Hello! Welcome to The Blog at Main Floral–the best (aka: only) blog from your favorite local flower shop in the NW Metro! We’re busy making lists, and clearing space, and gearing up for our first Valentine’s Day at the new store–and, we’re super excited about it all! (Okay, we know YOU may not be in V-Day mode yet, we don’t blame you. For a florist though, Valentine’s Day is the biggest day of the entire year–we can never be TOO prepared.) Since it is such a big day for flower ordering, we decided it’s time to put a bit of a PSA out there for you all. Today, we’re here to make sure you know that not all flower ordering is created equal; in fact, in many cases, it’s far from equal. Valentine’s Day isn’t a day you want to mess up for your loved one, and while you can’t control everything, you can control some things about the flowers you send (especially where you send them from). Today, we’re here to give you a little insight into the dirty backside of order gathering services out there–you know, the ones that you see advertised everywhere this time of year. (Okay, we really feel like this paragraph would have been better with some dramatic, maybe even scary sounding, music behind it. Like something you’d hear while watching a Dateline Investigation, or an episode of Law and Order…)
Anyway, if you’re like a bunch of other folks–you’ll probably be thinking about, or searching for, flowers to send within the next few weeks, and, in doing so, you’re going to come across a lot of junk. (Now, by junk, we don’t ever mean other local florists–we all have our delivery zones, and we support each other. By junk, we mean the order gathers/wire services. You know, the one-eight-hundred flower stuff, and pro flowers and those type of places. Trust us when we tell you that they pay A LOT of money to be at the top of your Google search. They know what they’re doing.) Now, while we can’t tell you what to do, we can, definitely, recommend highly against ordering from places like these. (Also, we are not saying this so you order from US. Order from any real, local, florist and we’ll be 100% happy. 🙂 )
So, why are we warning you? Wouldn’t your flowers just show up, either way, from someone? Probably. BUT, you will be spending more, for less; and the ‘more’ you’ll be spending will be, simply, going to service fees. When you order through the order gathers, you are, literally, paying a middle man to call some random place and order flowers for you. (And, not like in that ‘Oh, just let my personal assistant order for me while I brunch’, kinda way…more like in that, ‘Give me 15 bucks and I’ll give you half of my PB&J sandwich, on flat white bread’, kinda way.) And, so you know, the florist isn’t getting extra money–they are getting less money, to create what you saw online. The ‘middle man’ you ordered from is getting their money first–the florist gets whatever is left over. (If you got paid like this it would kinda make you want to cut corners a bit–wouldn’t it? We’re not saying the florist WILL cut corners–we’re just saying that the temptation could, possibly, be there…) And, before you get all offended because you might have ordered from these places before, and you were satisfied–just remember, your flowers may have been great, but you could have been getting a lot more for your money (while also not padding the pocket of some bigwig, CEO).
We found this perfect, real-life, example from a few years ago. This is, literally, what happens every time someone orders from a wire service…
On Nov. 21, 2009, an order (No. 81369331), for “Fine Fall Roses,” was placed on the ProFlowers Florist Express (same-day delivery) Web site.
The order was for the deluxe $59.99 version, to which was added a $14.99 service fee and a $4.99 same-day fee. The total the customer paid was $79.97. The order was relayed to Royer’s Flowers & Gifts for fulfillment through the Teleflora wire service from a member named From You Flowers, for $59.99.
ProFlowers/From You Flowers received $19.98 in fees, a 20 percent senders commission of $12 and, most likely, a rebate of $6, for a total of $37.98. With the rebate, that’s equal to 47 percent of the customer’s expenditure. Without the rebate (which the customer doesn’t get charged for), it’s still 40 percent of the customer’s expenditure.
Royer’s Flowers filled the order for full value ($59.99, less our $6.99 delivery fee, or $53), and we received $43.79 (73 percent) to do so. Worse, that’s only 55 percent of what the customer spent.
Teleflora took a 7 percent clearing fee of $4.20 and likely paid a $6 rebate to From You Flowers.
