm specializing in not only flower and plant décor but also rental of tables, chairs, furniture; tabletop, including linens; lighting; drapery; and much more. I spoke with Zoë Gallina, AAF, the companies’ vice president and creative director—and Prosser’s daughter—to learn about Style House’s success with event rentals.

Botanica International Design & Décor Studio

“We had been a traditional retail florist for 19 years before we transitioned into a wedding-and-event-only florist in 2008,” Gallina shares. “We got more involved in the overall design of weddings and other events, more than ‘just’ the flowers. We slowly incorporated rental items for clients, starting with linens, and then we added chairs, and it snowballed from there. Clients loved it because it meant they signed one contract and worked with one vendor. We loved it because we had more control over the visuals of the events, and it brought in an additional stream of revenue. Over the last 15 years, we’ve amassed quite an inventory of furniture pieces, which started by us realizing that the more custom and unique rental pieces were coming from Miami, which is more than four hours away and carried a hefty delivery fee. We started buying items clients requested and quickly learned the ROI was well worth the investment. In 2018, we started Style House Rentals, our furniture rental division. We offer all décor items through Botanica although Style House is open to all clients in our market; they don’t have to be a Botanica client to rent pieces. It has been a great investment for our company.

Gallina also notes that it is important to keep up with trends and move out old inventory to make room for what wedding and event clients currently want. So, what do you do with rental items when they go out of style? “We sell them,” Gallina explains. “Square-footage is valuable, and if items aren’t being rented, they are taking up valuable space, and they need to be replaced with items that will make you money.”

Style House Rentals

Pricing Guidance

Establishing rental fees can be a somewhat complicated process, which needs to take into consideration many factors, including the cost of procuring or obtaining rental items, maintenance and repair costs, and storage expenses. Delivery, setup and teardown fees are often added on to the cost of the rental items because those will vary size and scope of an event, and they should be structured based on the actual cost of time and labor involved, distance traveled and other factors. In addition, your pricing structure needs to be competitive with other rental companies in your area, if there are any (great for you if there are none!). Finally—and most important—your pricing strategy must also allow for a reasonable profit. NOTE: You will likely need to reassess and update your pricing regularly in response to market fluctuations, customer input and your rental business’s performance. Also important: Emphasize transparent pricing, with no surprise or hidden fees, to cultivate trust with clients.

“Pricing will be different for everyone based on their market,” Gallina states. “With our furniture pieces, we try to cover their costs in two rentals. Sometimes, we’re able to do that with the first rental while with other items, covering their costs might exceed our two-time rental goal—which is OK every now and then, especially for something special. If we ‘sub-rent’ items from another company, we charge clients a minimum of 20 percent more than our rental cost, plus the other company’s delivery fee. The 20 percent upsell covers our time managing and ordering the items, and clients are happy that we handle everything for them so that they don’t have to go elsewhere and do it themselves.”

Far too often, event-rental-business owners underprice their products and services because they are eager to build their businesses. However, if you aren’t making money on every single rental, on every delivery, on every service you offer, you won’t be able to build a business.

furniture rentals
Style House Rentals

Top Rental Tips from Zoë Gallina, AAF

Vice president and creative director of Botanica International Design & Décor Studio and Style House Rentals in Tampa, Fla.

1. Start small, and take “baby steps.” Allow your clients to tell you what might seem like a natural next step for your business, and listen to what they are asking for. If you continually get requests for specific items, consider adding those to your inventory—but first check out what other rental companies in your market area have and don’t have. If there are items that lots of clients wants but have to bring in from another city, this might be an opportunity to fill a void in your local market. This is exactly how we started. A small step of adding on rental linens turned into a furniture division and managing all of the décor aspects involved in an event. We listened to our clients, looked at what made most sense for our company and slowly adjusted along the way.

2. Educate yourself. Meet with any existing event-rental companies in your area from whom you might want to “sub-rent,” and learn what products and services they offer, their costs, ordering windows, etc. Also, learn what items their customers request the most—before you start purchasing items (see Tip 4). If you sub-rent larger items like chairs and furniture, it’s important to create a great working relationship with the other company because challenges happen, and you need to make sure its team will support you and will show up on time and so what they say they will.

3. “Sub-rent” first. Renting items from existing event-rental companies in your area will also help you decide when it’s time for you to invest in your own inventory and will guide you on what makes the most sense for your company and clientele.

4. Avoid purchasing the same inventory that your competitors have. Doing so will be a bad investment and lead to bidding wars. Stand out from other event-rental companies in your area by offering items that are unique to your business and will make clients want to work with you because of what you offer rather than just being able to get the best price. It’s bad business sense and over-saturates the market for everyone.

Botanica International Design & Décor Studio
Botanica International Design & Décor Studio

How to Get Started: Tips for operating a rental business


• Identify your target market. Consider demographics, interests and the types of events that consumers in your area typically host.

