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  • Weddings: More Profit or More Trash?
    By Leroy Miller, AIFD

    Many articles have been written about properly charging for wedding and party consultations, labor, delivery, setup, prop rentals and other add-on services provided by florists. These are important issues.

    Whether or not you, as a floral retailer, charge, do not charge or build the costs of these services into the products you provide is a decision you should make after seeking the advice of your accountant. Each shop, each wedding, each client is different and may require different policies.

    One issue seems to remain constant throughout all the events we service. That issue is the need for an efficient way to procure and use product.

    How many times have we run out of containers before all the centerpieces are finished? What do we do with the buckets of flowers left over after we've finished that big wedding?

    Recently, while working in a retail flower shop, I came upon one florist's solution for ordering just what is needed. She uses an accountant's ruled spreadsheet as a table for ordering the flowers needed to fill the order and pricing the items ordered. (A simple spreadsheet program on your computer can also easily be used for this.)

    Along the left side of the table, she lists the items sold. For example, the bride's bouquet, alter arrangements, table centerpieces and loose stem flowers for the cake and tray garnishes. Across the top, the different types and colors of flowers and containers needed for the function are listed, along with the retail price.

    Then the number of flowers needed and the total price for each item is noted in the column under the flower. When the table is complete, the rows and columns are totaled.

    The totals show how many of each flower variety is needed, as well as the retail price of materials for each item (not including labor).

    At this point, careful attention is paid to the quantities of flowers needed, such as 35 bridal white roses and 35 stephanotis. Normally, these flowers must be purchased in lots of 25. The extra roses can easily be used in the shop for daily work. The stephanotis, however, are likely to end up in the trash.

    Two alternatives exist for this situation. Either find a place for them in the wedding flowers (adding to the price of the item they are used in), or base the price of each flower on only the number used instead of the total number of flowers purchased.

    For example: If the stephanotis cost $25 for a bag of 25, you need 2 bags at $50 total. But you're only using 35, so figure the price at $50 for 35 blooms instead of $50 for 50.

    This table also becomes a great worksheet for the designers. They can quickly see how many of each flower type is needed in each item.

    This format could also be used for other tasks. A shop that does many events might use it to keep track of props, containers, votive holders and more. Or it might be used to determine which staff members are needed at what time and in what location.

    No matter how you do it, the bottom line is this: To make money on weddings or special events, purchasing must be carefully planned and managed. Buying too little to fill the order creates a problem. Buying too much eats up profits.

     

     

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