With the right style and arrangement of flowers in your event, you can greatly impress your guests and make your special day a very memorable occasion. A good florist near you has the expertise to not only arrange flowers beautifully and uniquely but also provide you with access to a variety of quality flowers that are in line with the intended color scheme and style of your event. In addition to beautifying events, a professional florist can also improve the indoor aesthetics of your home or office. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, interacting with indoor plants can reduce both psychological and physiological stress in adults. Considering that many people spend an average of 85% of their daily life indoors, the health benefits of hiring a professional florist cannot be overstated.
While it may seem easy to pick out flowers for your home, office, or event for your event by yourself, it is always better to hire a professional florist near you to handle this task. Doing so gives you the time to attend to other pressing matters in your daily routine and also spares you from the risks and hazards associated with the care and handling of flowers. These include cuts and lacerations from the improper handling of gardening tools as well as the accidental exposure to poisonous flowers and harmful chemicals like pesticides and herbicides. In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 3 fatal injuries and 290 nonfatal injuries amongst floral designers in the United States. It is also estimated that pesticide exposure alone costs Americans more than $200 million annually.
Therefore, picking a competent florist near you requires due diligence on your part. Always ensure that you do not rush your selection process and make relevant inquiries before settling on a particular florist. Below are some of the inquiries that you should make before hiring a florist near you:
Are You Licensed, Registered, or Certified?
With the exception of the State of Louisiana, florists are not generally required to obtain state or local professional licenses before plying their trade. As such, if you reside in Louisiana, then you need to make sure that any florist that you intend to hire has a valid license by cross-checking the florist's name against a list of licensed retail and wholesale florists in the state.
Considering that florists do not typically have licensing requirements outside Louisiana, it is always a good idea to hire a florist that belongs to or has been certified by a professional association like the American Institute of Floral Designers (AFID) and the Society of American Florists operate all around the country. These types of associations provide certification to deserving members who satisfy certain requirements that include passing rigorous exams that test their knowledge of flower care and floral designs and undergoing mandatory continuing education to keep them updated on new floral trends and innovative techniques. Professional associations also bind their members to certain codes of conduct to ensure that they carry out the trade professionally and ethically. Therefore, looking to a professional association is a good way of searching for florists who adhere to the industry's highest standards of ethics and professional practice. You can verify the membership or certification status of any florist that you intend to hire by contacting the professional florist association that this florist either claims to belong to or obtained the certification from.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Florist?
The cost of hiring a florist depends on certain factors like your location, the amount of labor required, the skill level and experience of the florist as well as the number of stems, flower choice, and style requested. Some florists utilize hourly rates, especially if they are designing and executing large floral arrangements that require many labor hours or extra team members. You can expect to pay such a florist between $8 and $21 hourly. On the other hand, some others charge a flat percentage based on the wholesale cost of the flower arrangement, and this percentage is usually around 20%. Note that besides labor costs, your total bill will usually include the cost of supplies like flowers, vases, ribbons, floral foam, and baskets that the florist will work with.
Considering the following tips can help in keeping the cost of hiring a florist within your budget:
- Set a reasonable budget: this step is essential to ensure that you do not get price shocked. It is advisable to dedicate around 10% to 15% of your event budget to floral designs, lighting, and decorations. You can adjust this later on depending on your preferences.
- Get detailed proposals: require your florist to prepare detailed proposals based on your preferences. The proposals should include a high best-case quotation as well as a low bare-minimum quotation. You can always combine these quotes and create a mid-range package.
- Request in-season flowers: Different flowers are only in season at certain periods of the year. Determine flowers that are in season and try to stick to them. This step will prevent you from spending excessively on flowers.
What Are Common Floral Expenses?
Besides the labor and supplies cost associated with hiring a florist, you may also incur some typical additional costs such as:
- Delivery fees: these are also referred to as the day of labor or set-up fees, and they are usually charged for the transportation of flowers from the florist's place of business to you. In some cases, they may also include the cost of actually setting up the flowers in your event. The florist may include this delivery fee in your total bill or simply charge for it separately. This fee can either be a flat fee, a percentage of the total order, which is usually between 10% and 20% or calculated based on the number of miles covered for the delivery.
- Clean-up fee: depending on the complexity of your floral arrangements you might also require the florist to clean up after your event. Note that you can also decide to handle the clean-up of your event site by yourself or make other arrangements for this. Nonetheless, you should always confirm whether your florist's bill includes clean-up to ensure you do not either end up not paying for the same service twice or paying for a service that you will not require. Florists usually charge a flat rate for clean-up.
When you hire a florist near you, it is advisable to make sure that the terms of the florist's services are clearly stated in a written contract that also specifies the florist's billing method and any additional costs. This will go a long way to prevent you from getting price shocked after committing to a florist. Also make sure that you request and properly document receipts, invoices, or any other form of paperwork related to any payments that you make.
Who Will Do the Work?
You should always be certain of who exactly is going to be working on providing and setting up your flower arrangement. Sometimes florists usually delegate certain jobs to associates, especially where the job either involves less complicated designs or involves a lot of work that requires extra hands. Whatever the case may be, always make sure you are on the same page as your florist and make it clear whether or not you can deal with your work being delegated. It is also advisable that you insist on having your florist actively supervise any associates that are delegated to your work even if you are fine with having your job delegated. Finally, confirm whether these delegations or any extra labor that may be required for your job will affect your bill.
