Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 83

Question:

Do you have a minimum dollar amount for wedding orders? If so, how did you decide on the minimum amount? How has setting the minimum affected your business?

Love 'n Feesh Flowers

Love ‘n Fresh Flowers

Answers:

Your minimum sets the tone for what kind of business you are setting up.

The lower the minimum, possibly the more work will come your way – but the profit margin will not be enough unless you go for volume. This sets you up for being very busy, like a hamster in a wheel.  Low price point business is not the way to go.  It hurts the industry.

Be prepared to set a minimum that is ideal – what you want.  You can always come down a little to meet the need of a potentially good customer who is on a budget. You will lose some customers that way…  but a low end customer can be some of the most demanding – of your time.

If you are a seasoned wedding designer – the minimum should be no less than $5000 (this is not for event companies with rentals incl. – but for flowers alone). The general mantra for a floral designer looking for sanity is ‘work less, make more’. This is possible if you take time to do a nice size wedding with a good profit margin built into it. You don’t need to do 5+ weddings per weekend, you can do ONE or at most TWO weddings and make as much profit as doing more.

The only exception to this rule is – pick up weddings, the no fuss small wedding – bouquets and flowers to wear…  a well-priced one. These are the easiest weddings to do, since bouquets and flowers to wear can be made early in the week and refrigerated to its benefit.

Hitomi Gilliam (Design358)

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We have a $4,500 dollar minimum within our county. I live an hour outside of Washington DC. To travel to DC or surrounding areas we charge a minimum of $6,000. Setting boundaries and minimums totally defined our business and made it easy to have a base line price that we typically charge per design. This really raised the bar for our studio and all of a sudden we were doing the types of weddings we wanted to be doing, weddings we were proud of. Recently our circumstances changed when my husband started farming for our studio. Because of this we have a ‘From the Garden’ package that does not require a minimum but this is not for full service wedding work. Flowers must be picked up and we do not offer in person consultations for our ‘From the Garden’ packages.

Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

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I currently have a minimum of $4,000 for weddings. I’ve worked as a florist for 14 years, and my studio is 6 years old. When I opened, I had no minimum, and I spent an enormous amount of time guiding clients. I found it exhausting, and costly- it was difficult for me to produce beautiful, varied work for the budgets that I was attracting. I’d end up adding more to the designs to make them beautiful…and of course, that ate into my profits! I also spent quite a bit of time fielding new inquiries. I don’t have office staff, so I found the flood of emails overwhelming.

Even though it felt awkward at the time, I decided at year 2 to institute a minimum of $3,000. This helped greatly. The email influx slowed, and I had more time to focus on the level of work I wanted to put out into the world.

Weddings in my area tend to have 175-250 guests, 6-10 bridesmaids, and ceremony flowers, etc, so $3,000 is quickly eaten up! At year 3, I increased my minimum to $4,000.00.

I still get inquires for smaller weddings and parties, and I do love them- provided the client allows me a certain amount of creative freedom. This is the only way I can produce small events and remain profitable.

Susan McLeary (Passionflower)

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My minimum spend is $3600 CDN, although I’m flexible if it’s not a prime wedding date or if the client has a vision and small enough wedding that I think I can make it work.

The minimum has been something that has evolved as my business has grown and as my time has become valuable. I started out with no minimum but it’s gone up over time.

It’s really helped me as a way to communicate with a client the value of what I do at the outset, rather than spending lots of time doing a consult for a large wedding only to learn that they have a $2000 budget to spend on flowers.

Clare Day (Clare Day Flowers)

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We do have a minimum. I considered what price point I was comfortable with for an “average” wedding (i.e., add up what it would cost for 1 bridal, 4 bridesmaids, 5 boutonnieres, 2 corsages, a ceremony focal, 10 centerpieces, 5 cocktail pieces, and a large arrangement for the place card table/bar/etc at the prices you would like to charge for those items) and then made that the minimum. It has helped tremendously to weed out the “price shoppers” from our client pool. When I meet with potential clients now, both I and they already know they are comfortable spending enough to make it do-able and it makes the rest of the process so much more enjoyable and efficient.

Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)

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