How to price flowers

How to Price Flowers: Retail & Wedding Formulas

By far the MOST asked question I get from florists is: how do I price flowers for sale to my customers?

So people, let me share some good news with you today: the formula for pricing your floristry work does not need to be as hard as our industry makes it out to be.

Are there pricing “rules”?

Floristry is not a regulated industry with fixed prices. This means, as you grow your sales and marketing skills (yes, sales & marketing), you can command a premium for your work and charge whatever you like.

However, for many florists, and especially new florists, facing the blank pricing page and being told to ‘charge your worth’ is daunting and unhelpful.

As a result, many many florists second-guess themselves and grossly under-price their work. And that is a big problem for any business.

There are industry standard pricing formulas for everyday and event florals — and by ‘industry standard’, I mean a generally accepted pricing guide that will a) appeal to many customers and b) help you make a profit.

To clarify, they are not ‘rules’ that you need to follow. However, they are an excellent starting point to help you figure out how to price flowers.

And, I’ll give them both to you right now.

How to price flowers — the formulas

Retail flower pricing

Price = wholesale product cost x 3 + your time to make it

  • ‘Price’ includes any sales tax you include on final product.
  • ‘Wholesale product cost’ includes cost of sundries (ribbon/wrapping) but excludes any sales tax you paid on those items.
  • ‘Time’ is the hourly rate you would charge your services out at (usually x 2.5-3 of wages paid).
  • Delivery extra.

For example, an $80 bouquet breaks down as follows: $20 for wholesale flowers/sundries x 3 = $60. Plus $20 labour (takes 15 minutes of a florist’s time who charges out at $80/hr).

Wedding & event flower pricing

Price = wholesale product cost x 3.5-4.5 + 30-50% mark-up

  • ‘Price’ includes any sales tax you include on final product.
  • ‘Wholesale product cost’ includes cost of sundries (ribbon/oasis/tape/pins) but excludes any sales tax you paid on those items.
  • Delivery, set-up, pack down, disposal, hire items etc. are all extra.

For example, a $300 bridal bouquet would break down as follows: $61 for wholesale flowers/sundries x 3.5 = $213.50. Plus mark-up of 40% = $298.90.

When to use the formulas (and when not to)

On your search for clarity on how to price flowers, you may have been told that there is no single formula. That it all depends on the combination of unique factors affecting your business and marketplace.

For example, your overhead cost structure, wholesale purchasing power, market demographics, competitive landscape, ROI targets etc.

While this is basically true, I know this task can cause a lot of worry and anxiety for many florists. So, here’s a good guide to follow:

Use the formulas…

  • If you don’t have the experience or confidence to set your prices “from scratch”. This is especially true for new business owners who don’t have many paid jobs under their belt to learn from.
  • If you haven’t yet created a detailed plan for your business (and yes, you should do this — learn more about it here)
  • To compare. Perhaps you’ve been in business for a while but you’re not sure about your existing prices. They should be close to these formulas (or higher, of course). If they’re not, it’s time to rethink what you’re charging.

Don’t use the formulas…

  • If you have a well thought out (and sustainable) pricing strategy that fits into your larger business plan.
  • If you have a high-end, exclusive brand. Your customers are willing to pay a premium so your prices will therefore be higher than these formulas.

Do you know the real challenge with pricing flowers?

Now that you know the formulas, I’ll tell you the real challenge with setting your flower prices — it’s not knowing how much to charge, it’s having the confidence in yourself to charge it.

Because here’s what happens — florists take these formulas, sit down and do the math for their next job. And their brains FREAK out:

I cannot charge that much

No one will pay that much

That’s too expensive

Even though there are thousands of florists who charge these prices every day, your brain doesn’t think it’s possible for YOU to charge them.

Perhaps you don’t think you have enough experience. Or maybe you think it’s not ‘fair’ to charge these rates because you’re just starting out. Or maybe you just don’t think you’re worth it.

As a result of these thoughts, the worry and doubt running through your mind lead you make some bad pricing decisions: discounting, over-promising and the cheapening of what customers expect to be a luxury experience.

In fact, the importance of managing your mindset around pricing is so vital, I’ve done an entire podcast on it here.

Overcome your pricing fears

Here is my best advice: firstly, it’s not your job to decide whether you can charge that much. Relieve yourself from that responsibility and let it go. The formula for pricing flowers doesn’t need to be up for discussion. It is what it is.

Secondly, it’s not your job to decide if it’s too expensive or not. That’s your client’s decision. It’s your job to become a master at marketing and learn how to sell the value of your service.

