Let’s Talk about Pricing – Sunflower Aisle Decor

Sunflowers lining the ceremony aisle, designed by The Flower House, Denver
Sunflowers decorating the Ceremony Aisle by The Flower House

How cool is the aisle decor treatment?!
I love the Sunflowers lining the ceremony aisle – very happy and celebratory for an outdoor Colorado style wedding.
I asked my friend, Amy of The Flower House, to tell us more about this ceremony and its price tag.

“A complete pain in the arse depending on the soil conditions. Too soggy and you’re in trouble, to dry and you’re in trouble. We had hard ground and had to take a power drill with a large auger bit to get into the ground… which is dangerous thanks to the sprinkler system. After we “planted” them we did “water them in” when we set up.. I went back the next day to strike and even though the wedding took place on a sweltering August day, all the sunflowers were still alive.”

The Details:
80 Sunflowers x $3.50 per stem = $280
Labor for Installation & Strike = $85
1 Drill with Auger Bit = $100 – (although it has been used for several projects since this wedding and not all $100 was applied to this wedding)
Final Price Tag: $400.00

Images by Lindsay B Photography

Thank you, Amy, for working with us on this pricing post. Amy is the owner of The Flower House in Denver, Colorado.

What is the per guest cost for this table? by Nancy Liu Chin

I’m so pleased to be writing another article for the Flirty Fleurs Blog. Alicia has been so inspiring to me as I await the new ideas, new flower tips, and behind the scenes stories from her perspective.

One of the things I often sense from clients today is that they have these fantasy inspiration boards through pinterest or lover.ly that to them should be achievable. After all, if it’s so easy to find all this wedding “eye candy”, it’s got to be fairly reachable for any budget, right?

Unlike when I was wedding planning in 1999, where the average bride would only see a handful of real weddings in magazines, today you can see plenty of new real weddings every day (actually – not just a handful in magazines but dozens upon dozens of real weddings on blogs, on line digital magazines as well as through pinterest, facebook, twitter and instagram), so there is no shortage of real weddings! What was once seen as special, unique, and one of kind, today with the oversaturation of “real weddings”, it would make anyone planning a wedding now to feel like all things are within their budgetary grasp.

But is it?

What is behind the cost for a real event, might just surprise you.
Let’s break down this Gatsby inspired Art Deco table featured in April 2013’s Grace Ormonde’s digital wedding issue.

Grace Ormonde

Nancy Liu Chin Floral Design

This table photographed by Kevin Chin and designed by Charmed Events and NLC Designs.

Black Gold White Table Setting

black succulent

Black Gold White Table Setting

Black Gold White Table Setting

Black Gold White Table Setting

Black Gold White Table Setting

Black Gold White Table Setting

For this 24 foot long table, let’s break down the costs – for 24 guests

3 8 feet table Black – $225 each
30 Louis Chair Black chair with Gold Cushion center – $17.50 Each
5 Black Acrylic Lamps – $45 each
1 Gold And Black Back Drop – $500
30 Gold King A. Dinner Fork – $1.20 each
30 Gold Dinner Knives -$1.20 each
90 Gold Salad Fork(30 for salad, 30 for 1st course, 30 for dessert)- $1.20 each
60 Gold Salad Knives – $1.20 each
30 Gold Teaspoon – $1.20 each
30 Black C. Napkin $2.25 each
30 Black Onyz Goblet – $1.56 each
30 Champagne Glass $- 1.46 each
30 Wine Glass -$1.46 each
30 Water Glass – $1.46 each
30 Black Charger – $3.15
30 Gothic Plate – $.1.00 each
90 Gothic Salad Plate(30 for salad, 30 for 1st plated course, 30 for cake) – $1.00 each
30 Cups – $1.00 each
30 Saucer – $1.00
30 Dinner Plate white with Gold – $.57 each
4 Chevron Runner – $30 each
20 gold logs – $5 each
4 gold arrangement with all white lisianthus – $70 each
3 gold arrangements with white irises – $55 each
12 narrow glass with white phalenopsis – $40 each
20 black succulent – $7.50 each
24 gold votives – $2.25 each
15 assorted Mercury Distressed Candlesticks – $10 each
15 Pillar candles – $12.50 each
3 oval gold arrangements with white cyclamen – $55 each
8 pieces of gold sand blasted grapevine – $25 each
4 cans of gold spray paint – $5.50 each
2 bunches of loose white phalenopsis orchid – $150 each

*setup, delivery, taxes and breakdown costs are not included.

