Selling flowers from your backyard, small acreage or flower growers cooperative may sound like only a beautiful career dream to some, but many today live that dream, and the demand for small, local and sustainable flower growers is rapidly growing. If you are interested in selling flowers for profit, you will be tapping into a trend that's moving away from generic, chemically-created flowers sold in shops and toward green, heirloom, native and locally-produced flowers.
Establish your schedule. Perhaps you want to get a business loan and sell full time. Instead, you may prefer a seasonal, part-time income stream so you can avoid incurring debt. Perhaps you want something very part-time with no financing but plan to work toward full-time income.
Establish your niche. For example, one woman earns income year round growing native wildflowers for seed and manually producing flower seed gift cards for corporate gifts. Another grows flowers in her backyard spring through fall, then sells from a cart on a busy corner street. Others specialize in specific flowers such as sunflowers and lavender, holding festivals during blooming season to attract retail customers.
Learn how to better produce and harvest flowers for profit. Established conventional flower producers are already saturating the market, selling cheap products from poorly-paid workers; thus, you can’t compete. Your flower business needs to reach the organic or eco-friendly market; thus, look for even more improvements in your methods. Contact your local cooperative extension agent to see if any flower growing or organic gardening workshops are available. Some agents even put on local workshops for selling flowers for profit. Go to the website for the National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service, ATTRA, to see if any free materials are available on how to grow your chosen flower(s) organically or sustainably and how to harvest and prepare them for sale. It is one thing to cut flowers for your own kitchen table, but a flower delivery service to local restaurants means you've gotten all the "field heat" out of the flowers, properly slitted their stems and eliminated all insects. There are tried and proven ways to do this, depending on the season and flower type.
Write a business plan. When selling flowers for profit, you've entered the business world, not just the "field workers" world. When writing the part about promoting your business, add as many ways as possible how your business helps the local economy and environment. Maybe it is a haven for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds or you feed only with your own eco-friendly homemade compost. Maybe you allow an occasional discount to senior citizens or deliver to local restaurants. Emphasize the local angle to enhance your business.
Conduct a trial run before launching the business. This will help you build your confidence and work out all kinks before your reputation is on the line. Set out your first flower cart and tell your friends, neighbors and family they can each come and choose a free bouquet as long as they provide honest feedback. Note which items went first and which were left behind. Offer a free one-day flower u-cut for the first 10 callers who make an appointment. Have a wedding shop give away one free wedding flower arrangement workshop that you will offer.
Keep your original business plan on your computer so you can check and modify your approach according to experience gained and developing trends.