If you have been following along you will know today is the day we address the fees associated with delivery, set up and breakdown. I call set up labor and delivery (mom of 7, hence my terminology for what others call set up).

Event Set Up Pricing

One of the biggest misconceptions in the industry is that the labor and delivery/set up of a wedding or the clean up of a wedding is included in the cost of the flowers or the designs. I am not quite sure how this happened but the fees associated with the purchase of each design do not cover the cost of installing them. It is standard in the industry to charge a delivery and set up fee for installation of event work. This fee is an additional line item and is typically at least 20 percent of the bottom line or a set minimum fee. If you are charging less than this, you are not charging enough for your time. If you are charging more than this, you are amazing!! To ensure that the 20 percent covers your operating costs you need to know your cost of doing business for the day of an event and for clean up on Monday.  You need to know how much your day is worth to you. How much is your Saturday or Sunday worth? You need to justify missing a day with family, a day most people relax and have together. How much does it cost you to do business? How much are rental vehicles or the use of your company vans? How much will your staffing cost? The line item price per design doesn’t cover the work being done the day of the event and we need to be paid separately for installations. Please note clients are welcome to pick up their designs if they do not want to pay for installation. Clients need to pay a labor fee for the preparation of hard goods, like cleaning glass, or prepping candles, sorting inventory or prepping the trucks with additional supplies like trash bags, brooms, dustpans and extra tools and ladders. This fee needs to cover the time it will take to load the trucks, including boxing up the designs and preparing them for a safe arrival, installing the designs at the event, going over them again to make sure they were not damaged in transit, having extra flowers on hand, having plenty of staff or the business owners onsite and available for the client, and for clean up staff on Monday. The disposal of flowers is costly and cleaning inventory and returning it to the shelves can take an entire day. Owners should also have a minimum delivery fee, this amount should be no less than their cost of doing business for the day of an event which will ensure that you do not lose money on installation or that the percentage rate does not cover your costs on a smaller event. How much does it cost you to do an install on an event? For instance in our studio most of our events require at least 3 people working all day with the use of at least two vans. To come up with our minimum delivery fee we calculate the cost of each designer by a standard hourly wage of at least $25.00 multiplied by 8 hours. In all honesty you should be increasing this wage to make a profit off of your staff. We are supposed to be making money off of our experienced team or our personal experience. This is what plumbers, electricians, restaurants and all service providers do. When this is discussed with a client they realize that staff or owners need to be paid for a full day’s work. It’s wrong to assume we or our staff should give up a Saturday for less than a full day’s wage. Most event florists tend to minimize the amount of time that goes into a load in and we need to be honest with our clients and ourselves about what exactly goes into a delivery and that horrid clean up. It typically takes from sunup to sundown to make most events happen. In our studio, the minimum labor and delivery fee is 20 percent or a minimum of $850.00. These fees are for a standard wedding delivery and in all honesty I believe we will need to increase these rates in the near future.

It is standard in the industry to charge additional delivery and set up fees if you or your team needs to stay on site during the ceremony in order to transition the room. In these instances, we increase our labor charge to at least 25 percent. However, the final fee is always assessed by evaluating the cost of the install. We also evaluate the ease in which an event can be installed or the particular policies of a venue. Some locations are infinitely harder to work at and more time consuming. In these cases, charging more is acceptable. You must know what the installation will cost you, so that you can assess the fees you need to charge. Giving this service away for free can destroy your company and leave you feeling broken, frustrated and in the rears. I have worked with thousands of designers over the years and this is an area where great change needs to happen. Sit down quietly and do the math. You will be surprised and even saddened to see how much money you may have lost through the years. Also if you are a one man band, don’t give yourself away for free. You should be preparing your business for growth and you should always pay to have another designer with you or at the very least an assistant. This is how you divert emergencies and ensure a successful event. I have an extra body on every event just in case something is forgotten or broken. We never ever go out solo. This is something I used to do in my early stages of business and it is just too much of a risk. Explain that to the client and they will be grateful you are properly watching over their event.

In addition floral designers do not touch, prepare, install, open or clean items unless we were paid to do so. In other words we are not handling DIY projects without being paid for this service.  

Breakdown/ Strike or Extension of The Event

We charge an additional fee of five percent or a minimum of $350.00 to clean up an event at the end of the evening. Once again our minimum fee was based on what it would actually cost to get someone to do that type of work that late at night. This fee covers the time associated with cleaning up the venue. This fee does not cover putting away all of the rentals, or disposal of flowers, that is calculated in the overall labor and delivery.

It is right and absolutely necessary for us to charge an additional fee if the event is extended. All other vendors are paid if the event is extended. This fee should be included in our contracts. Our contract clearly states that we will bill at the rate of $150.00 per hour for any time over the scheduled breakdown. If we are not paid that fee upon arrival we will begin removing the floral at the initially agreed upon time.

Photo by Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu



  • jess Says: (11.13.2017 | 04:35)

    Very much enjoying this discussion Holly! thank you for bringing it to the table. Delivery/installation is definitely the most difficult part for me, I often get a lot of pushback from prospective clients. It is hard to actually explain why it costs what it costs. It feels strange to go into those types of details sometimes, but I am trying to stay strong and keep charging enough. I must admit that I have often shot myself in the foot on this. I recently had a wonderful conversation with a customer who really gets it all, and after discussing a particularly difficult recent event she asked “did I feel resentful while I was spending the day delivering and setting it up” and when I said yes, actually I did, she said ” then you didn’t charge enough.” And she was so right. I’ve started to now look at the amount I put in for the delivery and set up and check in with my gut- how will I feel about doing that set up? if i feel anything less than happy I’m not charging enough and need to adjust. Always learning!

    • chappleadmin Says: (11.13.2017 | 06:00)

      Love your comments here and I think your plan is a really smart one. I love the question your client posed to you, it makes total sense. I will be asking myself this question each time I write up a contract.

  • Mandy Says: (11.18.2017 | 03:12)

    This is so very eye opening! Delivery & set up charges have never been explained or shared with me when I started my business. When I eventually heard other florists charge 20% of the total floral I was shocked! That seems like so much! I would blow my clients budget out of the water…. this sounds so scary to me but I appreciate knowing this should be standard.
    Question about clean up as I have someone else other than me go to strike; do you pay that person the fee you charge? For example, if you charge $300 for clean up does the employee get $300?

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