Thirdly, you are worth every penny. You are worthy beyond measure. No matter where you are on your flower journey, your worthiness is 100%. Regardless of what you’ve done in the past or where you plan on being in the future.

100% in fact.

And finally, there’s more good stuff on how florists can conquer all things marketing, money and mindset. Grab my Free Pricing Guide #ForFlorists.

💖

Kathleen

Thrive Podcast #ForFlorists Blog Cover Photos (2)

Managing price shoppers as a floral designer

Managing price shoppers is the bane of every floral designer’s existence. You know, those inquiries who ask “Hi, I’m getting married on XX date so can you give me prices for the following list please”.

No hint that they like your design style. No request for your recommendation or advice. In fact, they don’t even ask if you’re available for their date. Just gimme the list please and thank you. I’m price shopping.

Managing these inquiries can be exhausting and demoralising as you begin to believe that price is the ONLY thing that customers care about. As a result, you second-guess your pricing and start down the dangerous path of trying to be the cheapest option.

Every industry has them

Can I let you in on a little secret? Floral design isn’t the only industry that has to manage price shoppers. The reality is that every single industry has them.

Every. Single. One.

The reason your customers keep asking about prices and looking for a good deal on flowers is because they don’t understand.

That is to say, they don’t understand what designers do. They don’t understand what floral design is all about.

Most importantly, they don’t see a difference between what YOU offer and what the next designer offers.

As a result, they assume that price is the only difference. Voila, you’re now stuck managing a price shopper.

The secret to managing Price Shoppers

The trick to managing those pesky price shoppers is knowing that customers are influenced by your entire brand. That is, the compilation of all the things you put out into the world, every touch point you have with your customers.

But remember, your visual identity — design style, logo, photos, colour palette, fonts — is only ONE aspect of your brand.

The mistake most floral designers make is they overlook the other areas of their brand that are just as important to their customers:

  1. Expertise – be an open book and share everything you know.
  2. Professionalism – your business needs to ooze legitimacy, everywhere.
  3. ‘You’ – you must show up in your marketing. Practice your selfies.

This is why an average designer, who doesn’t use premium ingredients or have a fancy logo, but does these branding steps well, can set themselves apart and minimise price shoppers.

More on Price Shoppers in the podcast

In this week’s episode of the Thrive Podcast #ForFlorists, I share with you my go-to approach for managing price shoppers. And I hand over my strategy for levelling-up your marketing so you can attract customers who aren’t obsessed with finding the lowest price available.

And finally, do you want more good stuff on conquering marketing, money and mindset for florists? Grab my Free Pricing Guide #ForFlorists.

💖

Kathleen

Numbers to Know #ForFlorists

Peoples – gettin our geek on for this week’s podcast episode.

Sharing with you 10 numbers you need to be tracking in your flower business.

Hot tip…it’s NOT your Instagram followers.

Listen in. Grab you pen and paper and let’s get learning.

Oh and I’ve created a fun freebie for you.

Sign up here.

Wedding Flower Budget Calculator

Below is the exact online calculator we provided our clients and I am a huge advocate of setting up something similar on your own website.

Our website is built on WordPress and the plugin we used is called Calculated Fields Form 100% recommend you find something similar based on what will work with your website platform.

Now, don’t stress too much about the technology – there are great YouTube videos and tutorials to help you set up the calculator.

In my opinion, it’s 100% worth the effort. Set it up once and send it off to your customers when they’re asking about prices + budgets.

This approach was way more effective than sending a static PDF – it reinforces just how helpful you are and very quickly separates you from the competition.

Finally, remember to go in and update you prices every year, particularly given the lead times of weddings.

*Be sure to include a simple disclaimer for your clients that this does not comprise a formal quote.*

Wedding Flower Budgets

Following on from our recent posts about wedding flower costs and averages, I thought it might be helpful to do a quick summary of example wedding flower budgets and what you can expect to receive from us within your budget.

There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to sorting through a budget for your wedding flowers. It’s important to know, as a couple, how important fresh flowers are for your wedding day – you may feel flowers aren’t a central focus for your day or you may feel your flowers are ‘the thing’ that will bring your unique day to life. Also, give some consideration to your venue: does it need the additional decor florals provide or is it a beautiful venue itself and you don’t need to go over the top?

As a good rule of thumb, we suggest your floral budget account for 10-15% of your overall wedding budget. If, on the other hand, you are looking for Pinterest-worthy, abundant design, we would suggest allocating 20-25% of your total wedding budget. Most of our couples spend between $3,500-$7,500 but some spend less or budget more based on your preferences. Remember, it’s your day and the day should reflect your taste and style.

Below is by no means a complete list. Like everything else wedding-flower-related there are so many ‘what ifs’ and ‘except this’ scenarios. The following is meant to be a rough guide to help you plan which items could be covered within a your price range.

