Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: Session 36

expert panel sophisticated floral designs 1381816_565648723500382_1377923993_n                                                                                                                                                              image via Sophisticated Floral

 The Question:        

I’d love to start offering more items as rentals. I dabble in it a little bit with a few things like altar stands and a birch chuppah, but I don’t tend to rent centerpiece containers and the like. Even the big stuff I have is rented out pretty sporadically. 

How much rental inventory do you tend to keep around, how do you keep track of it, and (if this isn’t asking too much) can you give me a general idea of how it’s priced? For instance, is the cost of the item recovered up front or not until it’s been used a few times? I haven’t been able to find good information on an industry standard regarding the rental aspect of this business. What is your best piece of advice on this topic?

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The Answers:

Having nice inventory can really help your studio grow but your closets better be able to grow also. We have acquired so much stuff over the years that we are always adding on. I also don’t have an inventory system for endless piles of stuff because we are just not that big…big in space or big in supplies. Every spare nook and cranny is holding some type of prop and in order to have inventory we would need to have it lined up in a big warehouse or at least in the same room. Five of something in the basement, six of something in the bedroom and 12 of something in the barn is rather hard to inventory. As our studio grows we work diligently to get all like items in the same place. Soon our flower shop will be taking over the entire family garage as an additional prop space. I currently already have 1/4 of the garage and a prop shed that is full to the brim.

I do not charge additional for vases or containers that have flowers attached to them. I include the use of the container in the price of my design and I price those designs accordingly. I also charge a delivery fee and a clean up fee. If anyone should ever questions that fee I remind them that in addition to the labor and delivery that they are paying for they also got all of my vases and props at no additional charge. Items that are straight up props without flowers have a flat rate rental fee on them.

I have heard many people say that you should recoup your cost for a prop fully the first time but I consider each situation. I always say if you build it they will come. For many years I did not have a chuppah and I said we didn’t need one because we didn’t have any clients requesting chuppahs. Guess what? When we built that first chuppah, photographed it and put it on the internet it became one of our biggest sellers. If you build it they will come!!!

-Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

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Honestly, I think I am not a good reference for rentals. Reason for that is that I get bored to work all the time on the same containers, so I tend to have only a few basic items (jars, simple glass vases, …) for rent and then buy specific containers for every project I work on. The cost of all my rental items is recovered with one single rental. Even if this might seem expensive, my customers are generally happy with this (what would they do with 50 jars at the end of the wedding anyway?!).

-Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)

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December is an especially hectic month for members of the Expert Panel and, so, I am especially grateful to Holly and Laetitia for answering today’s question. The Expert Panel will take a short break over the holidays and return in 2014 with new discussions. Feel free to email your questions during the holidays to botanicalbrouhaha@gmail.com.

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And here are a few goodies from Pixies Petals to close out today’s post…

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Candice Benjamin Photography

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Ashley Photographer

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Dia Meraz Photography

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Have a great Wednesday!

One thought on “Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: Session 36

  1. Nikki S

    Thanks for the advice Holly and Laetitia! This is a question I’m wondering about too. Other florists out there, what do you do? Is there an industry standard?

    Reply

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