• Analyze your competition. Understand what they offer, their pricing, and their strengths and weaknesses.


• Outline your business concept, target market and marketing strategy.

• Detail your start-up costs, operating costs and projected income.


• Register your business, and obtain any necessary licenses or permits.

• Consider various types of business liability insurance to protect your company from potential claims and lawsuits.


• Decide on the types of rental items you want to offer, such as tables, chairs, linens, furniture, structures, tents, lighting, etc.

• If renting from established event-rental companies, forge strong relationships with the most reliable of those, to ensure a steady inventory of quality items, prompt delivery and more.


• Ensure that all rental items are in good condition and well-maintained.

• Implement a system for cleaning and inspecting items after each use.


• Research local pricing to determine competitive rates. One of the simplest pricing strategies is where you calculate costs associated with owning an asset and add a profit margin to it.

• Add appropriate fees for delivery, pickup, and setup and teardown on to the total rental costs so that your expenses for those services will be covered separately—and, hopefully, also generate a profit.

• Keep in mind costs of maintaining and servicing assets so that they are available for additional rentals in a timely manner.

• Create concise rental contracts that require a deposit and make clear your policies for missing or damaged items.


• Create a professional website showcasing your inventory, services and contact information.

• Utilize social media platforms for marketing and customer engagement.


• Implement a reservation system that allows customers to easily book your rental items.

• Consider online payment options to streamline the booking process.


• Plan your delivery and pickup services efficiently to minimize downtime and maximize customer and venue satisfaction.

• Clearly communicate delivery terms, fees and policies.


• Provide excellent customer service to build a positive reputation.

• Encourage customer feedback, and use it to improve your services.


• Marketing efforts, such as promoting your new services through social media, your website and local partnerships, can also help attract customers to these offerings.

• Consider forming partnerships with wedding and event planners and coordinators, venues, and other businesses in the events industry.


• Attend local events, community gatherings, civic and service organization meetings, and even trade shows, to network and promote your rental business.


• Monitor market trends, and expand and edit your inventory based on demand.

• Explore opportunities to offer additional professional services, such as wedding or event planning or coordination, photography, or even catering.


Vases and Containers

Florists often rent vases and other containers, which can then be “recycled”—reclaimed, washed and rented again. Some customers prefer to rent these items instead of purchasing them for a one-time use, even if the purchase and rental prices are nearly comparable.

Props and Accessories

In addition to vases and containers, florists may rent props and accessories such as candelabra, candleholders and votive candleholders; arrangement stands, risers and pedestals for floor and tabletop; table-number holders and place-card holders; easels and more.

Structures for Floral Designs

Traditional arches are fairly common in many florists’ inventory of rental structures, but other options can include half-moon and round (moon-gate) arches; chuppahs, arbors and gazebos; tents; flower walls and other backdrops, including backdrop, partition and even ceiling drapery, as well as structures for über-popular suspended and hanging floral décor. Structures can be fashioned from virtual any materials, depending on the desired aesthetic, and can be custom built, giving florists items that are unique to their businesses.


Some florists have expanded their rental inventory to include not only tables and chairs (and the linens and chair covers to go with them) but also other homelike furnishings (sofas, armchairs, coffee and end tables, lamps, bookcases, hutches, sideboards, mirrors and other wall décor, and more) with which they can create comfortable and intimate seating and “lounge” areas at event venues.

Style House Rentals, stylehouserentals.com, a sister company of Botanica International Design & Décor Studio, in Tampa, Fla., is mentioned in this article, but for additional information and ideas, also check out PropHouse Rentals + Styling in Birmingham, Ala., (prophousebirmingham.com), which, much like Style House, was created by a floral designer, Mandy Majerik, AIFD, PFCI, who is also the proprietress of HotHouse Design Studio in Birmingham.

Event Spaces

Some florists have space in their shops and greenhouses that they rent out for events like small weddings, birthday and anniversary parties, holiday parties, to name a few, as well as community gatherings and meetings, workshops, photoshoots—and the list goes on. Other florists have built small event spaces on or near their business properties—and, of course, they offer custom decorating services for those spaces, as well.

Holiday Decorating

Another rental segment that many florists have entered is holiday decorating for residences, offices, hotels, restaurants, retail stores and more—and more times than not, the décor is rented by the clients rather than purchased. In this vein, holiday décor storage is another option for generating additional revenue, provided that a florist has the required space.

Event Setup and Teardown Services

Most florists in the weddings and events segments offer setup, installation and teardown services, but when charged for separately from the floral décor and rentals, these services can generate substantial additional revenue. After all, such services often require significant labor, often at inconvenient hours, as well as additional tools, materials and vehicles, and florists need to be compensated so that they not only cover their costs but also make a profit on these services. Sales of services is among the hottest “commodities” today and one that consumers are happy to pay for and are predicted to spend more on in 2024—even more than on merchandise purchases.