Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 61

The Question:

I am wondering how you make money off vase rentals?  I have heard that some companies just take a deposit check for the cost of the vase and then return the check once the vases are returned.  I’ve also heard that some companies charge a fee plus a deposit.  The fee is the profit that they make off the rentals.  I don’t want to overcharge clients, but I would like to have the additional income if possible.

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The Answers:

Charging money for renting the vases is normal. First you need to buy them, and then every time they are used, you need to clean them and store them which is a lot of labour! At Florésie, when we prepare quotes, we include the price of the rental for each element of the project. In the contract, we specify that the vases are rented and remain Florésie’s property, and that if missing or broken, they will be additionally charged after the wedding. Until now, we never had a problem of missing or broken vases, as if making people pay attention to their value was sufficient to make them careful when handling them 🙂

Laetitia Mayor (Florésie)

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That all sounds too complicated for me. I charge a set fee for my vase rentals. I keep a credit card on file should any vases disappear or get broken. I use Square when I need to run a credit card, setting up an account with Square is easy and doesn’t cost a penny except a fee when the credit card is used. This approach offers the least amount of time and paperwork needed to process rentals.

Alicia Schwede (Bella Fiori and Flirty Fleurs)

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We’ve tried several formulas for vase rentals. At the moment, our vase rental fee is built into the total cost of the centerpiece. That rental fee varies by the piece, depending on how much it cost to purchase initially and how much it costs to store. Then we take a security deposit check prior to the event that we hold until after the event when all our rentals are accounted for and we see if there is any damage. The client signs an agreement that says we get to cash that check if there are issues with our rentals getting back safe and sound.

Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)

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Our studio only charges a rental fee on items that do not have flowers associated with them. Otherwise the price of the vessel or rental item is accounted for in the cost of the design. We do not break out an additional rental fee on every glass vase but votives for instance are an additional fee. We also charge an appropriate labor and delivery fee and a separate fee for breakdown. When clients question us about our labor and delivery or clean up of an event, I often remind them that other shops charge rental fees also.  Writing contracts is already complicated enough, I know the value of our rentals and it is accounted for in the design.

Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

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I charge a fee for my rentals and have a written agreement that any losses or damages will be paid for. It takes time to source beautiful vessels & many of mine are antique (see image below) .. that compliment my style; therefore, I need to charge.

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Jo Rodwell (Jo Flowers)

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I have a very simple approach to this. If you are buying wedding or event flowers from me then you can borrow my vases at no extra charge. I use the word ‘hire’ in my quotation rather than ‘borrow’ as it is more professional but there is no cost involved. I do rent out candelabras at a charge as I supply candles and they need to be cleaned after use. I do not rent out items as stand alone products without selling flowers to go with them. There is definitely money to be made from just rentals but I have enough going on in my business without this extra hassle.

Nick Priestly (Mood Flowers)

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Flowers: Expert Panel member Elisabeth Zemetis of Blush Floral Design

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