Monday, 25 February 2013

You're charging me

for delivery to Shedfield? I was asked this morning. "Yes" I replied. I then got asked why I was charging the customer spending £20 on flowers,  £3.50 to deliver out to Shedfield.  This was the same customer that had just told me he'd been and bought himself a new 50 something inched TV for just under £1000. He couldn't fit the TV in his car but was happy to pay the company another £19.99 to deliver it for him, but he wasn't happy to pay me just £3.50 to deliver a £20 order for him. Explained to him that it would take my driver roughly 30 minutes (traffic depending) to get out to the address and back. I have to pay my driver to deliver the flowers the minimum wage of £6.19 per hour so already for him to go out there it would have cost me £3.09. Then we need to add on fuel. Let's face it petrol is an astronomical price these days, and to get from the shop to the address in question would have cost roughly £3.50 (give or take a few pence - ooh the cost of the delivery charge itself without anything else). I then had to explain about Car Tax, Car Insurance, Regular servicing of the vehicle, general wear and tear, among other  motoring costs. These all factored into why I had to charge him a minimal amount of money to get the flowers delivered for him. He still didn't seem to understand, but reluctantly paid me for it. 

This then got me on a mission to see what other shops would have charged, and I was genuinely shocked at the results I ended up with.  I contacted 10 other shops in the area that had Shedfield as a delivery area (9 were a lot closer than I am - 1 was half a mile further away than I am).  I also looked into Interflora, eflorist and Flowers Direct to see what their prices would come out at.  From the local shops NOT one of them was willing to deliver a handtied in water for only £20 (this is what my customer wanted flower wise). 8 offered to make the flowers for £25; the other 2 wouldn't make a tied bouquet in water for less than £35.  So already my customer had saved himself £1.50 by using me (that's without the delivery charges the shops quoted). The minimum delivery price I was quoted was £4.95. Most averaged at the £6.00 mark but one shop wanted me to pay £8.50 (and they were far closer than I am to Shedfield).

The cheapest Interflora order that could be delivered was £24.99 (this however was a plant and not a handtied in water). They did offer flowers in a cheap glass vase from £26.99. This then had a delivery charge of £7.99 to be added on top. More than double the charge I made.
Eflorist did offer some pretty hideous bunches of mixed alstromeria for only £14.95 (including delivery - NOT same day) and these did NOT come in water either. Their cheapest in water was £26.50 plus a charge of £7.95 for delivery.

Flowers Direct's cheapest bouquet was £28 (this was NOT in water and they very sneakily check the box for the £38 size when you click through so if you were to order from them make sure you check how much you are being charged). Their delivery was £5.99.

So as you can see; yes I do have to make a delivery charge when outside of our free area (which is only free when you spend £20 or more). I don't make this charge to make extra money though as I am sure you can all now see and understand. I really should be charging more to cover my costs/overheads but at the same time I still pride myself on being value for money; charging extra to deliver would negate this.

Friday, 22 February 2013

I can do that

is something I get told on a regular basis by Chris (my landlord and part-time delivery driver - he is also our Clives dad). What is he talking about? Making a hand tied.  Over the past 4 years we've shared a building he has often mentioned that he thinks he's watched me enough to know how to make one. Told him I would set him the challenge one day and put him to his word.
That challenge came last weekend (although he challenged himself to it). After becoming a grandfather for the 2nd time several weeks earlier, and having an aunt who had recently had a fall, he was off to visit both his grandson and aunt on the same weekend (due to them living close to each other). As it happened I had 2 different bouquets made up for sale on the Saturday he wanted flowers, so he took both the ones I had here. 1 being a dozen roses; the other being a mixed bouquet.

An hour after leaving the shop with them he came back in with both and said that his lovely wife had declared it would be nice to mix both sets of flowers so that both his daughter in law, and aunt, had 6 roses each with the other mixed flowers.  I was exceptionally busy that weekend so told him if he wanted them seperated he was going to have to do them himself, to which he replied that he "already planned on doing such a thing". 

Next thing he took over my workbench and away he went. The cello from the bottoms that had been holding the water on the originals did end up dumped on the kitchen work surface!! but aside from that he got himself sorted and was good to go.  He asked how he should begin and so while I was doing my own jobs on Becky's bench I talked him through the process of how to make the first one. Once he'd finished I did stop what I was doing to aid him in how much cello he would need (like a typical man he threw away the  bits from the original bouquets that could have been re-used) but I have to admit when he finished them he had done a pretty good job.

Now I couldn't let him get too carried away with himself and heap too much praise on him as he hadn't tied them tight enough, which would have meant had they not been placed in delivery vases they would never have stood up and the bottom (which holds the water) would have slipped off (could have a made a mess of a floor) and they were already pretty much cut to size having been another bouquet originally which didn't give him too much option about where to place the flowers, but all in all he did a pretty good job. I wouldn't have sold them to a paying customer, but as they were for his own family members I was happy to let him take them along.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Was it good for you?

