Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Be aware

and take care when you place an order for flowers; that you are in fact giving your hard earned money to a genuine florist business and not to an order gatherer sat in an office outside of the area, or someone that has decided to set up a website pretending to be a florist - these days even the biggest technophobe can set up a website for anything, quickly and easily.

In the past few weeks I have several people come in (or phone) and asked me to quote them for flowers; everything ranging from a wedding bouquet, to a bespoke funeral design. Now as you are all aware I try to keep my prices as low as I possibly can, but I have bills to pay so still have to charge a sensible amount to be able to cover those bills (the taxman, council tax, rates, business/premises/buildings/public liability insurances, delivery expenses - driver, fuel, tax, insurance, wear and tear costs - electric, phone, wages, wholesalers - you get the point) but those people that have requested a quote have come back to me and told me they can get the item "cheaper elsewhere". 

Now aside from having bills to pay, I also pride myself on the quality of the flowers I use (a lot of these "cheaper elsewhere" florists will buy what they need from a supermarket and can never guarantee the exact flowers they will use for you) so when a customer tells me that they can get them cheaper, I explain that I cannot come down on my prices and wish them luck. Several of these customers have then come back and ordered from me (I can only assume their "cheaper elsewhere" wasn't such a good deal after all; a few that haven't have contacted me afterwards to say they wish they had. A couple have even asked me how they go about complaining to the company they've ordered from because their flowers haven't been anything like they ordered, or they've just not arrived at all. 

This is where my warning comes in. 

A google search for Fareham Florists earlier has thrown up several interesting things. A couple of companies that come up on the search as being florists in Fareham, are in fact located up north somewhere. These companies are order gatherers; they will take your money, skim off a massive portion of that money, then ring round several shops to see who can off them the best item at the cheapest price. That £40 you may hand over to them could mean your loved one only gets an order worth £20 (or in some cases less). By checking the shop you want to use is in fact located in the area you want the flowers delivered to, you will save yourself paying out charges that can be higher than Interflora and Eflorist (who let's face it charge phenomenal amounts for sending out very little flowers). 

The other thing I came across while searching are several *businesses* that have lovely looking websites, but when you look at their *Contact Us* section have NO phone number or registered address listed. They just have either an email address or a form for you to fill in. A GENUINE business will ALWAYS have a registered business address with ALL contact details listed. The businesses I found would also only take Bank Transfers or Cash on Delivery for payment and were without contact details listed. These are the  businesses you need to be wary of. You could hand over a thousand pounds for sympathy tributes, only to arrive at the funeral to find no flowers. Because the company you order through has no registered address you have no way of retrieving your money. 

Yes there are some florists that like to work from home, rather than pay out all the expensive insurances, tax bills and all the other money we have to pay when we have shop premises, but again unless they are operating illegally (ie NOT paying any tax, declaring their earnings or handing over business rates to the council) then they WILL have their business registered and this WILL be on their website in their contact section. 

Please be careful; what could seem like a good deal and great price, may well end up with you being scammed and losing your hard earned money. As they say "If it seems to good to be true, then it probably is". 

Having said that my search also produced a lot of genuine florists out there; just be sure to check the details of any you may want to use. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Happy New Year

a bit late as we are already well into 2014 (where does the time go?) but I couldn't write the first entry of 2014 without wishing each and every one of a year a very Happy and Healthy year; may it bring all that you could wish for. 

It feels like it's been forever since I was last able to sit down and share with you all what we've been up to, but it is thanks to our lovely customers that I've not had the time to keep you all updated. Yet again you showed us how lucky we are - by using us for your Christmas flower gifts - and we are humbled and honoured by your continued support and loyalty. 

So what plans do we have for this year? Well the first one is to get the website updated; it's looking a bit tired and messy in a few places, so we have been working hard on new images, a whole new (easier) online ordering system that will allow orders to be placed for all occasions and not just the tied and bouquet section as before; we will also be cleaning up the clutter to make it a bit more user friendly. Hopefully by the end of this month the new site will be live; until then we are still unable to offer online ordering via our personal site  - our linked D2F site is available if you really don't want to speak to us on the phone; they will however, charge you a fee for going through their servers. There's also not as much choice on there, but I know some people don't like to place their orders via the telephone, so it's a temporary option that will enable you to place (and pay for) your order securely online. 

Now those eagle eyed ones of you will notice when the new site goes live that we have had to increase our prices slightly. We've tried as hard as we could to avoid having to do this, but with wholesale prices on the rise, along with every day shop bills (rates, rent, insurance, phones, electric, taxes, fuel etc) constantly rising, we've been left little choice if we wish to pay our bills, and still be here for you all in a years time (sadly so many florists are closing due to spiraling costs and supermarkets, that we want to do all we can to continue providing you with the service you have become accustomed too. We have done all we can to keep the rises as low as possible (and we are still more than competitive when compared to others) but sadly we cannot afford to absorb the costs and allow the business to suffer losses. Hopefully you (our lovely customers) shouldn't notice too much of a difference, but forewarned is forearmed.  The service we provide will remain exactly as it always has.