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What Are Flower Wire Services?

Posted on May 31st, 2023

Floral wire services have been around for decades, providing a way for customers to order and send flowers to different parts of the world. 

However, while these services may seem like a good idea on the surface, they come with a host of issues that make them a bad deal for florists. In this blog, we will explore what a floral wire service is, the issues it creates, and why it is not a good option for florists.


florist -wire-services-tied down

Flower Wire Service, How It  Works

A floral wire service is a company that acts as an intermediary between customers and florists.  Customers can place orders with the wire service, and the wire service then relays the order to a local florist who fulfills the order and delivers the flowers. The wire service takes a commission (a BIG one!) on the sale, and the local florist is left with a reduced profit margin. While this model may seem convenient for customers, it creates several issues for florists.

Flower Wire In

The Broker (Flower Wire Service Provider) will keep the customers (Shipping/Service Fees & Taxes) and send the filling florist a total amount in which to fill the order.

Flower Wire Outs

If you are the sending florist and are sending to a flower shop, you will receive 20% and keep the customer’s delivery fee and tax (Some florists extend half of the delivery fee to the filling florist), this is ultimately your choice.


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Floral Wire Service Math

Floral wire service payments can be a nightmare for florists, as the hidden fees and deductions can often cause them to lose money on orders they fulfill. Here is a general breakdown of how flower wire payments work.


Additional Floral Wire Service Fees and Charges

  • Non-confirmed delivery orders before the allotted time.
  • Delayed Orders – make sure to cancel orders you cannot fill.
  • Hardware (computer, printer, cash drawer, receipt printer) provided by wire service.
  • Membership Fees
  • Advertising Fees
  • Floral Product Fees
  • Expect a bill if your filing products did not cover all your fees.
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Issues with Wire Floral Services

Lack of Control Over Quality

Another significant issue with floral wire services is that they often do not give florists control over the quality of the flowers they are delivering. When a wire service relays an order to a florist, they may not specify the exact flowers that the customer wants or may make substitutions based on what is available at the local florist’s shop.

This lack of control over the quality of the flowers can lead to dissatisfied customers, who may blame the local florist for any issues with the flowers rather than the wire service. This can harm the reputation of the florist and make it harder for them to attract new customers.

Limited Personalization For Customers

Wire floral services do not allow for much personalization of floral arrangements. Customers can choose from a range of pre-designed arrangements – “cookie-cutter”, but they cannot customize them much beyond that. This lack of personalization can make the floral arrangements feel generic and impersonal.

Surprised Hidden Fees

Wire floral services often have hidden fees that are not disclosed upfront. These fees can include delivery fees, service fees, and processing fees. Customers may not be aware of these fees until they receive their bill, which can cause frustration.

Delayed Delivery For Customers

Another issue with wire floral services is delayed delivery. Since the wire floral service acts as a middleman between the customer and the local florist, there is a higher chance of delayed delivery. This can be frustrating, especially if the floral arrangement is for a special occasion.

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Why Wire Floral Services are Bad for Florists

Low-Profit Margins For Florists

One of the most significant issues with floral wire services is that they reduce the profit margins for florists. Wire services typically take a commission of between 20-30% on the sale, leaving florists with a much smaller profit margin than if they had sold the flowers directly to the customer.

This reduction in profit margins can make it difficult for florists to stay in business, especially when they are competing with other florists who are also using wire services. Many florists end up having to cut corners to make ends meet, such as using lower-quality flowers or reducing staff hours.

Price Competition Against Lower Prices

Floral wire services often promote themselves based on price, which can create a race to the bottom among local florists. When customers are comparing prices between different wire services, they may choose the one with the lowest price, even if it means that the local florist is left with a tiny profit margin.

This price competition can be damaging to florists, who may find themselves undercut by other florists who are willing to sell flowers at a lower price to attract customers. This can lead to a vicious cycle of lower prices and reduced profit margins.

Limited Creativity For Florists

Wire floral services often limit the creativity of local florists. Florists are often given a specific set of guidelines to follow when creating floral arrangements. This can limit their creativity and make it difficult for them to showcase their skills and unique style.

