Order Gatherers

You’ve heard this before but it hits a lot of florists this time of year. Since last year in the Saint Louis area we have lost 4 or more florists. Some are closing their doors after 30, 40, and others 50 years in this industry.

Some due to illness, death and some because the next generation just doesn’t want to carry the torch for whatever reason.  It’s not that we don’t have a website or that we are not up on technology. Its really about the order gatherers cutting into our profits.

When FTD started out it was solely florists, when the company changed hands it went to a company that did not know this industry to keep the business integrity going.  Now it’s a big corporation.

There are a lot of order gatherers out there and they usually sell their flowers cheap or they prefer to say “low prices”.  For example, you order a $39.99 arrangement, depending who you order it through the money is cut down to $29.99 when the florist gets it. Then the final payment to the florist is $21.89.

You complain that the order is not to value, now you know why. Another person orders a $69.99 arrangement through an order gatherer. The order gatherer takes $25 off the top and sends the florist an order for $44.99. The recipe is now for a deluxe arrangement with 5 red roses, 5 red carnations and 3 leatherleaf. The customer immediately complains that the order is not filled to value and wants a refund. He’s right but doesn’t know why. Again take 27% off the $44.99 and I get paid $32.84.

In each of these cases the local florist gets cut out of the profit.  In wach of these cases had the customer ordered straight from the local florist you would get full value plus personal attention.  As florists dealing with order gatherers we are given a recipe to follow that is based on price per stem. As individual florists we charge that way anyway, but with order gatherers, they are not concerned about my pricing just theirs.

I have to do 70-100 orders a month just to make money with order gatherers. You as the public can turn that around for all of the florists and come straight to us. Sure the ads look good but is it really worth the hassle when you can pick up the phone or order through our individual websites and become regular customers getting full value for your arrangements, baskets, or whatever you order.

We as florists end up shutting our doors because you won’t come see us or you go to the grocery stores because they are there and  convenient when there is a mom and pop florist or one with current technology wanting your business and you look the other way.

Some go the cheap route, but even we as florists can service you also. In the off holiday portions I run a $19.99 sale on roses cash and carry. Others do a $12.99 cash and carry.  During the holidays expect to pay more. Saint Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day are coming up. Visit your local florist, please.

If you have vases that you no longer want or need take them to a florist near you and most will take them.  Make sure they are not chipped or broken when you do take them to a floral shop. Thank you. Feel free to comment.

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I am a 27 year Retired US Army Veteran who works hard in the floral industry to provide quality floral arrangements, gift baskets, silk floral, wedding flowers for all who enjoy getting treated special on a regular basis. I've been doing flowers for over 20 years and I love what I do.

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