How to become a florist

Starting up

22 June 2023

In 2021, 50% of British households bought cut flowers. With that many consumers interested in buying flowers, you may be considering opening a floristry business to cash in. According to IBIS World, the floristry industry in the UK is blooming with a market size of £854 million, nearly 13,000 businesses and almost 20,000 people employed.

What does a florist do?

If you have a budding interest in becoming a florist, you’ll need a creative spark, and if you’re looking to open your own business, you’ll also need to have all the needed admin skills as well. A typical day for a florist could include arranging window displays to attract clients, taking orders online or on the phone, preparing arrangements for client events, cleaning the shop, delivering flowers to clients, placing orders with flower wholesalers, and helping customers choose the right flowers for their occasion.

Depending on how you set up your business, you could work anywhere from a florist shop to a market stall, an online only shop, or even having a workshop.

Who can become a florist? 

Anyone can gain the skills and knowledge needed to become a successful florist – and becoming a florist can have some big advantages. If you love working with nature, being a part of meaningful moments for clients and love to be creative then this might be a great career path for you.

Let’s explore some of the skills and knowledge that will be helpful when looking to start a floristry business:


As a business owner, you’ll need great organisational skills, problem solving abilities and a knack for admin. As a type of retailer, you’ll need great customer service skills, sales skills and communication (verbal and written) skills. And as a florist specifically, you’ll also need to perform well under pressure if you’re working on certain types of events. Weddings and events can make your clients stressed, while doing floral arrangements for funerals can mean clients who are in the midst of loss. You’ll need to be able to handle all these situations with grace! 


In addition to the soft skills above, you’ll also want to develop some concrete knowledge around flowers and design. Some areas you may want to learn more about are:

  • Maintaining flowers
  • Different flower types and when they are in season
  • How to make a variety of arrangements (containers, baskets, buttonholes, corsages, bouquets, etc)
  • Colour combinations and floral design theory
  • How to create a floral design portfolio to gain new clients
  • Business laws and regulations for your local area 

How much do they get paid? 

According to the National Careers Service, a florist will work roughly 28 to 30 hours a week. Those who are just starting out may expect to make £13,000 while those with more experience may earn closer to £24,000. These estimates are largely based on those who work in a florist shop though, not those who own one.

As a business owner, you may be able to earn more if you manage your profit margins properly. As always, what you can charge will depend largely on what types of services you offer to clients and what areas you specialise in, so take some time to consider your niche before starting up.

Things to consider when starting a floristry shop

Here’s a few things you want to consider early so they don’t become a thorn in your side later down the line:

Client market and business niche

You can specialise in serving a specific client base so that you have a niche that differentiates you from other flower shops nearby. Consider the following client areas:

  • Corporate flowers
  • Hotel and restaurant floral design
  • Hospital or care home flowers
  • Government office flowers
  • Funeral floral arrangements
  • General wedding floral arrangements
  • Budget wedding floral arrangements
  • Minimalist floral arrangements
  • Locally-sourced floral arrangements
  • Flower design workshops & parties
  • Pop-up shops or mobile flower truck

All of these options could help you stand out from the competition.

Delivery & transport services

If you choose to have an online shop that delivers flowers or you need to get flowers delivered to locations for events, you’ll need to have a careful think about how you do this.

If you are planning to send your products to customers at all, you’ll want to consider delivery costs and how to get that service set up. You may be able to get different deals depending on who you use, what you’re sending and how often you’re sending so be sure to explore all your options. A few of the more well-known choices are Royal Mail, DPD, and Yodel – but you may find that other companies work better for meeting the needs of you and your customers.

If you’re bringing large floral arrangements to venues for events, then you may need a van to fit all your supplies in. If you’re using a vehicle for business purposes, you’ll want to take out van insurance specific to your business needs.

Wholesalers and suppliers

The vast majority of the flowers sold in the UK are grown in warmer climates, so you’ll have to figure out how you’re getting flowers into your shop and keeping them fresh along the way. Part of your learning process will be to learn how much stock you need to have on hand without having too much excess that ends up being wasted. Keep constant track of how much flower stock is being used so that you know which flowers you may need more or less of.

Given global supply chain issues, it may be worthwhile to work with a few suppliers so that you have a backup in case one falls through. Alternatively, you can specialise in local flowers and only work with suppliers which may alleviate some supply chain concerns.

Additional revenue streams 

While flowers may be your passion, having some small extras that your clients can add to their flower orders may help you bring in additional profits. Consider having chocolates, cards or small gifts that can be included with a bouquet of flowers. If you love all kinds of greenery, then perhaps selling some houseplants could help your bottom line as well.

Or if you love being social and leading events, then consider offering workshops or courses. A flower arranging workshop is great for Mother’s Day, hen dos, and other occasions while local gardening or school groups might enjoy a workshop on how to care for certain flowers. 

How much does it cost to start? 

Opening a flower shop can require a lot of equipment and suppliers. While the startup costs will vary widely depending on the size of your shop and the area you are in, we’ll take a look at a few expenses that you may want to consider when opening your own flower shop.

