Florist legal issues

The following is an outline of some of the areas that may be relevant to you.

What licences does a florist need?

Although selling flowers doesn't require a licence, there may be other aspects of your business that do such as:.

  • if you sell or deliver alcoholic drinks to accompany floral arrangements - like champagne or fine wines - you must make sure that you obtain the appropriate licences. Contact your local licensing authority for more information
  • If you intend to put display units or an advertising board on the pavement outside your shop, you may need to get clearance from the local authority highways department
  • If you plan to play background music in your shop you will need a Music Licence from PPL PRS Ltd. There is an annual fee for this which you can pay online on the PPL PRS website

Retailing

There is a wide range of legislation that applies to retail outlets, much of which protects the interests of the consumer. For example, the retail price of goods must be clearly displayed. You will be responsible for making sure that all goods or services are fit for their intended purpose and of satisfactory quality. There is also consumer legislation that covers online selling and off-premises selling - where you make a contract with someone away from your premises, for example if you visited a client at their home to show them different floral options for a wedding.

There's detailed guidance on your legal obligations to consumers, and on the requirements when selling online, on the Trading Standards Business Companion website. Information and guidance about general consumer protection and fair trading legislation is also available on the Gov.uk website.

Carrier bag charge

A 5 pence charge applies in England, but small and medium-sized businesses (with fewer than 250 full-time equivalent employees) are exempt. You can get detailed guidance from the gov.uk website.

Retailers in Wales and Scotland must charge customers at least 5 pence if they supply them with a single-use carrier bag. This applies to all types of single-use bag, whether they are made of plastic, paper or plant-based starch. There is detailed guidance on the Gov.Wales and Zero Waste Scotland websites.

In Northern Ireland retailers must charge customers a 5 pence levy on all bags with a retail price of less than 20 pence (including any bags that would otherwise be free of charge), whether they are single-use or reusable.

Health & Safety, fire

You must comply with workplace health and safety and fire safety legislation.

Employment legislation

Anyone employing staff must comply with employment legislation. Important areas of legislation include recruitment, employment contracts, pay, working hours, holidays, employment policies, sickness, maternity, paternity, discrimination, discipline, grievances, dismissals, redundancies and employment tribunals.

Insurance for a florist

Contact an insurer or insurance broker and explain exactly how your business will operate - they will then explain what insurance cover you must have by law, and other cover you should consider. This might include:

  • premises, premises contents and stock
  • goods in transit (on the way back from a supplier, or delivering to trade customers)
  • cold room storage malfunction
  • cash
  • business interruption
  • employers liability
  • public liability
  • motor insurance (for delivery vehicles)

It is worth noting that trade associations offer discounted specialist insurance as a benefit of membership. For example, the British Florist Association offers advantageous rates on shop and van insurance through its preferred partner.

When comparing insurance quotes, uncover the differences between policies by using an insurance comparison form.

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