Floral Industry Background Topic 2091 By Katie Wagar
There are three branches which make up the background of the floral industry: • The Grower--where the flowers are grown. • The Wholesaler--the middle person who goes between the grower and the retailer. • The Retailer--the local flower shop. • .
Quite often these three businesses are intermingled • The retail florist frequently will grow his/her own flowers in greenhouses and thereby omit using both the grower and the wholesaler. • Some larger flower shops use flowers in such quantities that they will order directly from the grower, omitting the wholesaler.
The smaller shop will need to use both the grower and the wholesaler because he/she neither has the facilities for growing his/her own, nor could he/she possibly use enough flowers to fulfill the minimum order that is required by the wholesaler.
The Grower • Commercial growers operate their plants scientifically. • They have, in most instances, studied floriculture, where they acquired a knowledge of entomology, plant pathology, soil chemistry and greenhouse management. • If their own background does not include this training, then they may learn from others who have been trained in these things.
The Grower • The grower not only has a great investment in education and training, but also in the physical equipment required for growing. • Even the smallest grower, who operates without a greenhouse, has an investment in land, tools and equipment that amounts to thousands of dollars. • The cost of growing flowers under glass takes thousands of dollars more capital for greenhouses, heating installation, various equipment and planting stock.
The Grower • To take some of the gamble out of their business, growers insure themselves against fire, theft, wind and hail damage to their greenhouse and equipment. They cannot insure against crop and market failures. • Even under glass they are at the mercy of the weather to a large extent and yet must do everything possible to time their crops to meet the demand.
This is particularly important on flower-buying holidays, when the market prices are high because of the heavy demand. • Some growers specialize in certain crops, such as orchids, carnations, roses, chrysanthemums and potted plants while others grow diversified crops.
The Grower • The business of growing flowers commercially is not vested in the hands of a few companies, but is controlled by thousands of independent growers located in many communities. • Their problems and methods of operation vary according to the climate, size of the community and type of growing.
The Wholesaler • Wholesale florists operate as distributors of all cut flower stock consigned or sold to them by growers. • Retail florists rely on the wholesaler to fill their requirements for flowers of all kinds. • Many wholesale florists also carry floral supplies, such as ribbon, baskets, moss, frames, etc.
Some wholesalers handle a general line of cut flowers and supplies, whereas others handle only flowers of certain varieties or specialize in supplies • Supplies generally are purchased by wholesalers and rarely consigned to them.
It has been estimated that about two-thirds of the flowers on the market are consigned to wholesalers and the remainder are purchased outright. • Most wholesale houses obtain flowers from a number of growers, some of whom may be located in other parts of the country.
The reason for this is obvious. • It enables the wholesaler to have a steady supply at all times. • When some varieties are not available locally, flowers are shipped in from distant growers.
Growers might indicate to the wholesaler the price they would desire, but most often the price is left to the discretion of the wholesaler. • They are expected to obtain as much as possible for the stock consigned to them. • The wholesaler usually receives a fifteen percent commission for handling greenhouse flowers and collecting the accounts from retail florists.
It is customary for them to receive a larger commission on consignments from growers of outdoor stock, particularly when shipped from distant points. • This difference is offset by shipping costs and gives some protection to their regular growers. • Everything else being equal, the stock grown locally will sell first.
The major wholesale flower markets, composed of several wholesale florists, are found in such cities as Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, etc. • Weekly reports of current flower prices and general conditions on these markets are published in the trade papers for the information of the industry. • These flower market quotations give the low and high price quoted on each flower variety for that week.
Buying practices. The retail florist receives great benefits from the facilities of wholesale florists. • Stock from many growers is assembled for the retailer's selection, saving them innumerable trips to greenhouses and fields to secure the same flowers. • In addition to that, in larger cities, the wholesale houses usually are concentrated in one section of the city, in many cases within the radius of a few blocks or even in one large building-- a definite convenience for all concerned.
Many of the flowers are purchased by retail florists via the telephone, some shops send their buyers to market daily. • Other florists visit the market in person once or twice a week and order by telephone on other days. • Some shops make it a practice to stock up heavily one day a week.
Most wholesale florists also run a delivery service for more rural areas. • Certainly it is not practical for a town with only one or two florists to have a wholesale florist. • It also is not practical for the florist to go to town every day to get flowers for daily orders.
Therefore, many wholesalers own refrigerated trucks that are sent out on a daily route with a general selection of flowers for the florists to choose from. • Most florists in rural areas have two or three wholesale trucks stopping at their shops to supply them with flowers.
A large number of standing orders are placed by retail shops to cover their minimum requirements. These orders receive preferred attention and are augmented by other purchases as needed.
Grower-Wholesalers • Many growers are in reality also wholesalers, in that they sell flowers direct to retail florists, without the facilities of an established wholesale house. • Most pot plant growers deal directly with the retail florist.
Their supply of blooming plants, such as chrysanthemums, poinsettias, Easter lilies, azaleas, tulips, etc., account for a substantial volume of florists' business, particularly at holiday times. • One obvious reason for sale of pot plants direct to the retailer from the grower is convenience. • The bulk of potted plants and the extra handling and care required in storage, without greenhouse facilities, make any other method impractical.
However, some are sold in wholesale houses from samples, with delivery direct from greenhouses. • Potted blooming plants are sold in competition with cut flowers and often are preferred because of more reasonable prices.