What Qualifications Should a Florist Have?
It is estimated that there are approximately 76,500 retail florists in the United States. The typical entry-level education for florists is a high school diploma or an equivalent educational qualification. Some florists also proceed to post-secondary institutions like colleges, vocational institutions, and private floral schools to obtain qualifications in floral design and floriculture courses. When employed, many florists also learn the basics of floral design and plant identification from a more experienced florist through on-the-job training.
As florists develop their skills and accumulate experience on the job, opportunities to obtain certifications from professional associations like the American Institute of Floral Designers (AFID) and the Society of American Florists also arise. Obtaining a certification from these associations usually requires passing tests or examinations and attaining a certain level of work experience. As such, although obtaining a professional certification is not a mandatory requirement to practice as a florist, having one indicates a high level of professionalism and skill.
Will You Provide References?
It is important to ask your florist of interest for references from past clients. Experienced and reputable florists should be able to provide you with a list of references that you can contact to help you evaluate the florist's performance and business practices. Competent florists should also be able to show you pictures of the past projects and events they worked on. Having access to this information will help you determine whether the florist is the best fit for your project and can also help you avoid unwanted issues down the line.
Alternatively, you can get recommendations about florists near you from friends and family or by contacting professional florists associations in your state. Before selecting any florist near you, check out reviews and any past complaints about the florist using Better Business Bureau, Google Review, Yelp, and other platforms that allow customers to leave unbiased feedback on businesses they have worked with.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Some of the types of products florists offer are bouquets, letterbox flowers, subscription flowers, and luxury flowers. While most florists usually maintain a physical or online catalog of floral arrangements they offer, you can also present pictures of a particular style that you want your florist to recreate for you.
You can make walk-in orders in a florist's store, or simply order your flowers by phone. Alternatively, some other florists also provide the option of online and email orders. However, note that email orders may take more reply time during periods of high volume orders, such as Valentine's Day. Most florists also make provisions on how you can follow up on the status of your order and so you should also inquire about this when making your order.
This depends on the proximity of the florist to you and the time of the year. In most cases, a florist can make same-day delivery if this florist's place of business is close by and if orders are made at designated periods provided by the florist. However, during busy holiday seasons, or for some very special, rare, and exotic floral gifts, same-day delivery may not be possible.
Most florists can guarantee delivery on a specific date with certain exceptions, which are usually on public holidays. However, these florists might not be able to guarantee specific delivery times. Instead, they usually have a time range dedicated to deliveries. Also, for events like funerals, deliveries are usually expected to have been made before the start of the service, so be sure to include your service time on your order. Additionally, some florists also offer customers an expedited delivery option, to further shorten the estimated delivery time. Note that this service will include an additional cost to the normal delivery fee.
Delivery situations are usually accessed on an individual basis. Generally, many florists will leave your floral arrangement in front of or around your home if there is a secure location to do this and the weather is conducive. If this is not the case, then the florist will usually leave a door tag and a voicemail and plan a re-delivery once the recipient's availability is confirmed.
Many florists deliver to funerals and even designate them as high-priority deliveries. Similarly, florists are also able to deliver to hospitals, school campuses, military bases, and offices. However, remember to always include as much information as possible to find or reach the person receiving the flowers. The more information the florist has, the easier it is to deliver on time. Delivery to school campuses might also require you to provide a valid phone number of the recipient considering the size of most campuses. Likewise, to ensure a smooth delivery to hospitals, your florist might require you to provide certain information about the recipient such as a legal name or maiden name and a room number or section of the hospital the person is in.
Most florists determine shipping and service delivery charges based on several factors such as weight, peak demand, and location. Generally, florists may either charge a flat rate for shipping and handling, a percentage of the total order, or a starting rate that is usually calculated based on an initial flare fee and the number of miles covered. Depending on where you live, the florist may also add sales taxes to orders. A sales tax is usually charged on the entire sales price, including shipping and delivery, and any service fee or other charge the company collects from the customer. Also, note that charges during periods of peak demands like Valentine's Day, Mother's day, and Christmas are usually significantly higher.
You can keep your flowers fresh by always ensuring that the water level of the flower vase or container is kept as full as possible. This is because flowers not only take up water through the ends of their stems but also their sides. Additionally, keep your bouquet in a cool place, away from direct sunlight or appliances that give off heat. Some florists usually include complimentary care tags and packets of floral preservatives in their product package. Following the instructions on these tags would help extend the life of your flowers.
Florists usually have their preferred mode of receiving order cancellations ranging from the customer contacting the florist by telephone or email to completing an online order cancellation form. Whichever the medium is, make sure you cancel on time. Note that in some cases the florist may not be able to accept a cancellation. These instances include situations where the order is already in transit and during peak holidays like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Christmas. Details of cancellation rules vary by florist and so you should always find out the cancellation policy of any florist near you that you intend to hire.
Many florists allow an array of payment methods including payments, which usually include cash, credit cards, and checks. Nonetheless, some kinds of orders may exclude certain payment methods. For example, while it is not out of place to pay cash if you make a walk-in order, cash payment may not be suitable for remote orders like those done online, via email, or telephone. Generally, the florist will usually communicate all you need to know about the payment options for the different types of orders.