Tips and strategies for establishing retail pricing structures that will ensure your business’s profitability and financial stability.
By Nita Robertson, AIFD, CFD
Effective pricing is essential for the success of your florist business. By understanding your costs, the market and your customer base, you can develop a pricing strategy that maximizes profitability while meeting customer needs.
Pricing flowers for retail sale involves careful consideration of various factors to ensure that you not only cover your costs but also make a profit, all while remaining competitive in your market. Be confident in your products and services, though, and price them to make a profit you need and desire. The floral design industry is based on luxury, so you need to jump into that mindset and price your work accordingly. You must accept that not everyone who inquiries about your products and services will become a customer.
Here are some key considerations for pricing your products and services. First, calculate the total wholesale cost of all materials used in each arrangement, including flowers and foliage, container, ribbon and any other decorative elements—as well as floral foam, flower food, tape, wire, enclosure card and envelope, card holder, packaging materials and all other supply items that go into the finished product. Also factor in overhead costs, such as rent, utilities, insurance and employee wages. Your emphasis on calculating the total cost of these items is crucial; it ensures that every aspect of your business expenses is considered and leads to a profit-generating pricing structure.
Second in markup. Commonly, florists mark up their fresh products anywhere from 3x to 5x the wholesale cost. The markup on hard goods is typically 2x to 2.5x the wholesale cost, and the design labor fee is typically calculated as a percentage of either the retail price of all materials used, often starting at 20 percent and going up from there depending on the complexity, labor intensity and artistry of the design. Your specific markups required for profitability can be affected, in part, by the volume of business your shop does as well by the type of flower business you operate, your reputation and renown, the demographics of your clientele, your location, artistry and other factors.
A common rule-of-thumb in the floral industry is to mark up fresh product 3.5x and hard goods 2.5x, with a labor charge of 25 percent. For example, an arrangement with a wholesale cost of flowers and foliage of $20, a hard-goods cost of $10 and a 25 percent labor charge would result in a retail price of $118.75.
RETAIL PRICING EXAMPLE
• Fresh flowers and foliage wholesale cost: $20
$20 x 3.5 = $70
• Hard-goods wholesale cost: $10
(container, ribbon and other decorative accessories, floral foam, flower food, tape, wire, enclosure card and envelope, card holder, packaging materials, etc.)
$10 x 2.5 = $25
• Labor fee of 25 percent of the retail price of all materials used:
$95 x 25% = $23.75
• Retail price of the arrangement = $118.75
Once you establish your markups and labor charges, charge consistently for your work. Adding a few extra flowers here and there, on a regular basis, significantly takes away from your profit. Also, remember that designs that require significant labor will naturally cost more because of the artistic skill and effort that is applied. As a floral artist, you create designs that carry unique value, and you mustn’t be afraid to charge for that value.
Typically, florists aim for a profit margin of 50 percent to 70 percent of the retail price of every fresh design created. According to Paul Goodman, MBA, CPA, PFCI, president of Floral Finance Business Services in Jenks, Okla., total cost-of-goods-sold (COGS) for fresh flower arrangements in a typical flower shop should be no more than 30 percent to 35 percent of the retail price of each arrangement, and that must include all the fresh materials (flowers and foliage) and all the hard goods (mentioned in paragraph three) used in the creation of each arrangement. Keeping COGS within the recommended percentage range can help a retail flower business owner analyze and manage the shop’s pricing structure effectively and help ensure the shop’s profitability and financial stability.
However, keep in mind that each flower shop may handle COGS differently, considering factors such as the cost of living in one’s marketplace, city size, overhead expenses, client demographics, supplier prices, business goals and level of competition, among others. Discovering the markups, labor charges and COGS parameters that generate the desired profit margin for your shop is critical, and they will likely be somewhat different for every flower shop.
To help with all of these things, consider using flower industry-specific software to manage inventory, pricing, and customer relationships. These tools can help streamline business operations and pricing strategies.
Sundaram Natarajan, founder and CEO of GotFlowers, a Fremont, Calif.-based florist software developer, says that GotFlowers’ Inventory Management System software has features that can help florists like the “recipe management” module, which makes it easier to control pricing. “The use of recipe calculators ensures profit margins,” he explains “With fluctuating flower prices, it’s important for florists to be precise and maintain profits. This calls for controlling costs and pricing products accurately. Pricing products based on intuition and design experience is obsolete.”
