Decades ago, sending flowers across the country was a typical part of a florist’s everyday business. Most reputable florists were a member of at least one well known and trustworthy flowers-by-wire service, such as FTD or Teleflora. In days past, these services were florist owned and were administered by professionals from within the flower industry. However, for the past 20 years or more, those services have fallen into the hands of corporations and non-floral business executives. As such, the focus is now more on profits at any cost rather than giving the floral consumer an honest and dependable method of sending flowers. Although there are still many fine and reputable florists that remain members of such services, the trustworthiness of using any of the flowers-by-wire companies has decreased greatly. While we florists that were members back in the 70’s and 80’s had to go through a very strict vetting process that proved our professionalism in the floral industry, these days, simply applying and paying a fee is all that is required of member florists. In other words, being a member of FTD in the 80’s and prior used to be a sign that a florist was among the very best in the industry, now it means absolutely nothing other than the florist can provide you with the means to wire a flower across the country with very little guarantee that the recipient will receive a professionally designed product with excellent customer service behind it.
If you have the need to wire a flower to an area that is not local to you, it is our recommendation that you contact a florist in the intended delivery area directly. Google is your friend. Search for florists within the ZIP CODE where you would like to have flowers delivered. Look at the available florists in the area…pay particular attention to those with higher Google reviews and ratings…usually any business with 4 stars and higher are among the best in their area. Now, the question is…do you CALL or do you place an order ONLINE (assuming they have a website, and most florists do).
First, however, you need to detect whether the shop you find in a Google listing is actually a real florist or an “online order gatherer”. You want to find a REAL LOCAL FLORIST. Here are the tell tell signs…
A REAL FLORIST: will show their local address and phone number if not on every page of their website, in the very least it will be shown on their “About Us” page or any page that will give directions to their location. This will prove that they are a real local florist with an actually building.
AN ONLINE ORDER GATHERER: there are many of these…800Flowers, Proflowers, JustFlowers, FromYouFlowers, AvasFlowers, and many many more. They will deceive you by claiming that they are a florist located in the city to where you would like to send flowers, but they aren’t. These companies aren’t even florists…they are simply a call center that takes your order, imposes a hefty service charge, then attempts to pass the order to a florist in the local area where the delivery is to be made. I, for one, do not accept orders from these companies, as they are known to scam consumers out of their money. If you do not see a local address on a website, then the website you are visiting is likely an ORDER GATHERER. Pass on it. These companies will give you the absolute worst service, and if it comes to be that your order cannot be filled because they can’t find a florist that will accept their order, you won’t know until it’s too late…a birthday has already passed or a funeral has taken place…and you might find out a day too late. Then, to top it off, it’ll take you weeks to get a refund.
A special note about ProFlowers: if you order from ProFlowers, you will indeed be ordering directly from them…they ship flowers everywhere in the country via FedEx or other shipping companies. However, as with the others, they are not florists…they are a drop ship flower company. Your chosen gift will not be delivered assembled and arranged, but rather it will arrive in a box. The flowers would have to be removed, cut, then arranged by the recipient. Is this the impression you want to make? That’s no different than asking your girlfriend out to a nice dinner, taking her to the grocery store to pick out the ingredients for a gourmet meal, then taking her home to cook it.
So…once you find a Google listing for a REAL FLORIST, you need to contact them…either via website or by phone. Let me break it down…showing you the pros and cons of each:
Calling a shop directly – this will always be the safest and most dependable method of finding a shop to take your order. You can speak directly to an employee of that shop and will get a feeling of their professionalism through your conversation. To be completely sure of their authenticity, ask them where they are located and if they are a real florist…they’ll understand the need for you to ask such a question. If you feel uncomfortable and unsure that your order would be handled with proper care, call a different florist. When you call, have your credit card ready and all information needed for delivery…INCLUDING the recipient’s phone number, especially for residential deliveries, as most shops require a phone number for home delivery.
Pros: safest and most dependable method to send flowers.
Cons: takes more time, must call during the local shop’s business hours.
Placing an order online – this method is somewhat more tricky. Many shops (like us at the House of Flowers, for example) have websites that are independent of any flowers by wire service. Our site, for example, is filled with flower arrangements and products unique to our shop only…every design on every page on our site was created by our staff and photographed in our work room, and that is clearly stated on our site to prove our authenticity. However, many florists…GOOD florists…do still subscribe to the wire services and their websites are provided by them. You can usually tell when a florist website is one of those…the arrangements and designs are what we call “cookie cutter designs”…meaning that every member shop in that particular service (FTD, Teleflora, 800Flowers, etc) has the exact same photos that every other shop has on their site…nothing is unique. No one in that shop created a single design on their site. Unfortunately, the chances are small that you can find an honest wire service florist that will take your online order and create a design that is close to what you selected. You can do a Google search and find numerous stories complete with pictures of many shoppers that received terrible service after placing an online order on a florist site that is a member of the national services, as the product that was delivered was nothing close to what they ordered. My shop and many shops that I am familiar with that have independent sites will show products that, as I said earlier, are unique to their shop…AND the products and containers that are shown online are readily available making it easier for them/us to replicate the design you choose.
Pros: online ordering 24/7. No need to speak to anyone. Faster, more convenient.
Cons: Harder to detect deceitful websites and companies.
In short, if you have any doubts that you have chosen a dependable local florist website, place the order via phone. If you get lucky and you receive great service and a great product, then bookmark that florist and call on them again!
On behalf of reputable, honest, and hard working florists across the country, we apologize that the state of the flowers-by-wire industry has become so undependable. Finding shops that will care for your order does take a little detective work on your part, but once you receive good service from a shop that you contacted directly, you will have established a relationship that you can rely on for years to come. With the world at your fingertips via the world wide web, you can cut out all middlemen (the wire services and order gatherers) and place an order directly with a reputable shop in most any city in the nation.