What is the per guest cost for this table?

A: $170 per guest!

It’s sometimes hard to understand but a reception is not just about the flowers but it’s a combination of many parts.

This was a ballroom table so look forward to my next article will I will break down a farm/rustic table.

Contact Information:
Nancy Liu Chin Floral & Event Design

Thank you, Nancy, for this insightful article! As always, you are such an inspiring treasure in our floral industry!

The Pricing of Boutonnieres

Designed by Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas of Flourish, California. 3 Yellow Aranda orchids Seeded Eucalyptus Solidaster Brezillia berry (sprayed silver) Dusty miller $18.50 (photo by Briggs Photography)

Designed by Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas of Flourish, California.
3 Yellow Aranda orchids
Seeded Eucalyptus
Brezillia berry (sprayed silver)
Dusty miller
(photo by Briggs Photography)

Designed by Tracy Park of Park Place Design. Blue sea thistle, Globe Thistle (from my garden)   Queen Annes Lace and wrapped with a twine  22.50

Designed by Tracy Park of Park Place Design, Michigan.
Blue Sea Thistle
Globe Thistle (from my garden)
Queen Annes Lace
Wrapped with twine
(photo by Michael Terri Studios)

Designed by Holly of Sweet Pea Floral Design, Michigan. (www.sweetpfloral.com) Nerine lily Star of Bethlehem Seeded Eucalyptus Grey Grosgrain Ribbon Silver Boutonniere pin $17.50

Designed by Holly of Sweet Pea Floral Design, Michigan.
Nerine lily
Star of Bethlehem
Seeded Eucalyptus
Grey Grosgrain Ribbon
Silver Boutonniere pin

Designed by Ria of Natures Grace Design, Colorado.  Gloriosa orange, craspedia, willow euc. celosia, satin ribbon,   pinwheel accent   $15.00

Designed by Ria of Nature’s Grace Design, Colorado.
Gloriosa orange
Willow euc. Celosia
Satin ribbon
Pinwheel accent

Designed by Amanda of Alluring Blooms, Wisconsin.  Burgundy ranunculus Sprig of red huck Sprig of gold grivellia Wire/tape Pure silk ribbon $13.00

Designed by Amanda of Alluring Blooms, Wisconsin.
Burgundy ranunculus
Sprig of red huck
Sprig of gold grivellia
Pure silk ribbon

Craspedia,kangaroo paw, dusty, bear grass, grosgrain ribbon $15.00

Designed by Ria of Nature’s Grace Design, Colorado.
Kangaroo Paw
Dusty Miller
Bear Grass
Grosgrain Ribbon

Lily grass, fiddle head fern, moss, and scabiosa pod, and a succulent, The Number 22 was added for the groom it was his late fathers number. wrapped with silver bullion wire.. I charged 28.00

Designed by Tracy Park of Park Place Design, Michigan.
Lily grass
Fiddle head fern
Scabiosa pod
The Number 22 was added for the groom it was his late fathers number
Wrapped with silver bullion wire

Designed by Lisa of Petals and Promises. Birch twig, Acorns, sprigs of Naked Seeded Euc, Bittersweet with florets of Black Story Orchids and Bear Grass 15.00

Designed by Lisa of Petals and Promises, Maryland.
Birch twig
Sprigs of Naked Seeded Eucalyptus
Florets of Black Story Orchids
Bear Grass

