Roses are red, Violets are blue, Trellis Legal can help florists be protected too!
Okay, cheesy, we know. But ‘tis the season, right? In honor of our favorite part of Valentine’s Day (maybe tied with chocolate), we’re highlighting floral businesses this month!
We work with some wonderful clients in the floral industry – growers like flower farms and plant nurseries, suppliers at various levels, and some of the most brilliant floral designers and flower shops in Pennsylvania. If you have a flower business (or really work with any kind of plants and plant sales), there are a few considerations and potential legal obligations you’ll want to know about and some ways you can make sure you’re best protecting yourself and your growing business (pun intended). Below are just a few.
Written contracts help those involved in a business transaction by outlining how the relationship is going to work and each business/person’s rights and requirements. When it comes to a floral business, there are a bunch of different types of contracts that might be helpful. Here are just a few:
A floral event contract: If you’re a florist preparing floral design for an event, such as a wedding, you’ll want a contract between your floral business and your client. This would include important terms around how they’ll be set up, how you will be paid for the flowers, what happens if you can’t get a specific type due to weather or the nature of floral products, cancellation conditions and other terms. (We have a very useful, customizable template for sale in our template library for this very scenario! )
Invoice & Order Terms: If you have a flower shop, you may also want specific purchase order/invoicing terms for one-time customers separate from your events business. For those last-minute Valentine’s orders, consider a written invoice with specific terms around payment, your discretion to make substitutions, and language governing pick-up and/or delivery to help everyone understand the process and expectations.
Wholesale order terms: If you are a grower, wholesale terms can detail how retailers can order and purchase your flowers, where they can sell them, and other considerations regarding how they will be sold. We have wholesale terms for sale in our DIY Documents library, or check out our resource about some terms to include in these as well.
CSA terms: Regular fresh bouquet deliveries? Sign us up! We’re seeing more and more flower CSA opportunities, like flower subscription services. Whether you’re providing flowers or other farm-fresh products, it’s a good idea to have customers agree to specific written terms around pick-up and delivery, cancellation, making payment, and other policies through CSA terms. (Read a few, or purchase a template here)
And more! Talk to an attorney for your specific floral business and where you could benefit from a written contract or clear terms.
If you’re ready to start turning your floral passion into a business, you will likely want to start an entity for the business, such as an LLC (read our whole separate blog about this), so that you separate your business liability from yourself. If you aren’t ready to start with an entity, and you’re using a name other than your own, you’ll still need to file a fictitious name (also known as a DBA ‘doing business as’) in PA.
Additionally, if you’re growing your own flowers and own your land, there are strategic ways to organize your business to separate your land ownership from your floral business. Read our blog post for more about separating land and liability.
3. PA Law
Pennsylvania law may come into play when you’re growing, cultivating, and selling plants like flowers, or if you’re bringing others onto your property to do the picking themselves (read our blog posts about on-site liability and u-pick liability.)
Importantly, Pennsylvania requires different types of certifications for some growers and sellers of certain types of plants, including some flowers. Additionally, if you intend to sell your plants wholesale or that are not cut flowers (meaning still growing plants) or are selling seeds specifically, you may be required to comply with certain inspection requirements and additional licensure. Which type of certification you need, or if you need any at all, will depend on your product type, your sales, and the requirements surrounding the certifications. Work with an attorney to understand your specific business and if there is any registration or license you need for your type of sale. For more information, the PA Dept of Agriculture has an introductory page around this.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is meant for informational purposes only and does not constitute specific legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Readers should discuss their specific situation and considerations with an attorney.