Wire Services Create Bad Reviews

When customers order flowers through a wire service, they often do not know which local florist will be fulfilling the order. This means that the local florist misses out on the opportunity to build their brand and create a relationship with the customer.

Building a brand is essential for florists, who rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat business to stay afloat.

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Should you join a Flower Wire Service?

Wire floral services are causing a lot of issues in the florist industry. They can result in arrangements with lower-quality flowers, lack of personalization, hidden fees, delayed delivery, decrease in profit margins, limited creativity, and increased competition. 

Florists are encouraged to be independent and focus on building relationships with their customers and providing high-quality personalized service to stand out from wire floral services.

Customers are encouraged to support local florists and take the time to find a florist who can provide personalized service and high-quality floral arrangements.

You have the choice – No longer in the flower industry is joining a flower wire service mandatory.

The telegraph has come and gone and we now have the Internet which allows customers to find florists all over the world.


That being said – joining a flower wire service is a personal decision for your flower business. Reviewing your monthly statement is key.


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16 thoughts on “What Are Flower Wire Services?”

  1. There are a whole bunch of negatives and positives about wire services. Your older several generation 3 shop towns are negative, the shops starting in suburbs being built with over 500 shops in a metro city are positive of having wire services. First, you have to decide what type of town you are located in. Second, you need to do some local research of the area as far as what generation is living in the area, what level price point are the homes in the area, what is the income level? (type of vehicles says alot!) Third , what type of industry is in the area? (hospital district, energy , technology districts, malls, quaint shops/restaurants, skyscrapers, etc.) If millennials are heavy in area, they are constantly in iphone mode, you will find 1 out of 100 walk in your shop, they love ordering everything on that phone! so wire service will be great for you…they do order flowers or 1st time flower buyers believe it or not! Younger baby boomers (1964-1954) Buy around 5 times a year. They love googling ….they will either come to your shop or order on line from your website, if you are not near them forget them coming in to see you, they will just order online from blinking lights (WS). Very rarely will older boomers (70’s-80′ year olds) order over the internet, they will call or come to you with walkers right around Christmas & Easter. If you do decide to get WS, only put biz card in envelope and strickly follow the recipe book on every order!!! Always ask for a delivery, if they cancel order you didn’t need the stress anyways…Right in holiday area they will give you delivery. Oh! One last important tip…DO NOT FILL BELOW YOUR SET MINIMUM, if you do you will start to loose money! Good Luck in your decision for your business!

  2. Elisha Hodge says:

    Great breakdown for those who want to know how the services work.

  3. Russ says:

    In terms of what percent the filling florist get’s to keep, it’s actually less than the 80% listed in this article. All the major wire services FTD, Teleflora and BloomNet pay 20% to the sending florist and keep 7-10% for themselves (clearing house fee). They also charge a per order transmission fee of about $2.

    So Total paid to local florist at the end of the month $49.99 x 70% = $34.99 – $2 Transmission Fee = $32.99

    Our shop only has 1 wire service (FTD) and we do a good amount of volume with them. That being said we have to be careful during major holidays not to over extend ourselves on wire orders and end up having to turn away full paying customers.

    We try to keep wire services at no more than 10-15% of our total sales (we recently quit bloom net in order to reduce our wire sales as a percent to total.

    On the Pro Side, it helps to keep us busy when we may otherwise be slow and helps me keep additional designers on staff.

    On the negative side, The “order collectors” such as AVAS, Wesley Berry, Etc… most of these people don’t know the difference between a Hydrangea and a Spray Daisy, we find that they often charge the customer much MUCH more than they send to us. You need to document exactly what you put in every arrangement because the photo’s on their websites often are over value or have all the flowers shown on the front of the arrangement…. so the customer is expecting a much larger arrangement than what they will receive and when they complain you need to be able to provide documentation to the wire service that you filled the arrangement to value and/or recipe.

    Finally, if you do FTD and REJECT a lot of orders (or any orders for that matter), understand that you are being charged that $2 per order transmision fee even on the orders that you reject. When you get your statement each month, call customer service and ask them to refund the transmission fee for cancelled and rejected orders and they will put a credit on your next statement. This saves me about $70 per month and during valentines and mother’s day it’s $200+ as we REJECT a LOT of orders.