2 ranunculus 1 freesia viburnum berries $21.00

Designed by Holly of Sweet Pea Floral Design, Michigan.
2 Ranunculus
1 Freesia
Viburnum berries

Designed by Cindy of Bloomers Floral Design, California. 2 Lisianthus blooms and a bud myrtle. $10.50

Designed by Cindy of Bloomers Floral Design, California.
2 Lisianthus blooms and a bud

Ranunculus, arailia foliage, dusty miller Salal, chiffon ribbon, accent   applique  $15.00

Designed by Ria of Nature’s Grace Design, Colorado.
Arailia foliage
Dusty Miller
Chiffon ribbon
Accent applique

A discussion on Wedding Budgets with Nancy Liu Chin

A few days ago, a prospective client sent me an email asking me to create a wedding floral proposal for a 200 guest sit down dinner reception and ceremony in the Northern California area at a 4 star hotel(*according to Tripadvisor) based on some images that he/she was inspired by.

The wedding was described as the following(to hide the anonymity of the client, I have paraphrased from her email and have changed the rounded the budget to the narrowest thousand).

Different shades of pinks and white hues for 200 guests equaling 20 tables in total. 3 different kinds of centerpieces from low to medium to tall with the tallest arrangement being not too full of flowers to keep the cost down. Incorporating crystals and possibly feathers as it was part of the theme.
For the wedding party will need a bridal bouquet, a toss bouquet, 5 bridemaids’ bouquets, 1 groom’s boutonniere, 10 ceremony aisle decoration with
2 additional floral arrangements for the ceremony to be repurposed for the sweetheart table.

With regards to the flowers, the client said that he/she was not picky about flowers and could even use baby’s breath if needed. In conclusion, the wedding budget for flowers would need to be under $2000.

I am including two visuals of the images that he/she sent so that we as vendors and as potential clients can learn a bit about budgeting.

glamorous centerpieces

glamourous centerpie

crystal vases with white flowers

Even before I address this specific question, I thought I would play “bride” and find an online resource to see what I should expect to budget for an average wedding.

I used a wedding calculator called Cost of Wedding.com.

After inputting the information the result concluded that the average wedding in Northern California for 200 guests would be $46,900 with an estimated cost per guest of $235 not including any travel.
See below for the breakdown.

wedding planning

wedding budgets

wedding budgets

wedding budget

I want to highlight the floral information which shows that even the internet calculated the average flowers for this 200 guest to be $2800. The take away from this exercise is the following.

1) Is your wedding at average, above, or below the average in your area?
2) Are your wedding inspirations minimal, fair, or designer?
3) Does your budget also include delivery, taxes, and other rental fees associated with flowers.

As you can see in the budget, the calculator does not factor in deliver, installation, setup, breakdown, prop rental, taxes, or any design shop fees that might incur. A more realistic budget should account for these non related items.
If the calculator offers you a $2800 average cost for flowers, keep that in mind when you are asking for a proposal. The non floral should be on top of the budget. Note: Tell your vendor that the budget you have does not include for non floral expenses so that they can write a proposal that is fair. Or tell your vendor that your budget needs to include all incidentals which means, you will get much less flowers.

When a client says they want the following for less than $2000, that means it is below the average and on the low end. If we were choosing a dinner spot, we would understand that to mean that the restaurant might be off the beaten track, possibly new, or lacking in décor or food quality. If the range for dinner restaurants in SF were $15 to $50 then everyone knows that the $15 dinner place might be hamburgers and fries versus the higher is Wagyu beef.

If your design concept is not your average flowers, more tailored, more designer,it’s almost impossible to expect that any decent floral designer could create your dream inspired wedding at the lowest end of the average for flowers.

Picture 34

This clients’ $2000 floral budget is just not achievable when you break things down.

