It's critical that you find the right florist for your special occasion. While it's not always easy, here are my top tips for evaluating the florists in your area, and most importantly, picking the one that will deliver the best results. Let's get started...
1) Nothing beats a word of mouth recommendation.
Your absolute best bet in finding a competent florist in your area is to contact your network of friends, family, co-workers and so on, and see who they recommend. Trust me, they'll be more than happy to share their experiences. positive or negative, with you. Evaluate their feedback, and weigh it into your final decision.
2) Read the reviews.....Make sure to check out a few reviews from the site such as google. There may be one bad review out of 10 but check and see how the florist responded, (a bad review can be placed by another competing florist) mistakes can happen but a professional will handle the situation.
3) Visit the florist's retail outlet, and get a "feel" for their business.
What's your first impression?
What are you looking for?
The flower shop's general appearance is always a good first indicator. Is it neat and tidy and organized? If a shop is messy and disorganized, chances are they could lose important details about your special event.
Another tell-tale sign is the selection of flowers and floral arrangements and how they are displayed. This will show you how concerned they are with details and the talent that they possess.
For instance, take a look at any of the store's artificial flower arrangements. If they are appealing to you and you would consider having them in your own home, then they have a style that appeals to you. That's a BIG plus.
Also, check to see if the design and floral arrangement styles are diverse and unique. In other words, you do not want to see unimaginative, "cookie-cutter" type versions of the same arrangement.
Here's another good one; check out if their cooler contains a wide variety of fresh flowers and pre-made floral arrangements, that appear to fresh and well taken care of.
Trust me, if you see any dead flowers, or even smell the hint of rotting flowers, this is not the florist for you.
OK, just one other point...
If you are calling the store you can get a good or bad impression right over the phone. If they cannot sell you on their services/expertise over the phone, then there is no need to go any further.
A truly professional florist can create a picture for you in your mind. And their words and tone can set your mind at ease or....
... make you hurry of the phone and call the next flower shop on your list.
4) Interact with the staff a bit.
How courteous are they? How knowledgeable are they? Do they seem like they know their stuff? Are they like-able human beings that you would feel comfortable entrusting your special occasion to? Oftentimes your gut instinct will lead you in the right direction.
5) Ask to see a portfolio of their work.
Most shops have a simple photo album that contains pictures of their work -- from weddings, anniversaries, and other special events.
Viewing an album is a great way to evaluate that florist's work. What I want you to look for is this -- how recent are the pictures? If they are all from the 1980's, there is no point investigating further -- unless you like the 80's, of course.
What you most want to see is this -- photos of recent work (completed within the last 2 years), and if possible, some "real" customer comments included with the photos. These could include thank you cards from the various clients. Does the flower shop have any past customers that you can call? This is a great way to evaluate a florist.
6) Ask for a overview of their experiences crafting floral arrangements for whatever special occasion you need.
Do they do a lot? None at all? Seldom? You can get a lot of info here.
Think of it this way: What you are doing is requesting is their resume and conducting a job interview. Get their qualifications and experience and make sure they certified! (click here to learn more about various certification standards).
So what's the bottom line on picking the right florist for your special occasion?
Personally, I feel getting a good word of mouth recommendation is the most important element for picking the right florist.
But if you have a special occasion coming up, and there is no room for error, a great way to test the competency of any florist is to place a small order with them.
If you are trying to decide between a couple of flower shops , give both shops the exact same order. Receive the orders, and then compare them. This test is a great way to test the waters without making a huge commitment.
If you're looking top find a florist for your wedding, make sure you have your chosen professional draw up a contract detailing the specifications of your agreement -- click here for more information!