Welcome to the second instalment of our series on freelancing in floristry. Our first instalment received a lot of interest (and many, many DM’s) and a lot of you are hungry for more information on how to build a freelancing career or drum up more work.
We love freelancing. The wealth of experience that you can gain from working with many different florists is second to none and freelancing in our industry doesn’t just stop at weddings. There is need for extra sets of hands in retail shops on busy days, market runs, late night bump outs (we know, we know – doesn’t sound like that much fun but the experience is necessary and a big tick if you can offer this service!), events, workshops and so much more.
If you’re just starting your flower journey, our number one piece of advice would be to freelance for as many florists as you can. There’s nothing better than hands on experience and many teachers is always better than one. It will help you develop your skills, understand processes and logistics and allows you to see exactly what type of floristry you want to work in.
Freelancing isn’t just for newbies. So many experienced florists we know who have thriving businesses still leave a few weekends free a year to freelance. It’s fun, you get to work with your flower friends and meet new people and it’s always good to stay up to date and refresh your skills. Many of the incredibly established businesses who have joined our directory have also opted ‘freelancer’ in the services they offer which we love to see! You can never be too experienced to freelance and you can never be too new. That’s the beauty – there is work for absolutely everybody.
But how do you go about finding freelancing work you’ve asked? What do you charge? When do you charge? Do you need a van? Do you charge for travel? What is the correct etiquette for sharing images? These are all questions we received in our DM’s after our last post.
So let’s break this down.
How do you find freelancing work?
Traditionally, word of mouth has been the go to method for booking freelancing jobs. This is why it’s so important to be professional, timely and a team player (our professional demeanour will also be the focus of our third instalment of this series). Our florist circle can provide many contacts but it can also be limited if you are wanting to really ramp up your freelancing gigs.
Technology in this area has been severely lacking in our industry and that is precisely why we created The FQ – to help us all find staff and book jobs. If you are wanting to expand your freelancing reach we suggest creating a listing with us on the directory and putting yourself out there to book jobs. If you have a business and want to also book freelancing gigs for those quiet weekends – you can create a listing for your business and simply select ‘freelancer’ as one of the services you offer and show up in all types of searches. Maximum reach! Keep an eye on our Jobs Board as well for upcoming jobs. Making use of the network we have created is a great step toward your freelancing career.
Reaching out to florists in your area is also a great way to find new leads. Sure, you might not hear back from everyone but it’s always worth a shot to introduce yourself. Having a portfolio of work and references is always a big tick as well. Try to include past work that is geared toward the florist you are contacting. Are they a retail florist? Include examples of bouquets and references referring to your customer service. Are they a wedding florist? Be sure to show events and installations you have worked on. Be intentional with your correspondence and let them know why you are the best fit for the job.
We don’t believe there is one answer to finding freelancing work – it’s a culmination of putting yourself out there and showing up in different streams – word of mouth, online and reaching out to people. Just like anything in life, it can be daunting but it will be so worth it.
How much do I charge?
This was asked. A LOT. And it’s almost like asking how long is a piece of string. Which is totally confusing – we get it! The award wages differ across the different States so it’s difficult to say exactly how much you can charge per hour but that gets us to our next point. You, as a freelancer, are contracting for the florist at hand. So it is up to you how much you would like to charge. Our biggest piece of advice would be to research the award wages in your State and apply a critical lens to your level of experience and then COMMUNICATE your hourly wage before you agree to work. That’s a big one. Communication is everything when entering working relationships and is the best way to get feedback. You might be overpriced for your years of experience and a good business owner will chat to you about this openly and effectively. Even better, you may be wildly under-priced and we know some wonderful florists who will let you know and pay you fairly. Please also take in to account that you should be paying yourself super and have public liability insurance as well which is so important when working for yourself and should be factored in to your hourly wage.
When and how do I charge?
This is when that all important communication comes back in to play. Please agree to all payment agreements before you enter the working relationship. As a rule of thumb, you would work the hours and then provide an itemised invoice with a breakdown of hours worked and any additional costs incurred after the event. If you used your van for the job (this does not usually include simply driving to the job, although some extenuating circumstances may require this – again if in doubt always ask before!) you would include your agreed upon price. Start times and end times are usually calculated from when you arrive and leave the event. Much like other jobs, we clock on when we start working not when we leave home. But again, sometimes when travelling long distances for a job this can differ and would be something you discuss prior to the event.
Can I share images from jobs I have freelanced on?
This is a tricky one and it’s riddled with differing views and opinions. We would highly recommend asking the business owner before posting anything. The work produced is their creative property and the responses will vary. We know many florists who will love you to share their work and be proud of what you have produced. You should always credit and tag them and make it known in your posts that you have freelanced rather than produced the job. There are other florists who do not appreciate their work being shared anywhere other than their own socials and website. And that is totally fair enough and up to the discretion of the business owner. This is where this all important communication comes in and trust us – the business owner will totally appreciate being asked, it’s a great sign of respect.
A few more courtesy points – don’t share photo’s before the event, always, always credit and tag, don’t add other people’s work to your website unless you have explicit permission AND you credit appropriately. If in doubt, it’s best to keep the work you share to just your jobs or behind the scenes posts that are also appropriately credited. It’s a tricky one but conducting yourself with complete transparency will maintain your professional relationships and get you invited back!
Freelancing in floristry might seem complicated with many nuances but if you treat it like you would any other business you will see it all comes down to the relationships you build and the work you produce. We’re excited to keep developing this series, let us know what else you would like us to cover.
The FQ xx