Payment processing & point of sale systems (PoS) 

Consider the following when choosing a payment processing platform: 

  • Can the system accommodate cash, chip and pin, contactless and mobile payments? Are there any additional rates and fees associated with certain payment types? 
  • How secure is the system? Can you feel comfortable that customer data is safe? 
  • How quickly does the system work – both for processing payments and for depositing the money into your accounts? 

As an ongoing cost, you’ll need to consider the gas, electricity, wi-fi, phone bills, music licencing, insurance and more.

According to Money Supermarket, the average microbusiness will spend up to £980 on gas and £2,990 on electric per year while the average small business will range around £1,820 on gas and £5,860 on electric. You’ll want to take all of these bills into account when deciding how much rent you can afford and how to price your items. 

While going online only will cut out some of these costs, you’ll still have a good number of regular fees such as wifi, insurance, HTTPS security certificates and your website domain fees. 

Furniture and decoration 

The ambience of a store can be a key part of making it attractive to customers. In fact, there’s even a case for decorations being an allowable expense for retailers as the look and feel of a store is so integral to its success.

You’ll need ways to display your flowers and counter to make sales on and maybe even a place for customers to sit while you discuss their visions for floral designs

You can hire a company to set up your display and design, even making bespoke fittings for your space, however this can be quite expensive. Doing it yourself and buying second-hand furniture can work just as well if you’re looking to save a bit. 

Employee costs 

Depending on how often your store is open and how busy you are, you may want to have some employees to help you with day to day operations. Costs for employees can include their wages, benefits, national insurance, training, and employer’s liability insurance to name a few aspects. 


Without clients coming through the door, it will be hard to sustain your business so having a marketing plan in place early will help you generate interest. You might want to have a logo, some business cards, a website, social media accounts and perhaps a digital ad or two ready to go when you’re starting out. While marketing can be an extra initial cost, making sure people know about your business can ensure you start strong. 

If you’re just freelancing as a florist or it’s a side hustle for you rather than a full time gig, consider sticking to just Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Possibly, a local app like Nextdoor could be useful as well. If your business is a full-time effort you will definitely want to have a domain name and a website.

If you’re struggling to think of a marketing strategy for your floral arrangements business, take a look at our guide to writing a marketing plan to help you get the details down.

Flower stock

When opening your store, you’ll need to initially lay out the money to have some stock of flowers in the store. While you’re hoping to sell this and make back that initial outlay and then some, you will need to budget appropriately as some flowers may wilt before you’re able to sell them.

If you want to start out online, just using facebook or Instagram as a way to book clients, you may be able to build up a dedicated customer base before taking the plunge into having a storefront that needs to be stocked with perishable stock.

Do I need a degree to become a florist? 

No degree or qualification is required in order to become a florist however, having some sort of training will give your customers confidence in your ability. If you’re looking to get started as a florist you may want to consider an apprenticeship, taking a college course, pursuing a university degree or starting as a trainee in someone else’s shop until you have the experience to branch out on your own.

College courses may cover certificates and diplomas in floristry while university courses may cover both floristry and floral design. Meanwhile, an apprenticeship will likely take two years to complete with a mix of on the job learning and formal study

Registering your business – sole trader vs limited company 

Whether you’re a one-man band or have employees lending a helping hand, businesses large and small need the right legal structure to help them operate effectively.

But given that the legal structure you choose can impact everything from the tax you’ll pay to your take-home wage, working out what option is best for your business is important.


A person who’s the only owner of their business. There’s no legal separation between you as the business owner and the business itself.

Limited company

A business which is a distinct legal entity from the business owner, formed whether you’re a one-person operation or have a few staff.

Get a deep dive into what this could mean for your business with AXA’s guide to different company structures: Sole trader or limited company?

Protecting your business 

From wedding bouquets to prom night corsages, from birthdays to boutonnieres, flowers are the loveliest way to say we care. You’re busy pruning your business proposition and cultivating your customers by delivering that forget-me-not experience. And that’s something worth protecting. Getting the right insurance cover will help you keep your floristry business blooming for years to come.

  • Van insurance: If you use a van for your floristry business, you’d be lost without it. Make sure you stay on the road with cover that includes: doorstep repairs, a courtesy van and your choice of optional extras.
  • Contents insurance: Contents cover up to £250,000 can help you replace the contents of your shop – like business equipment and stock – if they’re damaged, lost or stolen.
  • Employers’ Liability Insurance: If you have employees, contractors, casual workers or temporary staff, it’s a legal requirement for you to take out employers’ liability insurance. It covers claims from employees who become unwell or suffer an injury as a result of working for you – protecting you up to £10 million.
  • Public Liability Insurance: You’re responsible for the welfare of every customer or visitor. Public liability keeps you covered if a member of the public is accidentally injured or their property gets damaged while dealing with your business. We’ll cover you up to £5 million. You’ll also get product liability cover – for if your products accidentally cause damage to a customer.

Join professional networks 

When you’re just starting out it can feel lonely, but luckily there’s quite a few professional bodies and florist communities you can join. Professional groups can help with networking, professional development, mentorship, and give your business more credibility.

Here are two groups that may interest you as you begin your journey as a florist:

You may also want to look for online groups that support business owners in general or ones dedicated specifically to floristry.

All links are checked and valid at time of publishing, 22 June 2023.