How to Start a Florist Business in South Africa [Complete Guide]

Looking for how to start a florist business in South Africa? Here you will find a complete guide about florist business.

Flowers, roses and plants will always be a suitable detail for any occasion thanks to their elegance, meaning and connection with nature. 

They are one of those elements that are always well received and well regarded regardless of fashions or seasons. In addition, there is a huge variety of cultivated flowers ready to be exported around the world

This is evidenced by the fact that the global average value of floral production is estimated at 55 billion dollars according to the Global Floriculture Map published in 2016. 

All this means that the flower market represents a business opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to innovate. And that is why we will dedicate this article to guide you in how to start a florist business.

Whether you want to sell flowers in a local, start an online florist or acquire a franchise here we will show you the steps to follow. So without further ado, let’s get started.

How to Start a Florist Business in South Africa

How to Start a Florist Business in South Africa

The time has come for us to talk about setting up a florist on premises , so pay attention to the following basic steps. These will help you take your entrepreneurship process in a more guided way.

1. Business plan of a florist

Before starting the venture, it is necessary to draw up a business plan to study the market and competition situation, as well as to define the objectives, marketing strategies and set the budget.

This step may seem overwhelming but it is actually a very fruitful exercise that will save you a lot of headaches. In addition, it does not have to be an endless and tiring document to read, since it is possible to make a business plan on one page . These are the aspects that must be considered within the business plan of a florist:

  • Company Description: This is an overview of the florist and a summary of the business model, identity and products and services to be offered.
  • Products and services: You must detail what products you are going to sell and what additional services you are going to offer. And since we are talking about precedent products, it is also important to specify what is the duration of the different types of flowers and plants.
  • Market study: To identify which are your strongest competitors and what is their reputation in the market. Here you can also analyze the situation of the sector in the area where your florist is located.
  • Customer profile: The objective here is to define who your buyer persona (ideal customers) are in order to know what type of audience you are going to target. They can be occasional customers who buy flowers for special dates, wedding and event planners or companies.
  • Finances: You must specify what will be the initial investment and the monthly expenses of the business and also make an estimate of the sales.
  • Marketing and sales: According to the research of your buyer person, you must propose the appropriate sales and marketing strategies to satisfy their needs.

2. Picture of the florist

Something very important to consider when setting up a florist business is the creation of the image and brand identity . And we are referring to a very visual business where design, colors and harmony play a key role. The idea is that the corporate image and the name of the florist are original , striking, professional and elegant. In addition, they must be a differential from your competition and a factor that stays in the mind of the target audience.

3. The ideal place

To start a florist business you need to have a location located in strategic commercial areas , with great visibility and with a large influx of potential clients. In addition, the area must be easily accessible, safe and with the possibility of finding complementary services.

Regarding the characteristics of the premises, its size will depend on your budget, concept and business model. But the ideal to start is a space of about 50m2 in which you can put a reception, a showroom and a storage room. In addition to this, you should consider a workspace where you can treat the products, cut them, arrange them and pack them.

It is essential that the premises have water service for watering the flowers . In addition to electricity, telephone and internet services and good natural lighting. Finally, do not forget that the premises must be conditioned to achieve optimum temperatures for the maintenance and preservation of the flowers and plants.

4. Furniture and equipment

An important factor on how to set up a florist business is to be clear about the materials necessary for its operation . This is important since after selecting the location and preparing the premises, you must assemble the furniture and equipment. Here is a list of everything you need to open a florist business:

  • Long rectangular table to cut flowers and make designs. Preferably in solid wood.
  • Plastic tubs of different sizes to hydrate the flowers and foliage.
  • Containers or bases, to hold and display the flowers. They can be made of ceramic, glass, clay, wicker, wood or plastic.
  • Shelves or showcases to place the containers or bases.
  • Carrier bouquets.
  • Floral foam.
  • Saw blade, large and light blades, scissors and thorn remover.
  • Bags, wrapping paper and decorative ribbons.
  • Colored paper and personalized cards.
  • Duct tape and wire.
  • Glue and glue gun.
  • Gloves and aprons.
  • Magazine or catalog of available products.

5. Suppliers

As they are ephemeral, delicate and perishable products, you must have specialized suppliers that guarantee quality and timely delivery times . The selection of suppliers is one of the key factors in the success of a florist business so you must ensure that they can also supply a wide range of flowers and plants .

In the current market there are some brands dedicated to the sale of flowers that distribute their products wholesale in different countries. And they also give florists the opportunity to join your business and enjoy its benefits.

Here we share the web pages of some of these brands in Latin America and Spain :

  • Enviaflores.com: It is a company born in Mexico that sells flowers online. It currently has the largest flower shop network in the country and allows other florist businesses to be affiliated.
  • Flower Market: Colombian company that distributes flowers, roses, foliage and wholesale accessories for florists and event organizers throughout the country.
  • Interflora.es: This is an international network of florists that distributes its products in 150 countries including the United States, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia. It has more than 50,000 affiliates around the world thanks to its partner stores model.

