Inside the FTD florist business with Flowersfast

I’ve been friends with Bob Rankin, owner of online florist Flowersfast, for years, and was pleased when he consented to be interviewed about the reality of the online florist industry. Here’s the result.
Q: Flowers? Aren’t there, like, a million flower shops online? What makes yours different?
We try to make our mark with ease of use, competitive pricing and excellent customer service. Our customers often remark that our site was very easy to use and the prices were better than other places they looked. And when problems arise after the sale, we look upon that as an opportunity to win their business for life by going beyond the call to make sure they are satisfied. I’m convinced that many businesses fail because they never learn the lesson that unhappy customers have the choice to take their future business elsewhere.
Q: What are some of the more unusual reasons you’ve seen people send flowers?


Recently we had a customer send flowers to a friend because her house had been burglarized. Another person sent a “sorry you got pregnant” bouquet. And then there are the oddball card messages like “Dear Patty, I am so sorry! I watched too many old movies. Please forgive your loving but stupid father.” Occasionally we get orders with card messages that are “too hot to handle” so we have to ask the customer for permission to re-word their passionate sentiments.
Q: I always have a sense that the two biggest days for florists are Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Is that true, and if so, what % increase over normal orders do you see?

holiday bouquet

Mother’s Day is the biggest flower holiday, and Valentine’s Day comes in next, with Christmas and Easter running a distant third and fourth. Generally order volume is 4-5x higher than usual during the week prior to those top two flower holidays.
Q: Somewhere I remember reading that there’s a specific code that dictates what color roses you should send someone and what type of flower you should send for different occasions. Can you refresh my memory?
We have a Meanings of Rose Colors page which many people take with a grain of salt. But people should be aware that sending red roses is likely to be interpreted as a romantic gesture. Men who want to send roses to a new female acquaintance might be well advised to start with yellow or pink, and work their way up to red as the relationship blossoms. Aside from roses, the only other flowers that are typically occasion-specific are daisies for get-well and gladiolus for sympathy.
Q: On the business side, do you have a retail storefront? If so, what percentage of your orders are Internet-based? If not, how much do you think it hurts your business?
Yes, we’ve had a retail presence since before we started the website. But since FlowersFast.com had its origins in a small-town local florist shop, over 90% of our business is online. I think from a customer service perspective, it’s very helpful to have experience in the retail floral trade, working face-to-face with customers. You come to understand what they want and expect when sending flowers, and you put a more human face on dealing with problems.
Q: You’re with FTD, right? How do those telefloral companies actually work? Do you get your orders via secure server? Encrypted email? Fax?
Most florists are members of the FTD and/or Teleflora networks. These “wire services” help members find a local florist to prepare and deliver the order, and they also act as a financial clearinghouse. So instead of paying hundreds of local florists who fill our orders, we pay FTD on a monthly basis, and they pay the individual florists who actually arrange and deliver the flowers. The sending florist keeps 20% of the order total, the filling florist gets 73% and FTD takes a 7% cut to administer the program.
We run all the credit cards. FTD and Teleflora are highly competitive with each other, so they offer incentives to retain members. One of the incentives FTD offers is a 0% discount rate on credit card processing. They act as our merchant bank and credit card processor, so we pay only a 30 cent transaction fee.
Here’s the process flow: We take our orders and process customer credit cards via a secure server. Then we query the FTD member database online to find a filling florist and transmit the order data over a secure web link to FTD’s central server. FTD transmits the order to the filling florist’s computer, via TCP/IP, dialup or voice, depending on the technology available on the receiving end. We do have the option of finding a filling florist in a 4-inch thick FTD member directory and phoning the order to them, but that’s not taking advantage of automation and technology!
Q: If you’re working with FTD, don’t they dictate prices? How can you be less expensive? It’s really a classic business challenge of competing in a commodity market, isn’t it?
FTD has a suggested retail price for most bouquets, and each florist has a workbook which tells them how many stems of each flower to use, the type of container, etc. But wholesale flower prices vary by region, time of year, and phase of the moon. The reality is that the SRP’s for most of the FTD products are higher than most florists would charge for that (or a similar) item in their store, so florists almost never balk at taking an order for a few dollars less. Also, we charge $3 less than FTD’s (very high) $10.99 “service charge”, which we can afford because we don’t have FTD’s massive overhead costs.
Q: So let me get this right: the next time you send a $50 bouquet to your mother, the sending florist gets $10, the florist who actually makes and delivers the floral arrangement gets $36.50 and FTD itself gets $3.50?
That’s true, but remember that the fillng florist can still deliver a bouquet with $50 value because they buy their flowers at wholesale prices. Typical markup in the flower business is 3X (as opposed to 2X in most markets) and even higher on some flowers. Yes, the local florist makes less money on wire-ins than in-store orders, but a florist with good business sense will treat the recipient of that wire-in order as a potential new customer in their local market.
Q: So you could essentially shut down your storefront entirely and work out of a low-cost warehouse with only a small hit on your revenue stream? Why don’t you go ahead and do that if over 90% of your business is online, Bob?
We could, but my partner who manages the retail part of the business enjoys being a local florist. And as long as it’s still profitable, why not?
Q: So it sounds to me like the most profitable part of this business is being the sending florist! Is the holy grail of the floral industry to be the central sender without having to ever actually stock flowers or fulfill?
Well certainly that’s the part I like best, being a techie in the flower biz. Still, local florists make pretty good money on weddings and funerals, and without them, we’d have to make big changes in our business in order to get things delivered. So we always try to be fair to them, and everyone wins.
Q: Finally, if you could make one change to the floral industry, what would it be, and why?
I think the biggest weakness in the “flower sending” business is that we don’t have a good process in place to verify that a delivery was successful. People now are used to sending a package via Fedex or UPS, and having the ability to track it all the way to the destination. A few florists (mostly larger ones in metro areas) are tech-savvy and have the ability to send delivery confirmation back to the sending florist, but in most cases we have to take it on faith that the filling florist did what they were supposed to. So when we have a customer that wants to confirm delivery, it’s a tedious process of contacting the florist and waiting for them to get back to us. The customer doesn’t understand why it takes so long, and they become frustrated with us. But that’s the state of the art in the floral business. I’d like to see delivery confirmations become a standard, automated process. But that won’t happen until FTD and Teleflora mandate that from their member florists. Unfortunately I’m not hopeful that it will happen any time soon.
I’d like to thank Bob for his help. I’m sure we’ve missed some interesting topics, however. What do you wish we would have asked Bob about flowers and the floral business?