Here’s my low end breakdown taking the budget below and reducing it by 15% roughly per item.
1 Bridal bouquet $149 each – $148( I took $174 and reduced it by 15%)
5 Bridedsmaid $38 each – $190 ( I took $226, reduced it by 15% and divided it by 5 bouquets)
1 Toss Bouquet $38 each – $38 ( I took the price of 1 bridesmaid and assumed the toss would be at the bridesmaid bouquet price)
1 Boutonniere $24.50 each – $24.50 ( I took the boutonniere/corsage and divided it by 6 pieces(1 for groom, 5 for groomsmen. I took 15% off to get to $24.50)
10 Aisle Pew Flowers $29.50 each = $295 ( I took the $347 for ceremony décor and took 15% and divided by 10)
2 Ceremony flowers $165 each = $330( I took $389 for ceremony flower arrangements, took 15% and divided by 2)
20 Centerpieces – all same style = $65 each = $1300(I took All reception flowers plus the amount for the flowers girl since the client did not request a flower girl and added it together to get to $1531, took 15% off and divided by 20)

Total if I took 15% off the average = $2326.50. The client’s request is still $326.50 below this “below average request”. There simply is no way for any designer to do this unless the centerpiece is below average.

It also assumes that there is a designer who could do a bridesmaid bouquet for $38.00(*it would have to be very very small, perhaps all baby’s breath). Even if I could locate someone to do the flowers, it doesn’t account for any crystals, any vases, any embellishment. It assumes that someone is willing to do 3 varied arrangements so that it averages $65.00. That’s going to be hard to find.

For brides, please just take a quick look at what a $120.00 average centerpieces on 1800 flowers looks like.

flower budgets

I’ll even show you my $120.00 centerpiece.

Nancy Liu Chin pink and white centerpiece

The reason why I think this client’s budget isn’t realistic is because it assumes that a business is willing to take profit loses. Unfortunately, most thriving businesses can’t just give every wedding away. If so, the floral designer would eventually be out of business. To invest in 1) tall and grand vases is a huge undertaking that involves knowing future client preferences. If a vendor is willing to invest in these props, then there is more of a likelihood that they could sell this wedding at a potential loss. Please note invest for 9 vases is $990(If I were to buy 2 for the sweet heart table + 7(1/3 for the centerpieces) = 9 x $110 each not including shippings/taxes).

vase full of gems

Secondly, it also assumes that a business owner is willing to forego the cost of delivery, installation, breakdown and possibly design labor costs. This is also very unrealistic. The cost of fuel is rising. Labor in the SF area is now $10.55 at the minimum wage. Venues are requiring more rental and floral businesses to acquire worker’s compensation. Delivery vehicles rent for approximate $125 for a cargo or mini van a day. Skilled designers to create arrangements as well as delivery is on a rise. All in all, the cost for labor is increasing and unless the business owner can do it all, this is probably not responsible to ask a business to take a major hit to make this one wedding budget.

Lastly, it assumes that one’s flowers are on the below average side. And that is the great folly. When your inspiration images are obviously from a luxury wedding inspiration table, it’s really hard and difficult to do quality work and have quality products and quality props and the low end. Something has got to give. It’s the old champagne taste, beer budget. And in this reality, when your inspiration is on the over the top side, it really is hard to make it fit. It’s like two things are fighting each other.

So to review, ask yourself is your flower style minimal, average or designer. Ask yourself did you account for non floral costs? Do some research and find out what your props might actually costs? Be more realistic when you collect your inspiration images. Do some homework and figure out what average cost is in your area before realizing if your over the top dreams can fit into a below average budget? Find a floral internet website like a 1800flowers or ftd.com. Look and examine what a middle of the road flowers service charges. This will give you insight into what real average design and costs are.

Thank you, Nancy, for this insightful and helpful article!

Nancy’s beautiful floral designs can be viewed on her website:

Let’s talk about Peonies and a thing called seasonality..