  4. I cant stand the wire service…all they do is suck u dry.They come in and sign you up..then when the billing comes..they get absent minded.They also don’t tell you about all the fee’s that come after the trial periods. They lie so much…they believe they are telling the truth.Stay away from the shark infested waters.Beware…!!!

  5. Victor West says:

    I think of a wire service as a tool. Like a hammer or electric drill. Depending on your needs determines what tool you need. Do you need a black and decker corded drill for $19.99 that has limited functionality or a Makita brushless 20volt comercial grade costing $399.99?

    If used properly they can help you make $ if not then will drain you dry. You should not to look at a wire service to bring you business via wire ins. That is how they sell it but not what you should rely on. We belong for the website. Marketing, technology and ability to send orders out of our delivery area. I do not have time or the expertise to manage our website and technology pays for itself. Remember you only need one good hammer to drive a nail.

  6. Steve Wilson says:

    If you belong to a wire service…and especially one that you process your credit cards through…be sure to monitor your fees and expenses every quarter to be sure you are getting a fair shake. What happened to my company over many years is that I found that while initially clearing my credit cards through the wire service in the early years went from being a smart move to a not-so-smart idea. Over time, we recognized that more and more folks were ordering online and/or calling distant flower shops themselves. This caused our wire-out business to slump over time as more and more people were making the call themselves. We also recognized that more and more folks were using credit cards rather than in-house accounts since they get reward miles or points.

    With a popular wire service out there now, the credit cards are offered with 0% clearing fee UP TO your sending dollar-volume. What happens after you hit your threshold? Those clearing fees become extremely expensive, and any savings are quickly (and quietly) eaten up. So for us….our clearing fees skyrocketed with less outgoing orders…and with more cards to clear. I did the math…and found that my regular bank offered their merchant services for far less (by 1.5%) than what I was paying the wire service. And besides, I was paying the wire service close to $2,000 a month just to clear my cards…and it wasn’t hard to determine that it was a losing deal. With my regular bank, I also negotiated my 6.5% business loan down to 4.29% with the promise of moving my merchant account over to them. Not only do I save a nominal $100 in annual administrative fees, but my clearing fees are greatly reduced for each charge, and I save a huge bundle on business loan interest. Your merchant account is a huge asset. Use it to your best advantage. If you clear your cards through a wire service, offer it to your bank…and use it as leverage!

    Now on to the service. Here we were paying all those fees…membership, advertising, this fee, that fee…etc…all for business that gets you 70% of your delivered order. Understand that the best run shops are lucky to realize and clear a 10% overall profit after taxes. You see the problem… Why would anyone want to pay out 30% of their business when they don’t even clear that much profit…and that’s just on the commissions…not including all the fees….and paying more for the credit card clearing than they have to! It was a no-brainer for us to opt out of wire services.

    Now on to exiting the service. If you decide to quit the wire services, read and understand the terms and steps that have to be understood and taken. In the wire service we were in, it called for notification to exit…and that it must be received by a certain date to be sure you are excluded from the next directory…or you are held liable for all directory expenses for the life of that particular directory….usually three months. Such as was in my case, I missed the deadline by a week or so…so I had to live up to the terms. The terms state that you are held ONLY to those expenses related to the directory….the directory fee and advertising fees…NOT those fees associated with credit cards (unless you keep the program for the remaining time), membership, quality control, etc. These examples are not directory expenses. The wire service issued our final bill…and it came to nearly $2,000.00. I quickly noticed that we were being billed for ALL expenses for the entire three months because we were in the directory. After several letters and phone calls, I finally got the wire service to live up to their own written terms (found in the small foreign directory) that we be charged ONLY for directory fees….and my final bill was reduced from $2,000 to $220.00. They argued…but was to no avail because I was just pointing out their own terms… Don’t let them push you around.

  7. good, Great breakdown for those who want to know how the services work.

  8. I am a florist and would like to hear about your wire service

  9. MariaReyes Hourihan says:

    I would like to know how to start business in floral connect to wire services

  10. Teena says:

    The one advantage of having a wire service is using up flowers on hand more frequently, thus my supply was always fresh. They always had orders for sympathy arrangements which were great for using up older blooms.