35 comments on “Inside the FTD florist business with Flowersfast

  1. Where to begin??? Well, let me start by saying that as a Retail flower shop in South Florida we are on the RECEIVING end of ALOT of incoming wire orders. From a purely money perspective, once we figure in all the costs involved from the wire services, such as FTD, the average incoming wire order COSTS us 39%.
    Bob is VERY lucky and as a “sender”, he makes out quite well. Not only does he retain 20% of the order, but he also retains his $7.99 “service fee” which is not included in the total the receiving florist gets. So, on a $50 order, Bob is keeping his $7.99 + $10.00.
    As the receiving florist, I give up 27% of the order (20% to Bob and 7% to FTD)right off the top. Then we pay a $1.oo for EVERY incoming order as a transmission fee. We average about 175 incoming orders on non-holiday months, so my other fees (Membership, Mercury, Transmission fees, Directory listings, Dues and Quality Assurance) works out to about $5.43 per order.
    So, on my incoming $50 order, I keep $30.07… Our average delivery fee is $8.99 (and that BARELY covers our costs), so the arrangement would be filled @ $41.01. My actual Cost of Goods on a $41 arrangment would be $14.68.
    $30.07 – $8.99 – $14.68 = $6.40 “profit”
    From this “profit”, I then Pay salaries, rent, electric, etc.
    If the customer places an order with my shop DIRECTLY for the same $50 arrangment + my $8.99 delivery fee, I then have a PROFIT of $44.31!
    No offense to Bob, but the truth is that shops that are primarily “senders” are looking to retail shops as fullfillment centers. The wire services were originally only supposed to be clearing houses and they have become a way for two large corporations to make more money and be able to sell flowers themselves using the individual shop as again, a fullfillment center.
    Without the money to advertise and individualize our own web presence, we are at the mercy of this system until we can build enough local volume to combat the systems in place.
    And, as a general rule, most of the SRP found on FTD, Teleflora, 800-flowers, etc are NOT possible on a local front. We are fotunate enough to go directly to the Airport and do enough volume to support purchasing in BOXES rather than bunches. The average shop does not fall into this category either.
    Companies that send orders for totals less than $35.00 are not doing anyone a good service. What was OUR #1 problem from Mother’s Day??? FTD’s Tulip specials. What was OUR #1 problem AFTER Mother’s Day??? Sending out REPLACEMENT arrangments & apologies from FTD for orders that were NEVER sent or were sent INCORRECTLY by other shops!
    The consumer dosen’t understand and, quite frankly dosen’t care! They see a picture, they see a price, they place the order and they’re done.
    It’s not all as simple as Bob is making it… Well, it is from his side. And, if I could do what he’s doing… YES! I would do it in a heartbeat. $17.99 to take an order from the internet and transmit it to FTD… That’s the life!

