The Best Florist Vans – Top 6 Flower Delivery Vehicles
Do you have a keen eye for business and saw a gap in the mobile flower market? We have researched the best florist vans to make your flower shop profitable or to help you start one if you're still considering.
- How profitable is the UK flower market?
- The average profit margin in floristry
- Six vans we recommend for florists
- How to finance your van
- Do you need a refrigerated van?
- What's inside a florist van?
Is running a flower business profitable?
We all like that special bouquet that says "You're beautiful" or a stunning wedding arrangement. But how profitable is this market? The flower market is a very dynamic one.
According to IBIS World Reports, there is a blooming trend for online sales, which changed the dynamics of the market over the past five years, making it more difficult for brick-and-mortar florists. This is probably the main argument for which you'd want to invest in a VAN. Think of it like your mobile office.
IBIS looked at two different outlets: the Online Flower Retailers and the Florist industry.
The first "sells flowers and complementary products online, using a network of local florists or growers for delivery. The Florist industry specializes in retailing cut flowers, floral arrangements, and potted plants. Industry operators purchase these goods from domestic and international flower growers and wholesalers and then sell them to the general public. The florist industry revenue is expected to fall at a compound annual rate of 5% over the five years through 2022-23 to £953.9 million, due to the pandemic. But IBIS World expects the performance of specialist flower retailers to improve again over the next five years, at a moderate rate.
Why? Due to the specialist nature of flower retailing. Florists have the skills required for complex floral arrangements and catering weddings, funerals, and other functions.
A flower shop can be quite profitable, provided you are specialized and mobile. If you're not convinced this is for you, the British Florist Association has prepared an excellent take on what to expect when you choose floristry as a career and you can read more about it here.
If you're mobile, there is a lot of driving, hence, the importance of a reliable set of wheels. And a helping hand in case you need one.
What is the average profit margin for a florist?
The market size for online flower retailers only is £629m, whereas the market size for florists is £854m (data available for August 2022, by IBIS).
Running a florist can be a very profitable business with an average starter wage of £15,000 and a profit margin of up to 60% in some cases.
According to the Guardian, "there are more than 7,700 florist shops in the UK, many of them small and employing three or four people.
Unqualified florists usually receive only the minimum wage, now £4.20 an hour for most adults and £3.50 for anyone under 22. Above this, pay varies greatly according to region and type of business. Qualified florists can earn £25,000 a year as managers; freelancers in London get up to £12 an hour. Many are working part-time."
What are the best vans for florists?
Still looking for the perfect van? Choose something adaptable, with a high roof in case you make taller arrangements and the possibility to arrange the rear for peg systems, raking, or other specific needs. Temperature is important, so you might want a refrigerated model. Flowers last better at 10 degrees Celsius than at 20.
In case you already own a van that is not yet adapted for flower delivery, consider an upfit, to increase its space and versatility. An upfitted cargo van has customized components and accessories.
You can also start with an upfitted cargo truck (brands like Toyota, with their latest model - Proace), a truck cargo van, a van chipper truck, or if you're just transporting large loads need in the floristry, a flatbed truck. But eventually, a van is much better suited for floristry.
We listed below several options that we consider to be the best vans, so you may have some ideas about engine options, storage capability, payloads, seats, and inside space.
The main advantage is a high roof, plenty of storage space, and the possibility of adapting the interior to a more chilled environment. Adapted for the city, it has both a rear door and a sliding door, in case you need to park in a tight space.
New Renault Master for sale: prices start at 21,990+VAT.
Perfect for the city, useful in case you need an extra delivery van in peak periods, such as Valentine’s Day. If you count on taking it to the countryside, you'll surely benefit from the traction control and the heal start assist.
This model runs on diesel and has an engine of 1.5L.
New Vauxhall Combo for sale: prices start from £16,999+VAT.
For the green florists who prefer electrical cars, this option is top. Ultra connected, you'll love all the tech specifications that will help you transform your flower van into a mobile office: Bluetooth, telematics system, trip computer. Compared to other models, this compact van has a low floor and dual sliding doors, which makes it easy for loading and unloading flower arrangements.
New Nissan E-NV200 for sale: prices start at 24,990+VAT.
