Whether you send flowers quite frequently or perhaps only once every year or two, there will likely come a time when you will need to send a gift of flowers to someone located outside of your immediate area. That can be a rather daunting task…you know your local florists…do you call on them to handle this for you or do you try to take care of it yourself? Allow me to help you figure that out. I’ve been in this business for over 30 years, and I’ve seen the methods used to send flowers out of town change many times. But rest assured, it’s certainly not complicated, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Hear me out…but remember, this is based solely from my experiences in this industry and is my own personal opinion. Other florists may disagree…
I’ll spare you my opinions on how the nationally known wire services have changed throughout the years, but IMHO, you will be best served to stay clear of those anyway. With everything literally at your fingertips today via Google, you can call up a shop anywhere in the country, and now with free long distance on your cell phone, you won’t even have to pay for the call. More than likely you will find that most shops will have a website also. But it is more clear now more than ever…you will ALWAYS get the best service and the most for your money by ordering directly from a shop in the area where you would like something delivered. In short…cut out the middleman.
Use Google to search for florists in the city where you need flowers delivered. If it’s a large metro area, you might not to specify the zip code to narrow it down. So, if you were looking to send flowers to Opelika, AL, for example, enter this in Google: “florists in Opelika AL”. You will get a list of results showing flower shops in that area.
The first thing you need to do is SKIP any paid advertiser (see photo below). More often than not, these ad listings are not local florists at all…but rather flowers-by-wire services, many of which are known to be very unreliable.
Look for REAL local listings. If the town where you are searching has several florists in the area, you will likely see a map, showing their locations, and a list of the shops under the map (see photo below). Those are REAL shops…brick and mortar businesses. How to decide which one to use? Look at their star ratings…that’s a very good indicator of what to expect. Google reviews are quite dependable in providing you with information directly from other consumers like you…and the star rating is an average score based on the reviews by others. The higher the rating, then theoretically you should have a better experience with that business.
My friend and associate at Virginia’s Flowers in Opelika, AL has a very good rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 (see photo above). Please note, you can also see a local address and phone number, so you can rest assured that this is indeed a real local business.
Now, at this point, you have two options: you can call on the phone to place an order or you can click through to their website to place an order. Calling on the phone is the least convenient, but you can speak directly to the shop to get a better feeling of what to expect. Placing a call is certainly the best option if you have specific products or designs in mind, or if you need assistance in helping you choose what to order based on what their shop has in stock. On the flip side, placing an order on their website is convenient…you can place an order 24/7. You don’t have to speak to anyone …just take your time making your choice, click a few buttons, enter your information, and you are done. But please, let me suggest…if you do order from a website, make sure that you see a local physical address on the webpage that is located in the area to which you are sending flowers. There are lots of fake websites out there that may say that they deliver to Valley, Alabama, for example, but in reality, they are no where near the area. They are what we call in our industry “order gatherers”…they seem to be a local shop, but they aren’t…they end up being a middleman by taking your order, then sending it out via one of the national wire services. So…LOOK FOR THAT ADDRESS!
To illustrate…look at the screenshot of an actual webpage below. In large letters this business seems to claim that they make deliveries to Valley, AL. However, there is no local address…in fact, at the bottom of the webpage, it gives their address in Wisconsin (I blocked out the florist name and phone number to protect myself legally). So, if you order on this website, a florist in Wisconsin will take your order, then process it through a wire service, ultimately arriving at a shop in Valley. The catch? You’ll likely pay a hefty service fee or delivery fee, if not both. You’ll spend more, because you’ve gone through a middleman…an “order gatherer”. Go back to Google and find another shop…skip this one or any like it! A trustworthy florist website will have their local address prominent on their home page…look for it. If it’s not local…bail out!
Whether you call or order online, make sure you have the complete address of the recipient, complete with a contact phone number (not necessary for deliveries to a funeral home). Have your credit card ready to give your info at the conclusion of the order. And, if you know me, you’ve heard me say this hundreds of times…ORDER EARLY. If you need flowers Wednesday in Arlington, TX…call no later than Tuesday. Don’t wait…
I hope this helps you if you need to send flowers out of town. If you have any questions, find me on Facebook or call the House of Flowers…my phone AND my address is clearly given at the top of every page on my website!