  2. My Uncle is a Florist in Kuwait and would like to work as your local florist to arrange and sent the flowers. Please can you let me know if this can really work out.
    I will appreciate if you reply more clearly the entire procedure to do so.
    Thank You.

  3. Interesting way to describe the business. In my opinion a consumer will do far better going to thier LOCAL florist than any website. If they don’t have a clue there is a ton of information on floristdetective.com. This website will offer plenty of tips how not to get ripped off by these order gaterers who never touch a stem. These operations are killing the floral industry and need to realize that the local florist is the backbone of floral ordering and needs to be treated well.

  4. When someone wants to send flowers, they have two choices… drive to the local flower shop or do it online. Given that nobody is preventing the person who wants to send flowers from doing so through their local florist, let’s look at why the consumer is increasingly choosing to order online.
    Most retail flowers shops are open 5 or 6 days a week, and keep regular business hours. Busy people may not find it convenient to drive there and wait in line. And if you want to order flowers at 11PM or on a Sunday, you’re out of luck. The alternative of point, click and buy is very attractive for people who want to get things done at THEIR convenience.
    And there are people who just don’t want to set foot in a flower shop. Ladies, you know the feeling you get when you’re in the auto repair shop? For many men (and young people of both genders), going to a florist is equally intimidating. They don’t know the jargon, they don’t like dealing with salespeople, there’s no way to compare prices to make sure they’re not getting ripped off. Online, they can look at dozens of arrangements and compare prices at other stores, without having to know flower terminology.
    And what is the local florist doing to compete with the online florist? On the web, a consumer benefits from contextual advertising and online coupons. Whose fault is it that the flower buying consumer doesn’t immediately think of the local florist when they need to send flowers? Hint: If you’re blaming your competitors for stealing your customers, you need to rethink your advertising plan.
    Traditional florists (some of which do have websites) like to disparage online florists with the term “order gatherer”, and assume that the people running them have never touched a stem. Certainly there are some who fit that description, but personally, I’ve paid my dues by running a local flower shop, handling flowers, making deliveries, etc. And I know many others in the business who also operate as a retail florist.
    Instead of “killing the floral industry”, I am convinced that online florists stimulate demand. Intelligent, relevant online advertising will generate impulse purchases and remind people that it’s time to send flowers. Online florists send orders to local florists they would otherwise never see. True, the delivering florist makes less money on that order than if they took it directly, but they also have the opportunity to gain a new customer — the recipient. As a small town retail florist, I know that incoming wire orders can be profitable in the long run.
    Ultimately, as in any field of commerce, the business that offers the best purchasing and customer service experience is going to win.

  5. Bob –
    I take exception to your assertion that “online florists stimulate demand”. In the vast majority of cases, consumers have already made purchasing decisions prior to logging on and are simply looking for florists to delivery their special flower gifts.
    Rather than adding to the gifting experience, ‘virtual florists’ add middle man fees and leave consumers with up to 50% of their dollars being used to cover the needless ‘service’. Very few wire service affiliate sites truthfully explain that the local florists can subtract their own delivery charges from orders prior to making them, often reducing the size of the arrangements.
    You say,”Online, they can look at dozens of arrangements and compare prices at other stores, without having to know flower terminology.” But the comparisson between online florists is merely smoke and mirrors. Consumers see lovely designs offered at prices that virtual florists can only hope to find on the local level. They have no clue if a local florist even has a particular item in inventory. And, by federal law, none of the online florists can set prices for another, independently owned company. The web is full of complaints from shoppers who were sold specific items only to see different or smaller products delivered. 99% are from purchases made through online-only companies.
    Consumers have not yet learned to distinguish between a broker and a real florist, especially when they see phrases like “we deliver” or “we serve” from companies that will never touch flowers. They are confused by being charged ‘delivery fees’ that don’t pay for the actual delivery.
    Online-only florists have increase the price of florist-delivered flowers to consumers while reducing both the perceived value of flowers as a gifts and overall consumer satisfaction.
    What’s really going on inside the florist business is leading to the sad demise of many local stores who can’t compete with well SEOd half-truths.

