How to Speak with Floral Design Clients
Floral design work is a service-based industry. Yes, by running a floral business, we create beautiful products—but in the event design world, service comes first. And with service comes tough client situations.
Whether someone has been in floral design for a year or more than 20 years, the stories shared when designers get together range from heartwarming to hair-raising. We’ve all experienced difficult situations, and it’s my hope that the tips below will help avoid, clear up, or settle any tough stuff with our clients.
Book your Ideal Client
This is the easiest and most straightforward way to avoid situations that put you in a tough spot. Booking a couple who you genuinely enjoy is a big part of the process of creating a business that works in your life. Weird vibes, red flags, or rudeness from the get-go is a good sign of a hard pass, no matter how desperate you are for clients.
Clear Communication is Key
In your contract, in your emails, in your initial meeting - lay the groundwork. Do you answer calls and texts at midnight? No? Well, better make it clear when you will answer clients. Do you meet with clients whenever they want? Multiple times before their wedding? Nope? Okay—that all needs to be very clearly stated in your contract. Cover yourself. It may seem “extra” or ridiculous, but providing the clearest groundwork from day one helps avoid disaster down the line.
Admit Your Mistakes
One thing I experience all too often is adults who are afraid to say “This is my mistake and I apologize.” Did you make an error? You’re human! Just say it clearly and confidently. You’ll be amazed how quickly this diffuses situations and makes them more manageable. We all make mistakes. We are human. So go easy on yourself and admit it when you flubbed.
I’ve found that most “tough client situations” end up falling back into the boundaries category. Remember that every bit of communication with your clients has a paper trail these days. So if you responded to an email at 9 p.m. on one occasion, they think 9 p.m. is fair game—and when you say it isn’t, they’ve got proof that it is. Honor and respect the boundaries you want in place, and your clients will too.
Cut Your Losses
When someone is absolutely bananas and off-the-wall insane, just let them go. Make sure you have a clause in your contract that allows this. Give them the deposit back if you must. At some point, your sanity has to be worth it. Let bygones be bygones—be proud of the work you create and remember that one single person shouldn’t have the ammo to bring down your career if you’ve got a legitimate contract and clear communication in place.
Remember what I mentioned at the beginning of this post: floral design work is a service-based industry. This means that when you sign a contract with a client, you are committing to serve them. Yes, set boundaries and communicate clearly, but also serve with what you have—creativity and flowers. Remember that this season for your client is probably quite stressful (you know, with all the planning and committing their lives to one another!) and they probably know very little about flowers and floral design. Maybe they ask you a silly question or think their budget deserves more flowers than it does. Give them grace and be informative. You've agreed to help, and help you shall!