Get your money upfront, you are worth it.

Did you read Holly Chapple’s post earlier this week?
Let’s not minimize this..

I was nodding along as I read it. I just wish we could get all designers to value themselves and their work, to price their work correctly and to not feel bad for doing so!
This is a business, NOT a hobby!
If it is a hobby for you, please still price correctly as it is not fair to underprice other designers who are doing this for a living…

Does a good, experienced, reliable designer cost a bit more than a box store? Probably, but they are worth it.

Earlier this week my mom and I visited a nursery in Napa, California, Van Winden’s Nursery. When we first arrived we thought the prices seemed a tad high. We decided we better explore our options and ended up at two box stores. Yes, me, the person who always wants to support a small business – yes, I admit I went to the big box store looking for a better deal. sigh.
Well, guess what – we ended up back at Van Winden’s Nursery.
The big box store was maybe $1 cheaper per plant, the plants were in terrible shape, no one could answer our questions, the list goes on. The object of my desire was a Camellia, my very first Camellia plant and I know nothing about growing them. The lady at the nursery was wonderful, she showed me every Camellia they had and I picked out a real beauty. I also picked up another object of desire – the Ebb Tide rose! My mom’s first hellebore, and a few other flowering plants.
Bottom line – better and more knowledgeable service and much healthier plants for just a few more dollars.
You get what you pay for!

pink camellia plant

Another example, this week I had to take my SUV into the mechanic. I suppose driving round trip from Ukiah to Santa Barbara and Ukiah to Portland will cause some wear and tear on Gus the Gas Guzzler. I dropped him off at the mechanic to hear it’s either a cracked exhaust gasket or a cracked manifold. I’m hoping for the gasket.. Now can I say to the mechanic- hey, this is your hobby right? Can I get the work done cheaper? Oh, I can hear the laughs! Of course not, he is running a business and I’m going to pay the price for the work he and his employees do. Why? He’s a professional who has insurance, employees, rent, etc to pay.
We don’t argue with the mechanic on price, so why do we let our clients argue with us?

I’ve seen comments on the blog in the past from designers who say they feel they should give a discount. Can I ask why? I can see maybe throwing in the toss bouquet- I typically charge $35+ for these, but fine throw in the toss bouquet. Maybe they refer a ton of clients to you, so you do a little something special for them – OK, I get that. However, if you are working with a client one time, why do you feel the need to give discount after discount? Why are you paying to do their event? A year later when you can no longer pay for your cell phone, pay your electricity – even worse, cannot pay your wholesaler! How do you rectify that? Those clients that you ‘gave away the farm’ to, they aren’t coming back to give you more money to pay off your debts.
Think it won’t happen to you? Every wholesaler I’ve talked to can tell me stories about florists who have skipped out on bills. I’ve seen florists actually escorted off the property of wholesalers, they owe too much money and are no longer welcomed. I’ve heard of florists standing out front and asking their peers to buy them some flowers, they’ll pay cash. Dead serious. Don’t let this happen to you.
Get your money upfront, you are worth it.

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  1. Here, here! I charge what I charge. I am worth it, my experience is worth it, my designers are worth it. I recently went through bidding a very large wedding. The bride gave me a picture of a centerpiece she wanted replicated. She gave the same picture to another florist. My bid came in at 775.00 plus 50.00 to rent the candelabra. The other florist came in at 450.00 and 35.00 to rent the candelabra. Really? It makes me sick. The best part of it all? The client booked me. I guess she too realizes, you get what you pay for!

    • Shannon – LOVE IT! So awesome that she selected you, she knows you know what you are doing!! I cannot wait to see a picture of these centerpieces when you are done!!

  2. You couldn’t have written this article at a better time for me to read it. I’m just starting out and had my very first bridal consult last week- I felt apologetic as I had to explain that what the bride wanted cost more than her budget, and considered lowballing myself because I’m anxious to get to work.
    Then I realised that I can’t subsidise people’s weddings- Jenny needs some new shoes, too, haha.
    This blog is such a great resource for me as I learn the ropes, thanks to all involved!

  3. Wow Jen,

    Just starting out are ya? Yes, this website has some good resources I think as well. I hope you are not getting to nervous. Starting out a floral business or any business can be nerve racking at first, however I’ve found that and other people have found that you really quickly start to warm up to it.

    • Thanks, Kristy! I wake up terrified some mornings- the house rule is, ‘get to work anyway’. Things are gradually falling in to place- just have to remember to learn from mistakes 🙂

  4. I frequently find myself trimming down the markup to fit into budgets when I really should not. I have been in this business for 8 years with the last 4 spent building my own business. I have lost customers to people who underbid me and it is very frustrating.