  11. Jennifer Eaton says:

    Wire services are garbage and are RUINING the industry- they are setting false expectations as to what customers should be spending for florals. All of their photos are of fully opened florals designed in one direction- who can deliver that and have it last for any length of time? For this reason alone (plus a multitude of others) DO NOT USE wire services.

  12. Frank Smetak says:

    Reading the comments, I still don’t see a clear explanation of how you make money with a wire service. I don’t want anyone else involved in my business, my website, my money. Forget these parasites and focus on a solid website. Most people “Google” the nearest flower shop to the destination, go to the website and order online from a real local flower shop. Also, the florist lobbying group, Society of American Florists, is paid for by wire services and order gatherers, follow the money.

  13. Geni Quintanilla says:

    Great breakdown clear enough to understand that you should NOT join a cable service, I was with Bloomnet, Teleflora and 1800 flowers at the beginning of my florist business and it just helps me understand that all wire services are only good for giving you bad reputation and to throw the little profit you make with them with great effort down the drain as you have to invest so MUCH in big variety of flowers inventory, they have no consideration for their florist partners when they put up their super LOW DEALS showing Big Bouquet at so low prices and they expect small stores to make Miracle at the time of design and deliver, and they pushed the shops for early deliveries when they keep the fees they charge for deliveries and extra fees for early deliveries, being that gasoline is so expensive…
    Bloomnet, Avas Flowers, 1800Flowers prices are the worst. I don’t understand why we have to pay for Membership ??? what is the benefits when they charge you for everything !
    and the WROST of all is when you see the little check they give after all the fees they charge you at the end of the month. NIGHTMARE !

  14. Michael James says:

    Wire Services are mostly a rip off. Keep in mind that on same-day orders you frequently get orders that other Floral Shops are REJECTING. This can be terrible on Valentines Day… Be sure to customize your WS by indicating ZIP CODES that you WILL NOT SERVE. In a metropolis there are some buildings where it’s a nightmare to go through their security. (Remember those addresses and don’t make the same mistake twice!). Generally, if you can think of WS as a means to provide “gravy” on top of the “meat & potatoes” orders that you get 100% payment… then they can help you move and get paid for extra product you have laying around. I never met a “Designer’s Choice” order that I didn’t LOVE!

  15. floranext is all you need people!!!! if someone comes in and wants flowers in another state etc then give them a number of a florist in that area excluding order gather’s !!!! all wire services are are a rip off and more things you have to worry about on a daily basis !!! we had the whole ftd system have you ever really read the statement they nickel and dime you for everything!!!! we have had floranext for around 5 years and every florist that calls i always promote it!!! an easy 1 time fee each month!!!

    thank you floranext!!!!

  16. Flowers of Worth Avenue says:

    When we bought our shop, the previous owner had the whole old-fashioned wire service setup. She had everything through a different wire service; credit card processing, merchant services, website. We did the math, and after we subtracted out our overhead, cost of flowers, etc. etc. etc., we were making %1 on every order sent or received through FTD or Teleflora. The previous owner was shocked that we would cut them out, she THOUGHT she was so dependent on them. We haven’t looked back.
    What we did keep though was Flower Shop Network mainly as our website servicer. Their terms are far more reasonable than FTD and Teleflora. Instead of taking commission on every order, they charge a flat annual membership. For this, they offer all of the services of the bigger wire service without nearly as many of the drawbacks mentioned in this post.
    They let us upload photos of our arrangements at our prices to our website. Being able to customize a website without needing to know HTML is worth the annual membership alone. We keep %100 of profits from our online orders too.
    When we do need to send a floral delivery out, it’s an 80/20 split with a flat $4.99 wire fee. It’s a pretty small network, so so we don’t really have to worry about wire-in orders constantly eating away at our bottom line. We get one maybe once a month? We also don’t really get those mystery orders from Timbuktu that have been passed from middle man to middle man until you wind up with $75 to copy a picture of a $200 arrangement with an incredibly specific container and flowers either. We’re a premium shop with high-end orders, so having to stock gerberas, carns, alstro and other fillers in all different colors for a order that MIGHT come in isn’t even worth the space in our cooler.
    It also integrates with Floranext. Floranext makes an annoying noise until we either accept or reject the order.

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