  6. You say “In the vast majority of cases, consumers have already made purchasing decisions prior to logging on and are simply looking for florists to deliver their special flower gifts.”
    And you KNOW this… how? Have you somehow inserted yourself into the buying process of the “vast majority” of flower buying consumers?
    I know for SURE that the marketing our site does is stimulating demand through impulse purchasing.
    Every local florist worth their salt tries to do the same (spur impulse sales) through holiday co-op advertising. There’s no reason to think that the same thing cannot be done online, where targetting, customization and automation make it even easier.

  7. It’s true that some online florists are positioning their sites to generate impulse sales like yours does in the aerobics and fitness market.
    But a quick look at Flowersfast’s inbound links show far more focus on keywords like “FTD”, “flower delivery”, “holiday flowers”, “birthday flowers” and “get wells flowers” – areas where shoppers have already made decisions to purchase, and are now looking for choices. Rather than stimulating demand, those links target positioning to buyers ready to make a decision.
    Where do the impulse sales rank in volume compared to the holiday and special occasion gifting categories? Less than 10%? Less than 5%? In your case it may be higher, but in the overall sales by online-only/virtual florists, it’s quite minor.

  8. I have been a florist for over 10 years. It is often annoying to receive an order from these big order gatherers. Most have never even touched a flower!! They sell from a description given to them and most often the receiving florist can not fill the order as described, what does this create…..certainly not good will or confidence on the consumers end. The order often states “similar arr with same look and feel”. The receiving florist then substitutes yellow lillies for yellow alstromeria….. thinking that they have filled the order as specified when in reality the customer has been told that the arr the recipient gets will be exactly as pictured. Call 1-800 flowers to place an order it would be interesting to see just how much of the total $ spent actually goes to the florist. Not as much as the consumer thinks. Not to mention these clearinghouses that advertise in the local yellow pages as a local florist!!! Who’s to blame? Local florists for not keeping their customers happy. How about better service,expanded hours, more education. Try using call forwarding so that customers can reach you after hours??? The local full service florist needs to adapt to the changes in the industry to survive. If you aren’t willing to make these changes you may not be around long.

  9. The article refers to delivery confirmation as the weak link in the industry. I developed a system very inexpensively that allows the driver to use a common cell phone to enter an invoice number and a status code: delviered, not there, wrong address etc. This triggers an email with the order in the body of the email, the status and any marketing message I have for that month. FTD’s system is tied to a $20K Mercury system that requires the investment in WAP phones and special mapping software. Teleflora’s is an unknown at this point as their developer was in my shop just two weeks ago shooting pictures for the big rollout party. We are the closest florist to the development shop. Very funny. I’m not teleflora and I have my own delviery confirmation system.

  10. Your explanation of how online floral ordering is “good business’ is a crock. Floral wire services are parasites that drain the blood from local retail florists. Local florists don’t make any money from wire orders. They cost local florists and they kill florist shops. They also ripoff customers because there is no way a local florist can receive an order for $50 and deliver $50 worth of flowers. Customers are best served by using a search engine such as locateaflowershop.com and placing the order directly with a local florists in the town where the flowers will be delivered. i co-own a flower shop in suburban Orlando, Florida.

