Which Florists Offer the Best Service and Prices?
Last updated in November 2019
Four weddings. A funeral. Valentine’s Day. Your anniversary. The reasons you might want to buy flowers rival the variety of posies you could plonk in a vase. And with so many florists, websites, supermarkets, and street vendors hawking everything from asters to zinnias, it can be blooming hard to determine where you can pluck the best products (and prices). But according to the ratings we get from customers, many stem sellers fall short, resulting in wilted bouquets, delayed deliveries, and disappointment instead of delight. Our ratings of area florists, shown on our Ratings Tables, should help you make the right choice.
??Buying a floral arrangement is like buying art. You’ll want a shop whose use of color and flower types fits your individual taste. This is even more important if you are spending hundreds of dollars on blooms for a wedding or other special occasion.
You’ll also want to evaluate other factors: quality of products, variety, quality of advice, reliability and promptness, and price. To find a shop that suits you, check out a few. Since most florists’ sales are arranged by phone, you need to be confident that the shop you deal with will deliver a product—sight unseen—that will please you and your recipient.
Plus, visiting a florist in person guarantees that you’re actually doing business with a local shop. For years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned consumers that some firms pose as local florists by advertising online using business names that sound like local shops. These out-of-the-area phone banks simply act as intermediaries, sending orders to truly local florists while hitting customers with added fees. Consumers taken in by these companies gripe that the flowers weren’t delivered as ordered or never arrived at all.
Our Ratings Tables show ratings that we collected from our surveys of area consumers (primarily Checkbook and Consumer Reports subscribers, but we also survey random samples from lists of other local consumers) for florist shops that received at least 10 ratings on our surveys. Click here for more information on our customer survey and other research methods. In addition, our Ratings Tables show how the stores compare for price, based on research done by our undercover shoppers.
Many of the florists listed on our Ratings Tables got high ratings from surveyed customers. But the ratings we receive for some of the shops prove that a rose is not a rose: Consumers often carped about late or missing deliveries; delivery of wrong items; poor-quality products; lousy attitudes; and delivery of arrangements that included many fewer flowers, or lower-quality ones, than ordered.
To find the right shop, consider several factors:
Our Ratings Tables report significant shop-to-shop differences in how surveyed customers rated florists for “quality of products.”
Evaluate quality yourself using our tips for selecting good flowers. Also check whether the florist is an accredited member of the American Institute of Floral Designers. Accreditation indicates that the florist has successfully completed an evaluation of flower arranging skills, passed an open-book test, and pledged to follow the Institute’s code of ethics.
In addition, check guarantees. A responsible florist should allow you to exchange flowers or arrangements for a replacement within 24 hours if you are dissatisfied. Discuss the guarantee before buying, and try to get it in writing. If you are unhappy, complain promptly.
Many floral shops annoy customers by delivering weensy arrangements, rather than the magnificent ones they describe over the phone or show in online catalogs. Our customer survey ratings on reliability will point you toward honest businesses.
You can also check up on orders you send. Have the recipient send you a picture of the arrangement, preferably posed next to something you can use as a sizing reference point—say, a can of soda.
If you are sending flowers for a friend’s birthday, you don’t want them delivered to a next-door neighbor two days late. Our Ratings Tables report how customers rated their shops for promptness.
Area florists generally received their lowest customer ratings on “variety.” As you deal with a florist, you’ll get a clearer picture of whether it offers a sufficient range of products to meet your needs.
When ordering flowers for a wedding or other major event, you’ll probably need deep-dive advice from a local florist. And even a modest gift could be improved with a little guidance. A pro can help you select blooms and give tips on care. Our customer survey results will help you find a florist that offers good advice, but you’ll need to judge for yourself whether shops listen to your questions and provide reasonable-sounding answers. Remember, the better you communicate what you want, the better the florist can advise you.
Our undercover shoppers called the companies listed on our Ratings Tables and asked for prices for a variety of arrangements, cut flowers, and potted plants. The price comparison scores on our Ratings Tables show how each florist’s prices compared to the area-wide average prices for the items it had available. The scores are standardized to a base of $100. A score of $120 means the florist was 20 percent more expensive than the average store for the items it had available. We found some shops charge nearly three times as much as their local competitors.
Interestingly, there appears to be little relationship between what you pay and what you get. We found that highly rated florists were about as likely to have low prices as poorly rated ones.
Our price comparison scores are based on prices quoted for items picked up at the florist. Because florists’ formulas for pricing local delivery are too varied and complex to sum up in our ratings table, you’ll have to ask each pro about them.