The flower and related goods industry grossed $35.2 billion in 2010 among over 18,000 floral shops, according to the Society of American Florists. Sales have grown by nearly $10 billion since 2000. Christmas/Hanukkah, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day remain the three biggest floral holidays, but the business is often steady during the rest of the year as well. With some careful planning and a few key steps, you can open your own floral shop to get in on these profits.
Apply to work in an existing floral shop. It is important for you to gain experience not only in arranging flowers but caring for them. Document trends, research suppliers and learn the industry as well as possible.
Write a thorough business plan that outlines the floral industry specifics, explains cash flow, cites suppliers and offers other specifics to demonstrate that you have completed due diligence in getting ready to open a floral shop. This is important, since you will use this document to apply for your small-business loan that includes enough to make an initial purchase and working capital.
Contact your state's secretary of state's office to register your business and get a sales tax license. Apply for an employer identification number with the Internal Revenue Service at IRS.gov and use this number to establish a business checking account to make your initial flower purchase. You will also need this number to withhold taxes from employees' paychecks.
Find a suitable location to plant your floral shop. Your location is more important than your size. Find a location near a hospital or school, preferably with busy car and foot traffic.
Purchase a refrigeration system for flowers and at least one refrigerated display case to highlight your work. Purchase shelving, fixtures and a point-of-sale system with a credit card scanner and printer. Set up your floor plan and assemble all fixtures.
Contact local government to schedule an inspection and get a business license. Your store must be operational before most city government officials will inspect it. Some communities may have special regulations or inspections for selling live flowers.