Fleet Solutions for the Valentine’s Day Flower Rush
The most important day of the year for flower shops is just days away. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and flower shops across the country are prepping stems and and assembling blooms ahead of the holiday of love. In reality, this is the easy part for many small flower shops. Getting all those flowers out the door and delivered? That’s where things can get tricky.
Meet Heather Mathiau. She’s a florist of more than three decades and the proud owner of Wild Flowers of Tolland in Tolland, Connecticut. She estimates business triples during the Valentine’s Day holiday.
“It’s not like Mother’s Day or Christmas where we can spread [deliveries] out throughout the week,” she told Fluid Truck.
Getting deliveries to everybody on time is important to Mathiau, and she loves that she’s served many of her clients for years.
“I’ve been a part of every milestone of their lives. Their prom flowers. Their weddings. Their baby’s flowers. Their parents’ funerals. Every major part of their lives,” she said.
High demand and limited time can come with hiccups.
Valentine’s Day generates 40% of holiday revenues in the U.S., leaving no room for error and the need for a reliable system to get the orders filled and out the door on time.
Mathiau finds drivers through Facebook and fills the positions quickly. When it comes to vehicles for them to drive? She usually rents a few extra vans through the Fluid Truck app to get the job done.
When compared to other rental companies?
“Fluid [Truck] is easier because there’s a lot more flexibility, and not having to return a car when we are done is the best thing in the world,” she said. “When we’ve worked almost 24 hours the day before, the last thing I want to do is go return a van.”
We don’t blame her. With Fluid Truck, it’s easy to extend your reservation straight from your phone so you aren’t obligated to make a long day even longer with late-night returns. Plus, the app operates 24/7, 365 days a year so there’s no stress of working within restrictive rental counter hours.
We also spoke with Caryl Gatus, owner of TLC Florals near Sherman Oaks, California.
“Because I own an event rental company and a flower company, we need box trucks for our deliveries,” she explained. “We need them every week.”
Gatus said for the Valentine’s Day holiday, her crews typically deliver 250 or more flower arrangements.
She said Fluid Truck helps her seasonal business. At times, her two sprinter vans are enough, but other months her team needs a few extra delivery vehicles.
“I had a [Fluid Truck] big truck for seven months of last year,” she said. “Some weekends we need more, but we don’t need five trucks all year-round.”
She said she can almost always get one last minute, and when she hasn’t been able to, the Fluid Truck team has helped maneuver one to her location.
How does fleet tech come into play?
The Fluid Truck app makes it simple for business owners to manage deliveries and drivers. Gatus said the app helps keep her drivers on track without complicated steps to grab a truck and get going.
“My guys have gotten used to the app, so now I have three of them that can go pick [a vehicle] up,” she said. “It’s user-friendly and easy.”
In the Fluid Truck app, shop owners can decide if they need a cargo van, box truck, pickup truck, or SUV. With an app store rating of 4.8/5, our technology is as efficient as our first-class fleet of vehicles. You can reserve by the hour, day, or week, allowing 24/7 instant access to whatever vehicle you need. The free admin tools help shop owners stay organized, monitor drivers’ locations, schedule driver assignments, and even keep tabs on driving habits.
“I am really happy with Fluid Truck. I am hoping toward the end of the month, I am going to take one of the long-term rentals,” Gatus said.
Need to extend your reservation for more last-minute deliveries? Not a problem. You can do it with the click of a button.
Fluid Truck customer Kory Garvis is the owner and lead designer at Springvale Floral out of Leesburg, Virginia. Her company does large-scale floral design for weddings and events.
“I used Fluid for its ease of use and availability,” she said. “My experience has been great and seamless.”
Physically getting her carefully crafted floral displays to customers is the final step in the process.
“Flowers and people are my passion and bringing them together through art is my dream,” she told Fluid Truck.
How has the flower industry changed over the past decade?
Flowers for weddings? Baby showers? It’s all back in need now that the pandemic isn’t standing in the way. Industry statistics show the market size of online flower shops is predicted to see a 2.8% hike in 2022.
The online flower industry in the United States grew by 8.5% between 2015 and 2020. Market research points to online ordering as one reason for the industry’s steady growth. Many shops receive orders through an array of websites, not just through their local network.
Take it from Heather Mathiau.
“There’s definitely a lot more online ordering, and we are a part of a couple wire services,” she told Fluid Truck. “The orders just come in and in.”
When Fluid truck spoke with John Triggol, the owner of Indy Flowers in Indiana, he said there’s been massive growth in the industry since he started his business in 2008.
“The access to fresh flowers, beyond the traditional ones, has exploded the volume in the market over the last 20 years, '' he said. “Fresh flowers is a tricky business, and as logistics got fine-tuned, the market just took off.”
What about the price for blooms and delivery service?
“If there’s anywhere we’ve had to add to the price, it’s on the shipping and delivery side where we’ve seen an acute spike in cost there,” Seth Goldman, CEO of flower delivery service Urban Stems, said on an CNN Business interview.
Flower shop owners say consumers can expect to pay more this year. In the Kansas City, Missouri area, the owner of Fiddly Fig Florist told local news station KSHB that her shop is experiencing a 40% to 50% increase in the shop’s costs.
"We are doing what we can to tighten up what we buy and have less waste because we deal with a perishable product,” she told the station.
This year, a dozen red roses will cost $95 at her shop when they’re typically $80.
“It’s sort of a miracle of logistics that you can walk into almost any store and have fresh flowers,” said Triggol.
He said it’s also important that his delivery crews get on the road as soon as possible. When using other rental companies in the past, he said the process of renting out the cargo vans would simply take too long.
“Having the drivers go in, and sign in, and wait for a service manager, and then having them go check the truck with them, it’s just horrendous,” he said.
“When I have 25 or 30 drivers over a period of days, those deliveries are critical,” said Triggol.
Fortunately, Triggol found Fluid Truck. Now, his drivers can simply arrive at the vehicle, take inspection photos with their mobile phone, and be on their way.
How can renting a vehicle help small floral shops save?
Owning a fleet comes with costs. Maintenance and repair, secure parking and storage, and insurance add up. Plus, no matter how well a vehicle is maintained, it will depreciate in value as the years go on.
Renting vehicles through Fluid Truck can cut out these added costs so you’re only paying for a vehicle when you need it. Click here for a full breakdown of Fluid Truck’s Business tools.
“The difficulty for Valentine’s Day is that it’s 20 times the volume from a regular week,” said Triggol. “To scale up to the challenge, we need cargo vans. They are a critical element for the holiday.”
For any seasonal business with fluctuating vehicle needs, Fluid Truck is here to save the day! Visit the Fluid Truck website to get started.