Under $1000

  • Most often, this will allow for bridal bouquet, a few bridesmaid bouquets as well as buttonholes for the groom and groomsmen. Depending on the number in the bridal bouquet, it could account for buttonholes and corsages for a few additional family members
  • If you are having a very intimate wedding and no bridal party, it could account for your bouquet, a buttonhole as well as a small feature installation at the ceremony or reception

$1500 – $3000

  • Depending on the size of the bridal party, this will cover off all personal flowers (bouquets, buttonholes) as well as a allow for some table decorations at the reception. We would suggest smaller arrangements on each table or a collection of bud vases and feature blooms to fit within the budget
  • Or, instead of table flowers, this could allow for a large feature at the ceremony (perhaps an archway with florals) or the reception (perhaps a hanging foliage installation with a few pops of flowers throughout)
  • Alternatively, if you’re bridal party only includes two additional people, this budget could allow for a ceremony feature element as well as a reception installation. We could then look at using candles to decorate the tables instead of flowers.

$3500 – $5000

  • This budget could cover the personal flowers as well as a feature element at the ceremony and the reception. It can also cover off smaller table arrangements or bud vases for the table decoration as well as candles.
  • Or, if there is just one of either a ceremony archway and / or reception installation, there will be budget to cover off our standard sized table arrangements.

$5500 – $7500

  • This price range falls within our typical full service wedding – most often this includes personal flowers, a ceremony floral feature, an installation at the reception, as well as flowers and candles for the tables.
  • Having said that though, if we are building a custom ceremony element (i.e. chuppah), this budget may only account for personal flowers, the ceremony feature and a few touches at the reception.

$7500 – $10,000

  • With this budget, we are often looking at a collection of personal flowers, large statement / impact pieces at the ceremony (for example, urn arrangements or an archway PLUS aisle flowers OR a feature chuppah installation). For the reception, the budget could allow for a hanging feature as well as flowers and candles for the tables.

It’s almost impossible to provide all the details on each and every budget because every couple’s wedding is unique. The above looks to provide some guidance on what items can be accounted for within a budget.

You’ll note we haven’t mentioned lots of the smaller pieces so often requested – flower crowns, cake flowers, rose petals, junior bridesmaid posies, gift table arrangements. There are literally hundreds of permutations and combinations so we have left these out to try to keep things simple.

Also, prices will vary quite a bit depending on the number of flowers used and how many premium blooms are to be included. Peonies, orchids etc. are more premium flowers and the budget needs to account for this.

It’s also important to be aware labour charges can vary dramatically as well – each venue has it’s own rules on when we can set up and when we need to pack down. All of this has an impact on costs for the day. Labour charges also change depending on the time of day we need to set-up / pack down as well as the day of the week (Saturdays and Sunday incur premium labour charges and early morning set-ups and late night pack-downs also incur premium labour charges).

From our perspective, we are super excited to work with couples regardless of their budget. We have no minimum spend and are always happy to provide suggestions on where the money is best spent, where to get ‘the most bang for your buck’ at your venue and how to make the greatest impact on the day.

Finally, remember every florist prices differently and it might be that florists in your area charge more for some items than we do. We’re simply looking to provide this as a guide to help manage expectations, rather than as a bible for the purposes of a formal quote.

Why are wedding flowers so expensive?

I was reading the other day about the average cost Australian’s spend on their weddings and I was a bit taken aback – it’s more than $65,000. (You can read more about that here.) Yes, that’s a lot of money indeed.

But it’s also just the average – it accounts for those who choose to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their weddings as well as those who opt for a simpler solution and spend significantly less.

Within that average, they estimate couples spend around $3,000 on flowers and decor. I reckon that’s about right. We have many brides who spend significantly more but we also work with couples who handpick a few select items, spend money in specific ways and make the most of a limited budget.

It got me thinking though, it’s probably worth outlining a little bit about what actually contributes to the price wedding flowers. I know there are some couples who feel like the wedding industry hears you say the word ‘wedding’ and those vendors automatically think to themselves, ‘Oh, let’s just add an arbitrary 50% to our standard retail prices.’ I can guarantee you that’s not the way we operate.

And now, you are asking yourself, why are wedding flowers so expensive? I think it comes down to two main factors (1) the time we spend in planning, managing and executing your event and (2) the shear abundance of flowers we use on the day.

The Flowers

I would say there are two pieces to the flower puzzle. Part of what makes up our specific aesthetic is the sheer abundance of blooms we use. We don’t shy away from filling an archway with more flowers than ever before and our all-rose bridal bouquets typically include 25-30 stems of premium roses. It’s abundant but I know it’s absolutely beautiful that way. And it’s the way I would want it if it were my wedding.

