Here are two things many florists can depend on for Valentine’s Day: last-minute orders and seasonal hires who flake or turn out to be terrible fits for even short-term gigs.
To stay ahead of the latter challenge, Tim Galea has tweaked his approach to finding and training seasonal drivers for the Valentine’s Day rush. A big priority in his approach? Generating lots of leads.
“It is important to recruit a few more than you think you really need,” said Galea, a member of the Society of American Florists’ Retailers Council and the longtime owner of Norton’s Flowers & Gifts in Ypsilanti, Michigan . “There are always no-shows and slow-pokes and people who quit after just one delivery run.”
Based on sales data from recent years, Galea expects to have 700 orders that will need to be delivered over the course of a few days and intends to hire approximately 40 to 50 drivers to handle the volume. While it’s impossible to completely prevent hiring bad apples, Galea keeps it to a minimum by seeking recommendations from customers and his year-round employees.
It’s not just about selecting dependable people with a clean driving record, however. Galea also evaluates prospects’ demeanor, as they will represent his brand. This is especially critical for all those customers who order online and never interact with the Norton’s sales people; the driver is the only human impression they have of the shop.
Having drivers who are courteous, careful when handling the flowers, thorough in delivering them, and dressed professionally can provide positive client interactions and increase likelihood for future business. For a good reflection on his brand, Galea insists on delivery with a smile and a note of gratitude.
One week before Valentine’s Day, Galea walks his drivers through the specific nuances of the delivery process. He explains that cold weather can easily damage flowers, plants, and gourmet baskets. He asks drivers to have recipients sign for their gifts before taking them out of delivery vehicles, and insists that they never to leave products unprotected outside — even if customers request it. This policy ensures that people receive their flowers in a presentable condition for the recipient. If nobody answers the door or their phone, Galea instructs drivers to ask neighbors if they would watch the flowers until the recipient returns home. When neighbors agree to look after the product, the driver leaves a voicemail with the customer notifying them where they can find the order.
For more advice on handling holiday deliveries, read “How to Succeed in Holiday Business (Without Really Crying).”