The Transit has a payload of 1420 kg. It’s also high enough to handle larger and taller floral arrangements. It can be easily configured. It Runs on Diesel and has a 2.0L engine.
Used Ford Transit for sale: Prices start at 28,890+VAT.
The New Renault Kangoo is comfortable, stylish, and efficient to provide the best driving experience. The latest model is available in three diesel engines, one petrol, and all-electric. It has a larger rear load space but also a significantly larger cabin. The new model will be available in two lengths, offering a useful volume of 3.3m³ to 3.9m³ in the standard van and from 4.2 m³ to 4.9 m³ in the longer van.
Prices are available on demand.
The new Citroën Relay van is the largest vehicle in the Citroen commercial range. It has tremendous amounts of load volume (up to 1,870 kg), which varies depending on the model, from a handy 8 cubic meters in the L1H1 version right up to 17 cubic meters in the longest and tallest L4H3 model. Aside from an excellent carrying capacity, the Relay's main attribute is its reliability.
New Citroen Rely for sale: Prices start at 22,990+VAT.
Are you looking for solutions to finance your floristry van? Below you'll find some options.
Finance Lease: you have all the benefits of ownership, you get your van for less and at the end of the contract you can simply upgrade again to a newer vehicle. The biggest advantage of leasing over buying is that it is tax-deductible and you can claim back your VAT. We recommend leasing in case you wish to upgrade to a new model. Not practical for those who have customized their van.
Van Hire Purchase: this financial package allows you to own the vehicle at the end of the agreement. The cost will be spread over up to 60 months, but a minimum deposit will be required. VAT-registered companies will be able to reclaim the deposit. One of the cons is the higher interest rate.
Business Contract Hire: Similar to hiring a car but for a longer period, van contract hire allows you to hire a van for an agreed period, with a mileage limit and a fixed monthly amount to pay. This is determined by the contract length, the car value, etc. At the end of the contract, you simply return it to the company. This is a great option for florists who only need vans during peak seasonal periods (like Valentine's Day) for express deliveries.
Lease Purchase: low monthly fees plus one final payment to complete the total amount payable. It’s an affordable method to pay for a van, you can adjust the monthly fees and the balloon payment accordingly to your budget. This package is restricted to a 4-year term.
In the UK, you can get a plug-in grant, which is a discount on the price of some brand new low-emission vehicles through a grant the government gives to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers. The dealer will include the value of the grant in the vehicle's price. Read more about it in our article - Government grants for electric vans.
What should you consider when choosing refrigerated vans?
Do you consider buying one? Maybe it is enough to just rent a refrigerated van or a refrigerated truck body. Investing in a refrigerated van is a good idea if you need to transport top flower breeds over long distances or if you have a pop-up van. Of course, it varies with the weather conditions-maybe it will be less necessary during wintertime. Anyway, here are a couple of criteria to think about:
Running costs: in times of recession, you need to think smart. Refrigerated vans come with high maintenance costs, depending on the size and the cargo. Ford and Mercedes Sprinter are two popular brands, but check if they are also cost-efficient.
Temperature regulators: the cargo area can be operated at two or more temperature areas, depending on your needs.
Cargo size: again, it depends on how you organized your delivery system. Small-sized or medium-sized vans are better for the city but refrigerated trucks serve long-distance deliveries.
Fuel economy: the freezers have to maintain strict temperature ranges, which consume a lot of fuel, especially if you need to travel long distances. On average, a regular-sized refrigerated van will do a little over 35-38 MPG. It can vary depending on the cargo load, traffic, and road conditions.
What is needed inside a florist’s work van used for delivering flowers locally?
There is some specific equipment a florist needs in the van, apart from gloves and aprons.
A peg system, to maintain stability during transport, is useful for large floral arrangements or wedding bouquets.
Racks, if you need to arrange the longer flowers horizontally for better stability.
You only need a partition if you do not carry heavy loads and if you are opting for a refrigerated van or truck.
Are you ready to go on a floral adventure and need more information on the perfect van? Check out our website and drop us an email or give us a call, we're here for you with a large stock of vans!
Need more suggestions for your business van? You may want to check our list of van business ideas and start making money with your van.