Are you ready for February 14th? With all the bad news out there and a very slow start to January, it's easy to think this Valentine's Day might not be good. Take heart - there is good news out there. The economy is improving, fuel prices are going down, the cost of flowers is getting more stable, supply chains are back to normal levels, and we are seeing more new farms and businesses joining our industry. One thing is for sure - Love never goes out of style and Valentine's Day remains a key holiday for florists. Remember it's a last minute holiday, so don't be unprepared and let your sales suffer.
Valentine's Day is especially difficult because you have just one day to make it right and most of your customers want their deliveries early. This year Valentine's Day falls on Wednesday - which is good. Any time Valentine's Day falls during the beginning or middle of the week and not on a weekend, florists generally do very well.
Here are are a few tips to help you prepare for the big day:
1. Give adequate lead time to vendors. The flower industry operates on supply and demand. The more you know, the better you can buy. Pre-order what you would normally expect, and bump it up by 5-10% to account for the Wednesday holiday. Ideally you should order with vendors by mid-January so you can be assured your product is secured.
2. Keep marketing going on social media. Rev up your social media and keep your name front and center with Valentine's Day reminders. People are busy and distracted - so short posts and visuals will help remind them you're their go to florist.
3. Don't sell yourself short on service. It's ok to up your delivery charge on the busiest day of the year. After all, you'll be adding an extraordinary amount of labor to make your deliveries run smoothly.
4. Do all the prep-work you can ahead of time. Have staff green vases a week in advance so they are ready to be finished with flowers and go the day of. A few days before Valentine's Day start rose arrangements so they can be tagged and ready to go out for delivery. Assemble and label your delivery boxes, fill water tubes, cut ribbons, etc. - streamlining any task that will save you time the morning of Valentine's Day.
5. Make room in your shop. Rose arrangements take up space, so make sure you organize your workspace and cooler to accommodate additional room.
6. Keep an eye on the weather. February is always hard to predict when it comes to snow storms. Weather in some areas is always an issue on Valentine's Day. Some customers may be willing to take deliveries early if they know the weather will be bad and their order might be delayed.
7. Hire plenty of extra drivers for that day and have one person be responsible for dispatching deliveries. Consider paying extra drivers by the delivery rather than the hour, which incents them to perform. Colleges, restaurants, and delivery services are good sources to recruit drivers. Set up delivery routes ahead of time and organize orders into zones in your shop. Make one person responsible for dispatching and managing your drivers. This way you will be able to expedite the delivery times and manage many more deliveries than on a normal day of business. You don't want to be delivering flowers at 10 p.m. on the holiday, so be prepared to hire more drivers than you need, so you can finish the day before 5 p.m.
With some well thought out preparation, planning and an organized staff, you can get through the day smoothly.
"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."
Charles M. Schulz