Similarly, Mayuri Parikh, owner of Mayuri’s Floral Design in Garnerville, N.Y., and founder and CEO of True Client Pro, an event management software for florists, wedding planners and venues, emphasizes the importance of using recipes to help control costs and generate profits. “Florists need to account for every item they use in their finished designs,” she states, “and software, like True Client Pro’s “Recipe Management Tools,” makes pricing easier and more efficient.
PRICING TIPS AND STRATEGIES
Diversify Your Offerings: Offer a range of products at various price points, to cater to a broader customer base and capture a wider market share by accommodating different budget levels. For example, offer three price points for every arrangement on your standard menu, such as standard, deluxe and premium versions.
Recipes: Creating a recipe for every arrangement you offer makes it easier for floral designers to create the arrangements and keeps costs under control. You can also post a large chart on the wall of your design room that lists prices of all flowers, foliages, containers, etc., and/or that breaks down the percentage of the retail prices of arrangements into fresh product, hard goods and labor (e.g., 60 percent fresh product, 15 percent hard goods and 25 percent labor), to help train designers to calculate costs correctly. Make is easy for them to succeed.
Package Deals: Offer packages or bundles that combine several products and/or services at a discounted price. This can encourage customers to spend more while feeling like they are getting a better deal. Recurring flower subscriptions is another approach to encourage bulk orders.
Perceived Value: Consider how you present your floral products. High-quality floral artistry and customer experiences contribute significantly to the perceived value of a product and can justify higher prices. You must not only sell the flowers themselves but also the value they bring. Beyond selling flowers, you’re selling an experience, a service and an emotional connection, and it is those things that drive customers to pay premium prices. Communicating this value to customers helps build a brand that is associated with quality and expertise.
Overcome Your Pricing Fears: Be confident in your pricing and your product. It’s your job to become a master at marketing and learn how to sell the value of your service. Stand behind your prices, and charge appropriately for your artistry and expertise.
Seasonal Pricing: Adjust your prices for seasonal variations in flower availability and demand. Flowers for holidays like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day may command higher prices due to increased demand.
Adaptability and Continuous Review: Regularly review and adjust your pricing to respond to changing costs and market dynamics. Flexibility and adaptability are key in maintaining prices that generate a desired profit.
Technology Integration: Using flower industry-specific software for managing inventory, pricing and customer relationships is forward-thinking. Technology can greatly enhance efficiency and accuracy in business operations.
Establishing a pricing strategy that aligns with your business goals, caters to your customers’ needs, and ensures your shop’s profitability is one of the most important aspects of running a retail flower business. Remember, though, that pricing for profit is not a one-size-fits-all approach and may require some trial and error to find the right balance between competitiveness and profitability for your business. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of all the costs and expenses associated with operating your business as well as the price levels your customer base will bear.
Seven Essential Pricing Tips for Florists
By Mayuri Parikh
1. Understanding Costs: Costs encompass all business expenses, not materials costs but also variable expenses, like wages and credit card fees, as well as fixed expenses (rent or mortgage payments, vehicle payments, salaries and benefits, utilities, insurance, property taxes, interest, depreciation, amortization, etc.).
2. Recipe Pricing: Consistently account for all items used in your flower design recipes.
3. Accurate Labor Pricing: Factor in labor costs by percentage or actual time spent creating designs. Consider additional expenses like your business’s FICA (Social Security and Medicare) required match, along with the cost of any employee benefits you pay for, to ensure that your true labor costs are covered.
4. Markup Considerations: Determine your markups based on all your business expenses and desired profit (will vary according to volume). Understand the industry’s standard markups (mentioned earlier in this article), but tailor them to your specific business needs.
5. Profit Calculation by Event: Calculate profits based on your desired profit margin per event, considering costs of flowers, hard goods, labor and other expenses. Ensure that profits align with event goals and business viability.
6. Yearly Profit Projection Strategy: For wedding- and event-only flower businesses, factoring in annual business expenses and the number of events will enable you to estimate your yearly net profit before taxes and fees. This reverse approach simplifies understanding costs and setting pricing strategies.
7. Floral Software Benefits: Implementing floral software simplifies pricing calculations and ensures accurate cost evaluation.