Second to that is that we steer more towards premium flowers – garden roses, dahlias, peonies, phalaenopsis orchids, hydrangea, king proteas. In Australia, these are some of the most expensive wholesale product we can get our hands on. And that inevitably leads to a higher price point for our designs. We also tend to limit the amount of foliage we use and focus more on flowers to fill in the space. Again, this also adds to the overall cost and drives up the price point. But it’s also the choice we make in the designs we create.

Our Time 

This a bit of a nebulous one to account for. We approach every wedding as a new project and work through a similar process with our couples: we pull together bespoke mood boards based on their vision for the day; develop incredibly detailed, itemised quotes; sit down for face-to-face consultations; more than likely go through a handful of revisions to the quote in the months (and sometimes years) leading up to the wedding day; plan detailed recipes for each item we’re going to design for the wedding; book in freelancers and support staff to ensure we are able execute the designs in a limited time frame; meet with the venue to sort through bump in, bump out logistics and installation requirements; order all the flowers; get up at 3am to drive to Sydney to pickup all the flowers; drive back the Highlands; unload the van; prep all the flowers; sort the product; create the bouquets, arrangements, installations; pack the van for transport to and from the venues; deliver bouquets and pin on buttonholes; set-up table arrangements; install archways and ceiling chandeliers; light the candles; place the name cards; come back in the middle of the night to remove all the installations; clean the studio; clean the candles; pay the invoices; pay the freelancers; pay the government; and, hopefully, pay ourselves.

On top of all this, I also know we spend a little more time than we have to on the design side of things. This is for a wedding after all. It’s the definition of a ‘momentous occasion’. These flowers are going to be photographed and something you will keep FOREVER.

We want to make sure you are over the moon about everything we do on the day and want to know, when you look back at your wedding photos in 5 or 10 years, you smile, and you remember that feeling of pure joy you felt holding your wedding bouquet, standing under that archway or sitting at that banquet table clinking glasses with your closest friends of family.

Yes, the list of things we spend our time on is long. And it’s all part of the fun of running your own business. But somewhere in the mix we need to be able to account for and capture payment for some of the time we invest in weddings and events. Believe me, we don’t get paid for every minute we spend on an event.

I would hazard to guess with every wedding we do, we spend an average of 50 hrs in planning and preparation for an average sized wedding – and that is coming from an incredibly experienced team of people. We know our local venues better than anyone and our ‘divide and conquer’ mentality of our team means we are incredibly efficient and effective with our time.

If we took the required Award rate (Australia) for a qualified florist (Level 4, General Retail Award Casual Staff as of August 2020) the hourly rate $28.38. So our average of 50 hrs equates to $1419. And then we need to account for Superannuation…and then there’s the fact most weddings happen on Saturdays so the General Retail Award rate goes up by $5.67 an hour for time worked on a Saturday…and then when we bump out we are required to pay staff an additional premium for after hours work…anyway you get the point. Those 50 hrs equates to a lot of moneys.

A few ideas to help you save on flower costs

Be picky. Don’t feel you need to cover off a long list of flower needs – opt for wrist corsages for your bridesmaids, forego buttonholes for the whole family, decide on an abundance of candles to decorate the reception tables. Just because you’ve seen it on Pinterest doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for your wedding day.

Set a budget and stick to it. How much should you budget for wedding flowers – as a place to start we recommend 5-10% of your total wedding budget. Perhaps more if you want your flowers to be a true highlight of the day. Be honest about your budget with your suppliers. Sometimes it is the best idea to allow the budget to make the decision for you. And if the supplier scrunches their nose at your budget or you feel pushed to spend more. Walk away. They are not the right partner for you two.

Be open minded. Ask your florist for advice on where to save, how to allocate your budget to get the most impact on the day. I know we’re more than happy to provide advice and guidance to anyone who walks in the door – whether we’re doing their flowers or not. Find a floral designer with a similar philosophy – if you don’t have your heart set on a specific design and are wanting to save a little money, talk to your florist. Seek their input and ask their advice.

At the end of the day I think it’s vitally important to find a florist who ‘gets you’ and understands your priorities.

Find someone you trust, someone you can be 100% honest with, someone who will provide an opinion or a point of view if you want it.

G’day I’m Kathleen!

I’m a girl who built a six-figure floral design business in a tiny town. Imma straight-talkin’, spreadsheet-lovin’, more-flowers-than-is-really-necessary kinda gal. My mission? To help floral designers overcome their self-doubt and make more money than they ever imagined.

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