If a florist who undervalues orders had received the order and filled it for the net of $43.79, almost half (45 percent) of the customer’s $79.97 purchase price would have been wasted on fees and commissions. (Bottom line…the customer paid almost 80 bucks, for about a 40 dollar arrangement. Had they called Royer’s Flowers directly, they would have gotten SO much more bang for their buck.)
We recently sent flowers, via the internet, and honestly, it wasn’t easy. We were sending them to a young woman, in a small Montana town. The FIRST thing we did was go to www.Bloomnation.com, to see if any shops in the area were listed with them. (There wasn’t any.) Then, we Googled ‘florists near Lakeside, MT’ and a TON of results came up. (Having been there before–we knew there are like two shops in the general area. Our search results seemed flawed.) A place called Ava’s popped up, From You Flowers, Teleflora, Flower Shopping.com, 1.800 flowers, Pro Flowers and Troy’s Florist dominated our search results. As soon as we clicked on any of the sites, we saw the tell-tale 1.800 numbers pop up. No local florist has a 1.800 number. We decided to Google flower shops in the nearby, bigger town, and we called the first florist we could find with the correct, 406, area code. We asked them for help finding someone who could deliver to Lakeside; unsurprisingly, they were MORE than willing to help us, and give us other phone numbers to call. 🙂 (Shout out to Mum’s Flowers, btw. 🙂 Thank you, ladies!)
If you’re online, trying to find an actual, local, florist so you can get the most bang for your buck–here are some super, simple, tips for when you click on a webpage:
-Check Bloomnation first. (They are not, even a little bit, paying us to say this. They host our webpage and strictly work with local florists. The company was started to actually help local florists get away from the bigger corporations–we like ’em.)
-If you end up searching, and finding a place via Google…check the phone number. If it’s a 1.888, or 1.800 number–beware right away.
-Check for an address. They should have an actual address and they should pop on on Google Maps.
-Google the name of the place you found. You should see info about the business pop up immediately.
-If you’re still not sure–give ’em a call. Ask what the name of the shop you called is, and ask what their address is. You can always ask for directions to their place too. If they seem off–they probably are. No, actual, mom and pop shop would ever hesitate to give you that info–or, accidentally give you the wrong info.
Now, we know that nowadays, talking on the phone, to an actual, physical, person is really awful. However, we also know that all things old, are new again…so, this Valentine’s Day–do something old-fashioned, and CALL your local florist (just like grandma would). Talk to them. Tell them what your recipient loves, and let them have some fun getting creative with your order. Tell them your budget and they’ll work within it. Or, you could even stop into your local florist, and look, and talk, in person. (You don’t have to buy something that same day. You can set up an order to be delivered on the date of your choosing.) You can also look on your florists website, find what you kind of like, and then call your florist to see if they can change it a bit to make it what you LOVE. (If they’re anything like us–they’ll customize anything for you. 🙂 )
Bottom line, this Valentine’s Day make sure you are shopping local to save money, and assure maximum quality. (Check out a couple of Buzzfeed articles regarding 1-800 flower fails…they make us both laugh, and cringe. 2015. 2014.)
If you’d like to read more about this stuff, here are a few more resources to check out…
AND, if you just skimmed this whole blog, because it’s long–here’s the gist of it: When you don’t order locally, you have no idea who you’re actually ordering from. You are not getting the most bang for your buck. You are paying fees that are only there because you are, essentially, hiring a middle man to order flowers for you. The florist filling your order is also not getting the most bang for their buck–skimping on flowers, and using less-than-the-freshest-flowers, is always a temptation. And, if there is a problem with your order, you are stuck calling that 1.800 number again, and hoping that they can help you.
The best part about all of this? It is all, completely 100%, avoidable by just ordering from your local florist. It’s so easy. Valentine’s Day is a day to impress someone–don’t take chances. (And, if you do–don’t say we didn’t try to warn ya. 😉 )
Also…this is our, actual, list we’re working with this week. We weren’t kidding when we mentioned making lists… 🙂