  11. I have owned my shop since 1992. I have seen quite the change in our business since then. Around 1995 is when the internet really took off. 800 flowers was getting really big. Ftd had just started as a public company. Remember, it was all you other shops that voted to get your FTD EQUITY. Hows that $200 doing????
    Well I had a decision to make. Do I keep losing business until i go bust? What to do? I figured, if you can’t beat them, join them. I started to advertise on the internet as well. First locally and the immediate area. Then when the internet got heavy, i branched out into other states. I then went national. I knew i could provide a better service than 800 flowers or ftd could.
    It is very difficult competing with million dollar companies. But I win them over 1 at a time. I am an actual florist, with an actual storefront. My designers and myself have over 130yrs design experience.
    What do you have to say now??? Am I an order gatherer too? Who cares?
    The point is I am surviving and growing my business legally. You people can sit there and bitch all you want. You will not change things. FTD will stay the same, 800 flowers will continue to exist.
    Why don’t you advertise your site in as many places as you can??? One of the posters, Nancy wrote that she wishes she could make $18.00 off an order by doing nothing more than taking it and sending it to another shop to fill. Well Nancy, do you know that i spend over $50,000 a yr advertising my website???? Do you know how many orders per year i have to generate to break even???
    It’s hard work, i don’t just sit there and do nothing. You can do it to, you just choose not to. I went into business at age 22. I adapted to our industry. Those that dont adapt, go bust. Every year my business increases. We’re talking 60% increases per year. I read where a lady is selling her shop after 55 yrs in business…2005 was her best yr. She grossed $163,000. Id jump off a roof if i did those numbers. 55 yrs ???? come on.
    You can market to the whole damn world, not just your little hole in the wall town. Stop getting pissed and grow your business. Market your site. Don’t listen to teleflora. They tell you to put your web address on pens, envelopes, windows, vans, etc….what they don’t tell you is to market your site nationally. They don’t want you competing with them. They want to keep you down. Screw them.
    We’re the florists, not them. Remember that. We tell them what’s up, not other way around. Get up off your asses and spend some money. I’ve built my business just in the last 2 yrs to where i am doing almost triple the volume as the avg shop. The money is in the sending.. A good sending shop can generate a 40% profit margin… The filling shop generates 10-15% profit. example….. on a $50 order, I make 20% off the original $50, which is $10. An $11.95 del/serv charge plus a $5.25 rebate lets add that $10+$11.95+ $5.25= $27.20 profit…That is over a 50% profit.
    Wire orders, overall are not all the profitable. You have to do volume. When doing volume you’re able to purchase your flowers in bulk. At our shop, we deliver to 50 zip codes. We are in the top 250 or so with ftd so we always get in the top percentage of incoming wires. It also helps to know some people, wink wink. You have to keep the cycle moving.
    Take every order, within reason. Dont reject an order because you’re short $2.00 Just do it!!!! You waste more time and money rejecting an order, than if you just did it. Get yourselves a point of sale system (pos) It’s a lifesaver. If you cannot afford one, you have no business being in business. You can’t afford not to have one.
    Carry the containers. Ftd.com generates mass amount of orders. Carry the containers and get coded. Create volume. Keep your designer/s busy. Buy flowers in bulk. Keep your drivers and your van moving.
    If you make $6 on an order, do 50 orders a day. It all adds up. For all of you shops that dont send out of town, but do it as a courtesy for your customers( u make nothing of it) let me tell you this. There are 12 million floral websites because there is MORE PROFIT IN SENDING!!!!!! pride doesnt pay the bills.
    I was there, i know. Stop being suckers and start being players. now I tell ftd what’s up, they don’t tell me. I get $5.25 sending cuz i am a player and they need my business. I get reduced fees because I make them money. Be a player and start calling the shots for once. Take back your industry and stop whining.

    • I’m looking into opening a 6,000 sq.ft. Shop in Syracuse Utah. I have extensive retail, customer, and PR experience. I’ve looked at 800 , FTD, and the others . I really appreciate your cander and perspective . There a few shops in the area that have the look,presents or ability to really do what they are doing- mom and pa set ups. I would really like to discuss the buisness with you. I have many questions relative to the buisness and would like you I put.
      My name is David Sonneborn. E-mail address is sonneboendvs@i cloud.com.. My phone number is 720-3-6296.

  12. This is a fascinating exchange of views. I am curious about the perception in the industry of the big players: teleflora, ftd, 800 flowers, etc. I am thinking about entering the industry, and would like to know what the perception on the street is. Thanks.

  13. hi i am in process of purchasing a floral business, with ftd, etc., how do you keep all their certain baskets and such in stock? how do you know to have the correct flowers in stock without losing your tail bigtime? is business really that impressive with them to offer their items? please, any information is greatly appreciated.