Ok, perhaps this is a bit of a vent..
Let’s talk about Peonies. Seems these days it is the number one requested flower by brides, right?? Problem is, they often want this flower in August, September, early October and for the most part peonies are just not available. I know what some of you will say, that peonies are available from Alaska, Chile, Timbuktu, etc.
Ok, so let’s look at what these really look like at this time of year:

This is a white peony a friend of mine received for a July 4th wedding. The correct retail price for this little gem? $22.75 per STEM! Do you see how tiny it is?? Perhaps you cannot see it, because it is so tiny:

white peony bud

Only $22.75 per stem!

This little pink guy is from this past week, I got my hands on a few for a Sept. 2nd wedding. Yes, it’s impressive that I could get peonies this late in the season, but is it really worth it? The retail price for this stem? $12 per stem. Not bad considering it is September, although the wholesaler cut me a deal so that’s why the lower price.

Pink peony bud

Only $12 per stem!

WOW, right?

Plus, let’s face it, the brides expect the peonies to look like this:

white peony bridal bouquet

Bridal bouquet designed by Courtenay Lambert Florals of Kentucky

coral pink peony

Annabella Charles Photography

white peonies and clematis

White peony & clematis arrangement by Florali

Let’s face it, at some point we just have to let peonies go for the season and use lovely garden roses & dahlias instead..

Realistic Pricing..

I recently created this arrangement:

for a photoshoot I did with Denver vendors for a Style Me Pretty feature. (Photo by James Christianson).

I got to thinking, obviously for a shoot I made what I wanted & didn’t let price hold me back. However, in the real world – what would this centerpiece cost?
I emailed a few floral designers across the country to see what they’d say, how much would this centerpiece cost in their region.

The ingredients:
7 stems Italian Ranunculus
5 Stems Californian Ranunculus
1 bunch dusty miller
15 stems carnations
10 stems hellebores
10 stems lisianthus
1 Milk Glass pedestal bowl
½ brick Foam

Here are the results::
Denver, Colorado, Bella Fiori: $341.50
(Alicia says – Italian Ranunculus is gorgeous but so expensive in Colorado. In reality I would substitute other flowers for the Italian Ranunculus such as garden roses or peonies which are larger and take up more space.)

Orange County, California, Entwined Design: $125.00
(Marci says – Ranunculus grow locally, therefor are at least 50% cheaper per stem then what we pay in Colorado.)

Chicago, Illinois, Moss Fine Floral: $348.82
(Cori Says – So, this would be extremely difficult for me to sell to a client but it is what my numbers say it should cost. So, what would happen here is that we would sub the Italian Ranunculus for something else…basically bulk up on less expensive flowers to create this look for less.)

Seattle, Washington, Fiori Floral Design: $155.00

Chesapeake, Virginia, Isha Foss Designs: $165.00

Covington, Kentucky, Courtenay Lambert Florals: $235.00
(Courtenay says – Most of my customers, would not pay that for something that small…I would probably end up suggesting they pull in some high volume to cost blooms like Hydrangea, Stock, or Roses. People in the Cincinnati area like to see a larger centerpiece if they spending $150 plus per table (at least my experience).)

Jericho, Vermont, Floral Artistry by Alison Bucholz-Ellis: $195.00

What do you think? What would it cost in your area?

Let’s Be Realistic — The cost of flowers

Photo shoots have become all the rage this year, talented people joining forces to create a look and then have it published on websites. I think this is all great, I love the creativity, the inspiration, the fresh ideas. I appreciate all the wedding blogs that show these beautiful and lush floral designs portrayed in the photo shoots. Only two slight problems… Price & Season.

Yes, I too, LOVE peonies, garden roses, hydrangea, ranunculus, anemones, orchids, etc. I would use them every day if it were possible. I’m sure many of my fellow floral designers feel the same way.

Let’s first talk about the price. I do realize price can change slightly by geographic location. Obviously, orchids in Hawaii are much more reasonable than say Colorado. I am located in Denver, Colorado and will be placing the flowers in 3 categories which reflect the pricing here.