Commercial growers of foliage plants also sell directly to retail florists, although some distribution of their stock is made through wholesale houses.
Taking into consideration the quantity of stock sold by growers to retailers, in addition to the quantity sold by retail growers direct to consumers, it is apparent that a substantial portion of all flowers sold move through regular wholesale channels.
ENTRY-LEVEL OCCUPATIONS • Floral Shop Helper • Delivery Person • Floral Designer • Sales person • Office Person
Floral Shop Helper • Employees who assist other workers in a floral shop, by performing a variety of duties, are considered helpers; and may be classified according to the worker assisted (designer helper, office helper).
Employees who assist in more than just one area of the store are often called by a more general title: floral shop helper, utility helper, general services helper. • . A helper may learn the job tasks of a designer or salesperson, but is usually doing so without agreement that such is the purpose of the employment.
A variety of duties may be performed by a helper, such as (preparing vases and containers; stocking merchandise and supplies; preparing accessories for corsages; cleaning storage containers, trimming, splitting, cutting, or searing fresh flowers; care for display plants; wrap arrangements and plants; cleaning work area, and equipment; and furnishing a designer with materials, supplies, and equipment/tools). • A helper also may be requested to make bows, bud vases, and dish gardens; prepare potted plants; assist with routing deliveries, make deliveries; check in merchandise; and run errands.
On occasion, by request, a helper may assist customers, write orders, and handle telephone orders.
Delivery person • The exact duties of a Delivery person will vary, depending on the size of the store. • The primary duty involves the delivery of floral products to the home of customers and places of business. • Because of these contacts with the public the Delivery person must be informative, courteous, and a knowledgeable and safe driver.
The Delivery person must appear neat and clean at all times; properly greet customers, and handle customers, and handle customer questions about the care of flowers and plants; load and unload products carefully, secure flowers and plants during transportation; and repair, return, or replace any transit-damaged products. • The Delivery person must have knowledge of the store's delivery area; the ability to read maps; deliveries must be timely-right day and time-and trips organized as not to waste time and energy.
The Delivery person may be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the delivery vehicle: daily checks for gas, oil, and water levels; keeping vehicle's interior and exterior clean and neat; and reporting need for vehicle maintenance work. • The Delivery person is usually expected to check-in merchandise, stock and mark merchandise, sweep floors, run errands, and other assigned duties when not on deliveries.
The Delivery person is also responsible for completing delivery forms, handling C.O.D. and cash transactions, and following the policies and procedures of the store. • The Delivery person may on occasion be requested to handle walk-in and telephone customers.
Floral Designer • Floral designers create arrangements using flowers, floral products, and/or plants for events, such as weddings, holidays, funerals, birthdays, and others. • Designers may confer directly with the customer regarding price and type of arrangement, or the designer follows information from an order form.
Designers must also give estimates on design work by utilizing knowledge of design, product availability and cost, and container/material costs. Designers are required to use time efficiently to complete work orders promptly and profitably. • Designers also make dish gardens, terrariums, sprays, wreaths, bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres. Designers may also decorate building, halls, churches, or other facilities; wrap and prepare arrangements and plants for delivery; duplicate arrangement designs if customers order interior, window, and counter display planning and construction.
Designers must have knowledge of flower/plant care, handling, availability, and store ordering procedure. • Housekeeping duties include keeping the design area clean/cooler clean and attractive for display, and flower stock properly rotated. • Designers often are expected to assist walk-in and telephone customers, operate the cash register, place orders for out-of-town delivery, and handle customer concerns and complaints. • Designers utilize knowledge of social and religious customs when assisting customers and making arrangements.
Salesperson • Salespersons in floral stores sell fresh and permanent flowers, potted plants, floral pieces and arrangements, and giftware. Salesperson may specialize in certain product lines (gifts, plants, flowers) or provide special consultant services (wedding, interior design, funeral). • Salespersons greet customers; determine needs; advises/assists regarding type of flower, arrangement, decorations, gift, and services for specific occasions; uses suggestive selling; and handles objectives and complaints.
The salesperson must appear neat and clean at all times; utilize knowledge of social and religious customs, be informative, courteous, and knowledgeable of flowers and plants, their care, product availability, pricing and the assortment of arrangements/products available. • Salespersons are responsible for completing order forms from walk-in customers and telephone customers; handling credit sales, accepting checks and credit cards; and handling a cash sale.
Planning and constructing counter, window and interior displays using store merchandise and props may be a responsibility of salespersons. • Salespersons may contact florist in other communities to place orders for out-of-town delivery; assist in designing; prepare vases and containers; make corsages; make bud vases; and other floral decorations.
Salespersons are expected to handle customers' payment of bills. Salespersons may also be responsible for sending out billing for charge customers. • Housekeeping duties include maintaining the store's floors.
Office person • Keeps complete set of records of financial transactions of floral shop: verifies and enters details of transactions as they occur or in chronological order in account and cash journals from sales orders, invoices, check stubs, and inventory records. • Summarizes details on separate ledger, using adding or calculating machine, and transfer data to general ledger. Balances books and complies reports to show cash receipts and expenditures, accounts payable and receivable, profit and loss, and other items pertinent to store.
Calculates employee wages from store records or time cards and prepares checks. May prepare withholding, Social Security, and other tax reports. • May enter charges and payments to customer accounts, and complete and prepare customer charge statements on a timely basis, accept payments from customers, and confer with customers having delinquent accounts.