  14. If you’re starting or buying a retail florist business, having a wire service
    such as FTD or Teleflora will enable you to receive incoming orders, as
    well as offering your customers the option to send orders to out-of-town
    recipients. If you’re in a very small town, the income generated by wire-in
    and wire-out orders may not make it worthwhile to join, given the monthly
    cost of $200-300. But for most florists, it’s a win-win situation.
    It’s true that once you join either FTD or Teleflora, they will encourage you to
    buy supplies, special holiday containers and even fresh flowers through them.
    If you can get your floral supplies (vases, baskets, foam, ribbon, etc) or fresh
    flowers from a local wholesaler at a better price than the wire service offers,
    then by all means do so. There is no obligation to purchase supplies, holiday
    items or flowers from your wire service provider.
    In the event that you receive an incoming order which calls for flowers or a
    container that you don’t stock, you can either suggest a substitution or refuse
    the order. Even if you are in a small market, it’s probably a good idea to buy
    at least one case of the special holiday containers, since they can be marketed
    to local customers (even next year), and they are often called for by wire-in orders.
    If you are interested in multiple holiday containers, ask another local florist if they
    are interested in splitting a case with you.
    As for what flowers to keep in stock, that’s something you’ll get a handle on
    with time. If you’re buying an existing business, certainly ask the selling florist
    for advice on what flowers are most popular in your area, tips on ordering, etc.
    A good selection of roses, carnations, daisies, alstromeria, lilies, snapdragon,
    gladiolus, statice, baby’s breath, and greens will take care of most of your
    day-to-day needs. The wholesaler who handles the account for the shop
    that you’re buying will also be a good resource in helping you decide what
    to keep in stock at various times of the year.

  15. I am a florist who has worked with Mercury Direct/FTD as part of my retail shop since October 2007, long enough to get a clear idea of the business model, structure, and most importantly, the financial investments and returns involved. FTD can make you money, but you have to COMMIT TO BEING AN FTD FLORIST.
    I choose not to for many of the same reasons our first commenter listed, in fine (and accurate according to my accounting) detail!
    I gave it a fair chance in my opinion, and after much deliberation and a very thorough investigation of the floral industry, I have decided that FTD is not part of the equation in the business I see myself building.
    Comparing shops I LOVED as a consumer, and the “average florist” the common thread was that the really interesting, young hip shops had NO WIRE SERVICE. I guess Google and a visa are sufficient to help a customer send flowers anywhere in the world???
    I have chosen an alternate approach of personal and online marketing locally that seems to bring in enough to keep the cooler running and employees coming.
    I personally don’t want to take orders from a robot anymore. I want (and have!) customers who are looking for artisan crafted, carefully selected locally purchased and or certified sustainable flowers and gifts who are looking for maximum value and custom service.
    Those who walk/surf in expecting to spend a base budget of $40.00.
    For the rest, we carry some button mums, snaps, roses, and a seasonal selection of “economically friendly” flowers.
    We have a high end shop that is accessible to anyone, and offers a wide selection without selling plastic crap from china that has been shipped across North America how many times. I may not become a millionaire, but I will have a job I love coming to, and a product I’m in control of and proud of.
    If you want convenient services like the clearinghouse, flowers after hours answering service, online marketing and web maintenance, having your POS set up and running for you, your design formulas handed to you, budgets, selection, and schedule dictated to you, then FTD is a great support in and industry that is quite competitive.
    If you have desire to flex your business savvy, a vision and creative marketing/business ideas, give it a go with out the wire service.
    It’s really hard to know if it’s for you without trying both.

  16. I am looking to upgrade to a point of sale system, but would like to hear which ones are worth the time and money. I’m not interested in FTD or Teleflora systems, does anyone use one they would recommend, or ones to keep away from?

  17. I’m with “J”, regarding his comments posted on July 9, 2008. In all fairness, we all really must do it our own way – THAT’S the bottom line. I’m doing it the artistic no-wire, local way, too, but I can understand why other shops go the opposite route, and can respect both perspectives. Good luck to all. – E

  18. FTD, the worst flower company ever when it comes to customer service, and probably their items also, but since I never got to see the item I do not know about that. What I can say is that this was my first Valentine’s day as a mother and my husband ordered flowers for me and I was working on this day, so he had them sent to my office, which is a big company that there is no way to miss. He ordered them a month in advance, which did not make a difference because the flowers never arrived. When I got home I got the news that my valentines day gift was forgotten by FTD, and if my mom would not have called we just would have been charged for something and never recieved it. When she asked about the flowers was told that they do not know what happened and that they would not be delivering them and offered no compensation what so ever, bad business, I think that FTD should think about it twice especially with this economy and try to put theirselves in my place. Who would be okay with just getting their money refunded and not having a Valentines day gift and surprise as mine was to be and thanks to FTD was ruined and never happened. FTD never again….