Most expensive, more than $10 per stem:
Callas, mini & regular sized
Casablanca Lilies
Garden Roses
Lily of the Valley
Orchids ( Cymbidiums, Cattleyas, phalaenopsis )

Medium Price, $5-10 per stem
Fern Fronds (monkey tail)
French Tulips
Glorisa Lilies
Orchids (Dendrobriums, Mokaras, Oncidiums)
Pincushion Protea

Least Expensive, under $5 per stem
Asiatic Lilies
Bells of Ireland
Craspedia (Billy Balls)
Gerber Daisies
Grape Hyacinth (Muscari)
Green Fuji Mums
Hypericum Berries
Scabiosa Pods

Now, I know what many of you are thinking – oh good, my favorite flower is in the least expensive category. Yet, there’s another element to take into consideration when selecting your flowers – SIZE! As with most things in life, size matters.
Yes, hydrangeas & Casablanca lilies are expensive per stem but they are large and therefor you need less of them to make an impact. The delicate flowers such as ranunculus, anemones, sweetpeas, tulips, tweedia, stephanotis, craspedia fall under the least expensive flower per stem but they are small and you need a lot of them to make an impact.

The other issue with many of the flowers we see in styled shoots – their availability. Seems the most popular flowers seen in photo shoots are anemones, ranunculus, peonies, tulips and garden roses. Here’s their breakdown by season. Anemones and ranunculus are spring time flowers, they grow the best in early spring. The practically disappear during the hot summer months and then make a return half way through September. Peonies are available mid-May thru June. Sure, you can get some in early May and July but they are half the size of the prime season peonies. We do see them re-emerge in November as they are being shipped in from the southern Hemisphere. I have heard rumors that growers are emerging in Alaska which will mean we’ll receive peonies for an extended season, hopefully this takes place by next season. Tulips do appear to be in season almost year round now, however, their prices surge in the summer as this isn’t their normal season. Plus, they are smaller than when in their season prime and open very quickly. They really are best November-early June. Garden roses are at their prime during the summer and fall months (June-November).

There you have it, the most popular flowers broken down by cost and season. Any questions or comments? Please let us know.

Let Me Clarify – You Can Always Get It Cheaper…

The following article was written by Sasha Souza. Thank you Sasha for clarifying why designers and floral designs cost what they do. For more information please visit Sasha’s blog: Sparkliatti

There’s one thing that I definitely know in life and that is you can always buy something cheaper – telephone service, flights, cars, office supplies, SEO optimization, wedding gowns, pharmaceuticals, wedding flowers, catering….wedding & event planners. You name it and I’ll betcha there’s somebody out there that can give it to you cheaper… I think that the question that people miss is: But Will It Be What I Want?

Let me give you a scenario that happened to me last year. I sent out a floral & decor proposal for an event that wasn’t huge and over the top. It was for a nice party and right in line with the type of events we do. Prior to sending it out, I had gone through and made a few things optional for the client so that they could add in some of the “nice to haves”. Exactly what I told them I would do when they hired me.

Then, the phone rings….it’s the Mother of the Bride. We’ll call her Carol.

Carol: “Sasha…in this economy how can you, in good conscience, send me a floral proposal THIS high?”

Please know that I had been through the proposal backwards & forwards and it met all of the required components that the bride simply HAD to have.

ME: “Thanks for your call, Carol, I sent it because I believe it fits the desires of Melanie (name of bride has been changed) and I did shave a lot off to try to meet your budget”

Carol: “But Sasha, how in the world do you expect us to pay for this? We have decided we don’t want to spend more than X” {this would have been nice to know at the beginning, by the way}

ME: “Please let me know what you would like to cut and we are happy to make any changes you like. We can switch from long tables to rounds & squares, change the design of the flowers…”{basically, I gave her 15 options to make changes}

Carol: “But Sasha, Melanie wants all that and we expect that in this economy people are hungry for business and would be willing to make a little less profit for the job”

{quizzical look which garners the side note that in this economy, business owners are more likely going to want a higher profit from each job, not lower to compensate for fewer jobs overall – thereby providing the contracted & paid for services ONLY and not over and above the contracted services}