6. Inventory

Now with the correct suppliers, you can start building the initial inventory of your florist business. Here you will basically have to make a selection of the types of flowers and plants that you are going to offer . Some of these can be:

  • Roses in their different colors
  • Daisies
  • Carnations
  • Lilies
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Tulips
  • Lilies
  • Sunflowers

In addition to the sale of classic products and bouquets, don’t forget to include flower crowns and well-crafted flower arrangements for parties and events. You can also diversify the offer to differentiate yourself from your competitors and market gift baskets, stuffed animals, chocolates, wines and accessories for gardening and decoration.

7. Marketing

Thinking about how to set up a florist business involves analyzing and planning marketing and advertising strategies for its promotion . These should be considered at the beginning of the process within the business plan. So the ideal thing is that you translate them into a marketing plan in which you include your sales objectives, the techniques you are going to use and the different dissemination channels.

The marketing strategies applied to the florist will be determined by the results of the market study and the analysis of the target audience. Here it is possible to articulate traditional marketing techniques such as print advertising and brand activation, with digital marketing techniques such as creating a website, social media marketing and SEO positioning.

8. Legal procedures

Formalizing your florist business legally is essential to give credibility and trust to customers , as well as being a requirement to be able to work correctly without eventualities. The procedures and procedures to start a new business depend on each country, but in general terms , the following is required :

  • Register the company name.
  • Choose the legal structure or legal form.
  • Register in the system, chamber or body corresponding to the regulation of companies.
  • Process operating permits and licenses.
  • Register the business.

9. Investment and budget

All of the above steps on how to start a florist business are summarized here, in the initial investment and budget required to run it . This investment is determined by various factors such as the location and size of the premises, the conditioning, the stock of products, etc. For which we have the following approximations :

  • Conditioning and adaptation of the premises: 5,800 USD
  • Furniture and equipment: USD 3,500
  • Starting Inventory: $ 1,200

The above for an initial investment of approximately $ 10,500 .

Then we have the monthly fixed expenses :

  • Local rent: 700 USD
  • Services (Water, electricity, telephone and internet): 300 USD
  • Employee Salaries: 350 USD
  • Small supplies: 150 USD
  • Other expenses (advertising and maintenance): 200 USD

For an approximate total monthly overhead of $ 1,700 .

Is a florist profitable?

How to Start a Florist Business in South Africa

The global trends in the floriculture sector are very diverse, as the leading exporting countries are distributed throughout different parts of the globe . First of all we find the Netherlands, a leading producer with one of the most diverse flower markets. Then we have Latin America, considered a floral paradise thanks to its climatic conditions and its strong agricultural production. In this region, the greatest exponents are Colombia, which has positioned itself as the second world exporter of flowers, and Ecuador in third place. But you can also start a florist business in South africa.

The purpose of sharing this information is that you achieve a better understanding about the sector we are dealing with. In other words, a market with a global presence that sells very robust figures both internally and externally . And that despite the ups and downs of the different economies of the world, it has managed to prevail and enhance its growth. Also, let’s not forget that there are certain times of the year when the sale of flowers and roses skyrockets. And this is where the florist business becomes even more profitable. We refer to Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day , two of the most important seasons in the floriculture sector.

With these data we confirm the profitability of a florist business, which has many opportunities for success within its reach. And to finish ratifying it, like cherry on the cake we will talk about the profits . Determining an exact percentage is almost impossible, since all businesses have different objectives and priorities. However, it is possible to speak of an estimate, which ranges between 25% and 50% on each order sold . This is a changing number that can be higher or lower according to the stage of development in which the business is.

Online florist

Online florist business at home

In addition to setting up a florist business in a local, there is another option that is a little more viable to enter the sector and that is through an online florist. That is, marketing flowers and plants through an online store and working only with addresses . This is a very profitable and viable model, as it will save you the costs of renting the premises, services, among other fixed and investment costs.

To start an online florist you also need to carry out a business plan , create your brand image , select suppliers , acquire the stock of products and propose marketing strategies . The only thing different here is that your business will be online on an e-commerce website with an integrated payment system.

It is very important that in order to promote and publicize your online florist, you invest a percentage of your budget in marketing strategies and digital advertising . Such as content creation for social media and blogging, search engine marketing, email marketing, and video marketing. This way you will be able to connect with your target audience and know their tastes and preferences, as well as incentivize the purchase.

Florist franchises

Florist franchises to start

Finally, we find the florist franchises . These are a type of business in which you only have to invest to acquire the rights and products of a brand already positioned in the market . Here the investment risk is much lower and you have the backing of a company with a track record in the market, which will provide you with constant support during your entrepreneurship process . As well as continuous training, permanent advertising and exclusive benefits.

That is why many entrepreneurs when thinking about how to start a florist business decide on florist franchises . The cost to be an affiliate of an established florist depends on whether the type of business is low cost or premium . However, you can find franchises in the market from 5,000 USD onwards .

Final words

We have seen that despite the years and the economic impasses in the world, the flower sector is resilient and continues its exponential growth. This opens the doors for hundreds of entrepreneurs to get started in the business of selling flowers and plants.

Setting up a florist, whether with a local, an online store or a franchise, is a business idea that is well planned and executed and can be very profitable and successful. We hope this information is helpful and you can put it into practice to start your own flower shop.

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