  19. Hello,
    I am wondering how one can become one of these sending services? Let’s say I wanted to pay for the web-development etc., what is the next step – how does one get interfaced with the FTD central processing system? Thanks!

  20. FTD has secured it’s place as the worst flower delivery company on the planet. I placed an order two days in advance to surprise my wife on her birthday. This bouquet was very important since my sons were at summer camp and I was out of town on business. My wife was all alone on her birthday. The flowers never showed and when I called to see why,I was told that someone should have contacted me to inform me that the local FTD florist doesn’t except online orders. Are you frickin’ kidding me?I thought FTD was the florist. FTD should stand for Fart Truck Dookey,because that name makes as much sense as their lame excuse. Use your local florist.Don’t give FTD a chance to disappoint you.

  21. I happened to stumble on this blog and was amazed to read the venomous comments about FTD and Teleflora. Doesn’t sound like a warm and friendly business environment. Not that this has anything to do with orchids but interesting none the less.

  22. We are a FTD ( FEE TO DEATH) florist, after our last statement and all the fees and Memberships were taken out of our orders for the mobth $717.00 we ended up paying in $55.22. We called to complain and find out why we are are billed to death and I was transfered 3 places with no help or information. We want to quit but they said we are obligated to remail till the new Directory is published ( every 3 months) Our statement reads like a bill from Hell, we are not a partner with FTD but a slave!! There is no legal recorse or any way to get there attention!! Night line where are you???

    • I was called by someone from ftd to join their membership program. I was wondering if it was a profitable venture….
      This helps. Thanks

  23. This is great, a lot of useful info about the flower delivery industry, i would like to point that in my personal view, FTD is one of the best companies i’ve came accross, great customer service and great arrangements and more…

  24. A few comments about fertilizing orchid plants. Timing is important when fertilizing and you want to make sure that your plant is actively growing and is healthy. If your plant is not healthy nurse it back to full health before applying fertilizer.
    Another tip is that you never want to apply fertilizer when the potting medium is dry. It will better absorb the nutrients if it is moist and you won’t risk burning the roots.

  25. There are hundreds of flower delivery companies online but very few of them are really reputable. FTD is one of the best, i also like 1-800-Flowers and honest florist as they provide high quality services as well. Very informative, thanks!

  26. Hello:
    Can someone tell me the best way to market a high end/non-FTD or Teleflora shop that offers locally grown flowers and sustainable practices?
    I appreciate any help!

  27. We have both Teleflora and FTD but we need to upgrade the system. Is it best to go with Teleflora or FTD. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.

  28. It’s also best to think of what the online floral delivery companies do for the extra work that fluctuates for every season. If the bricks and mortar shops cannot handle the order then what? It goes unfilled. We pick up that slack.

  29. We unfortunately had a family member’s father’s funeral, long distance where we wanted to send a nice floral arrangement to her father’s funeral.
    We used an old venerable well known floral delivery company and we paid a high price for their better version, 21 blossoms and a glass vase. Just under $150.00.
    Thanks with a photo of the arrangement was sent to us by attending family and we were shocked to see that the arrangement was not at all what we paid for. There were no blossoms open just green buds with the exception of 7-8 stock flowers used as fill which had white blossoms, like a long-stemmed snapdragon.
    There was not a sense of responsibility by the company, even lodging a complaint with management took over an hour on hold on the phone.
    Buying flowers is a jungle today and the keyword to success is to use the internet to educate yourself to how the florist market works. Paying more is no insurance of success. Buying local. eliminating the middlemen is essential as they can offer you nothing, nothing when they fail to fulfill their obligation for one’s personal, important family event.
    We learned this the very hard way. Ask someone to take a picture of the arrangement as well.
    Sincerely yours,
    Clevebush

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