ME: “Carol, I’m not sure that’s the case, but let me just say that I’ve found out something in life and in business…you can always get something cheaper but it will not be the wedding your daughter wants, it will only be the price you like.” {if you use this in your business, feel free to say “well, Sasha Souza says…”}

Why have I told you this story? Because it’s true and the statement that I made at the end is an important one when educating couples and ourselves on weddings and what we get for our money. It’s easy to say you want a centerpiece to be smaller or “not over the top” or “simple”. Let me give you a visual example. We have seen this image from the legendary Preston Bailey in our office many, many times. It’s gorgeous with hundreds of flowers in it and I’m sure the image does not do it justice to how grand it is in person:

Can every bride afford it? No. But those that value it will seek it & Preston out to design for them and will be thrilled with the results. Here is how we used his inspiration for a bride who loved the look but couldn’t pay the price tag for the flowers:

Could the bride have gotten even this arrangement cheaper? Yes! Absolutely but the structure of the piece, the height, the design would have been vastly different. More like this:

While still pretty, it doesn’t emanate the same feeling – BUT it IS CHEAPER! So, if it’s cheaper that they are looking for then this would work out perfectly but the expectation can’t be for the gorgeous images above.

Another example…Is the peony any cheaper because of the economy? No. So, we offer alternatives and often we substitute with garden roses. Is it the same? No. It’s just cheaper and different. Some brides are OK with that and others REALLY want the peony and are not going to compromise for anything less. The decision is only theirs to make.

Carol did go on to pay the bill for the flowers when she understood that what she would get by going elsewhere wasn’t what Melanie would have wanted. We were very willing to make changes to the event to get them closer to their described estimated expenditure but they were unwilling to make any changes whatsoever and simply wanted it to be cheaper. period. just. cheaper.

That isn’t how this works, people. If you go to the gas station to fill up your car, you make a decision on the name brand station that you go to, how much you want to pay per gallon & the octane level of the gas you want.


You can go down the street to the gas station without all the special additives. Will your car run the same? Maybe. Maybe not. My car happens to like Chevron Techron 89 Octane or better. I put anything less in it and I’m bummed by the lack of power and performance that I get in my car. I can’t go into the clerk and ask them if instead of $2.99 per gallon I can pay $1.49 per gallon and expect the exact same quality & product. If you want me to shave $100 off an arrangement, you’re going to lose $100 worth of flowers & design time.

So, when you’re visiting with your vendors and you ask them to reduce their price please be sure that you are getting the same exact thing – because if you’re trying to compare apples to apples and one person says they can do that Preston arrangement for hundreds less than the other person – chances are you’ll be left with arrangement #3 on your 72″ round seating 12.

The Bottom Line :: Pricing Strategy for Retail Flower Shops

When you create your profit and loss statement to assess the health of your business, you will see:

Sales minus Cost of Goods Sold equals Gross Profit.

You pay for all of your expenses with the gross profit. If you are finding that your gross profit is not enough to cover your expenses, you have two options, you can either raise gross profit by increasing sales or lowering cost of goods sold, or you can lower your expenses. Certainly, that’s an over simplification, the art of business management is in the hundreds of nuances held within those two options. For this article, let’s assume that your expenses have been carefully streamlined and that you are doing due-diligence in your purchasing habits. Therefore, let’s investigate the pricing end of the equation.

How you set your prices may be one of the most important management decisions you make as an owner or manager of a retail flower shop. A tremendous amount of work goes in to running a flower shop, wouldn’t it be a shame to under price your products and not be able to make ends meet? On the other hand, over pricing and putting yourself out of the market before you even begin would also prove to be disastrous. Market conditions and your competition will, in large part, determine your pricing. Bear in mind, though, that depending upon these items only, without analyzing the actual cost of the products you are selling could cause you to loose your shirt. Pricing strategy can be a complicated thing in a retail flower shop. This is because there are perishable items and skilled labor to be factored in along with the raw cost of goods.