;) Now I bet that caught the attention of a few of you didn't it? The title of this blog that is ;O)  So was it good for you? As a receiver of Valentines goodies (including flowers from a florist I hope) it was good; and for all you lovely florists out there that I know read this (I'm still constantly amazed at the amount of people that make the effort to read through this) I hope you had a great one. 
 How was it for us? Well thanks for asking. It was the BEST we have had since we first started the business way back in 2006.  Our Valentines orders were up by 69.96%. That's a phenomenal increase on last year. That means for every hundred customers we had last year; this year we had 169. Amazing amount of people through our doors; ordering online, or giving us a quick call (we had way more than 100 but that figure is the easiest way for me to explain it and put it in to context). No wonder we had 3 drivers out ALL day (they literally didn't stop from 8am - 6pm). That increase is JUST on Valentines orders specifically; obviously we still had all our normal every day orders coming in as well. I can safely say we had a bit of a busy week and just having Sunday off was not really enough to get over it if I'm going to be honest. This week feels like it could be a long one.....

....but a productive one. The plans for this week are to get Mothers Day organised; I know we haven't had time to get over Valentines and we're already preparing for Mothers Day. "No rest for the wicked" as they say. We will be offering some set bouquets this year, but we know how all your Mums are different and none of them like the same flowers/colours which is why if you place your order early enough we will be able to tailor make each and every one for you. Leaving it to the last minute, will of course restrict your options slightly (although I will try to ensure we are fully stocked with as much variety at all times - this is not always possible though if you leave it until late on the Saturday, or expect us to have something specific on the Sunday morning itself). We might even treat you all to some planted baskets this year - I know we tend not to go for plants, but on Wednesday I am off to a wholesalers open evening for Mothers Day bits and pieces, and from what I can make out they will be displaying the kinds of planted baskets that they will be able to make up (I wouldn't buy the bits and make them myself these days - a) because I couldn't purchase the bits to make them cheap enough, and b) getting dirt under my nails annoys me :) ) so there may be some in the shop come the day if your Mums would prefer plants to flowers - actually I doubt on the day there will be any left so you best make sure you come in the week before if you would like one. 

Friday, 1 February 2013

The great Valentines Day Rip Off

Where to start when it comes to Valentines Day? I for one am not afraid to admit I hate the day; not because I am unromantic, but because to me it truly is too commercialised these days. I also despise having to explain constantly to customers that we are NOT trying to rip them off when it comes to flowers. Believe me the price rises disgust us as much as they do you (if not more). However, when it comes down to the nitty gritty I WILL NOT compromise on the quality of roses that we supply for the day, and unfortunately when it comes to quality you (and us) have to pay that bit extra. 

As last year (because I had such great reports back on how impressive the roses were and how WELL they lasted) I have chosen to order in Red Naomi.  As someone that doesn't like red roses at all (I disliked them before I became a florist) I have to say, if someone was to send me a dozen of them (at some other time of the year; NEVER at Valentines) then I would be a very happy lady. They are HUGE. I've had some in today for an order and the buds (yes that's the BUDS) measured 8cm deep and 7cm in diameter; I can only imagine how large and beautiful they will be once they open. No other cut flower rose (there are plenty of garden varieties however) could ever match it in size. I have also found them to be the longest lasting. By comparison Freedom roses (these seem to be the variety being offered by M&S, Interflora, Moonpig and Next) when fully open won't come anywhere close to matching the size of the Naomi buds.

Red Naomi In BUD

 I did check out some other companies to see what roses they were using and how much they were charging.  Now while a lot of them are cheaper than us I noticed NOBODY is using a decent sized rose. They all varied (although Freedom seems to be the main choice in a 60cm length) with prices varying from £22 (exceptionally cheap, until you look and see they are NOT wrapped, NOT delivered in water, have NO foliage, bows or cello). These are delivered by a courier in a box at any time between 7am - 7pm. Not a lot of good if you know the person you are sending to is going to be out at work all day. This would mean if they weren't in to sign for them, they would then have to go to the local depot to collect them and as I am sure you are all aware, when something gets taken back to a depot. you cannot collect until after a certain time the NEXT day. That doesn't really create the right impression and is pretty pointless; Valentines Day is the 14th; not 15th. This also means by the time your loved one receives their flowers they are going to be desperate for a drink (there is every chance all the couriered bunches will be made up over the weekend before; this then means those roses will have been out of water for at LEAST 48 (possibly 96)hours before being received. It is also highly likely that the flowers will have been delivered to the central warehouses (where they will then be bunched and  boxed for delivery) on the Thursday or Friday of the previous week, thus making them already a week old before your loved one receives them. The other prices I came across were £30, £35 and £40. Again NONE of these came with foliage; NONE are delivered in water and they ALL come via courier (unless you specifically order direct from a LOCAL florist that happens to be a member of Interflora (using the Interflora website will bypass the local florists). I will admit I didn't even bother to look at what the supermarkets are offering; you'd be better off chucking your money in the bin than purchasing supermarket flowers at Valentines. Just remember that you *Get what you pay for*.

Now while it is true that a dozen from us will cost you £55 they WILL have foliage with them; they WILL be wrapped in tissue and cellophone; they WILL be delivered in water; they WILL also be delivered personally by one of our drivers to either the home (or work) address of your loved one. Now we cannot guarantee a set delivery time but we will do our utmost to be as accommodating as possible and will definitely make sure we catch your loved one either at home (or work). IF they happen not to be there when we delivery we will find a neighbour to leave them with, so that they receive the flowers the minute they get back home (or back from their work lunch break), ensuring they receive their bouquet on the 14th.
We do know (understand) that money is tight for a lot of you right now, which is why we have also come up with other options rather than just roses, that are equally as romantic. These can be found on the Valentines section of our website.