Let us consider each of these factors one at a time. We’ll begin with the cost of goods sold (COGS) because that is the most straight-forward of the three. The cost of goods sold is the price you paid for the item that you are selling, plus any cost associated with buying and owning that product until such time as you sell it. If you were selling widgets, and you purchased a widget for three dollars, your COGS would be $3. In the flower business, you’ll need to add the cost of your fresh flower preservative or any other product that you must add to the flowers to make them saleable. In the case of an arrangement, your cost of goods includes the flowers, container, preservative, and ribbon or accessories.

Secondly, with perishable items, you’ll have a certain amount of shrink, or loss of product. Take time to analyze the amount of product that you loose. For every $100 worth of fresh flowers you buy, you should factor in approx 5% loss for shipping and normal damage. You will also need to find out your own shop’s loss factor. Let’s say for this example that you loose 10% of your fresh flowers because they are not sold before they go out of date, or because they are wasted or broken in the shop.

Now, let’s look at the components of a fresh flower arrangement. We’ll use some industry standards as a jumping off point for setting the price.
Fresh flowers: If the flowers cost $10 at wholesale, you’ll add $1.50 for shrink, .10 for preservative. Multiply by two to get the retail price of the flowers: $23.20
Container: The vase cost you $2.00. Multiply by two to get the retail price: $4.00
You’ll be putting in a bird, a bow and a butterfly, which will cost you $3.00, so your retail price on those items is $6.00. This gives us a total retail price of $30.20. We’re not done yet!

Third, the cost of the skilled labor that was used to create the arrangement must be considered. Look at your business plan and calculate the cost of your labor as a percentage of your total sales. Let’s say your labor costs are 12% of your total sales. You’ll need to add this labor factor into every item you sell. If you’d like to be able to sell giftware items without adding labor, you’ll probably need to do a little more analysis to figure your design labor cost as a total of your total sales. This number is probably more like 20% to 25%.Let’s go with 25% for this example.

Now the math gets a little more complicated. You need to find the selling price that reflects a 25% labor cost.Dust off your algebra I text and solve this equation:

Cost + (PRICE+(PRICE *25%))=PRICE



Don’t panic!
The easier way to do this math is to just divide the cost by whatever percentage you need to add to the labor factor to make 100%.


If we were using the 10% labor factor, the math would be:

Factor in your market considerations and do your research on your competition. Set your price accordingly. Follow up with continued analysis and adjust the labor factor or the multipliers you use in the formula as needed until you find that you have the results required to cover your expenses. For example, you may find that you need to multiply your costs by 2.5 or even 3. You may find that your skilled labor is actually a 30% factor, or even a 10% factor.

Finally, we have not addressed delivery. That’s a topic for another article, but do remember to consider where the money is coming from to cover the cost of delivery. If you include delivery in with your regular expense (which you should), you’ll need to either add a delivery charge, which in effect is just raising the retail sell price, or, you’ll certainly need to use a larger multiplier, closer to three than two.

In summary, you can analyze pricing from dawn to dusk, in fact, many people make a career of it! I recommend that you set a formula based on your best research. Make the formula simple enough for your entire staff to follow. Most importantly, don’t stop there. Be diligent about checking your numbers on your profit and loss statement, and adjust the formula as often as needed.

Karen Marinelli is a Floral Industry Professional with nineteen years of experience in the academic, retail and wholesale sectors of the industry. She believes the common goal should be to sell more flowers to more people, more often. For information on How to Open a Flower Shop, http://openaflowershop.com

To order flowers online, visit http://send-flowers-online.ws

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About the author:
Karen Marinelli is a Floral Industry Professional with nineteen years of experience in the academic, retail and wholesale sectors of the industry. She believes the common goal should be to sell more flowers to more people, more often. For information on How to Open a Flower Shop, visit www.openaflowershop.com

To order flowers online, visit www.send-flowers-online.ws