Where to Order Flowers for Mother's Day: Online vs. Local Florists


young woman embrace with small girl
Photo credit: petrenkod/istockphoto

As Mother's Day approaches, you might find yourself scouring pages of colorful floral arrangements for the perfect blooms to show how much you care. In a 2018 survey by the National Retail Federation, about 7 in 10 respondents were planning to buy flowers for Mother's Day, spending an estimated total of $2.6 billion. That means the biggest flower delivery services will be trotting out plenty of ads and special deals in hopes of winning your clicks — and your cash.

Cheapism.com compared flower delivery services by gathering prices from four major providers — FTD, Teleflora, ProFlowers, and 1-800-Flowers — as well as several local florists across the country. Here's what we found:

  • ProFlowers quoted the lowest price. A simple arrangement of a dozen pink roses with a glass vase totaled $68.96 including standard delivery. At 1-800-Flowers, the second-cheapest service, the same order cost $74.98.
  • Local florists were in the middle of the pack on price. We gathered quotes from 10 independent florists in a mix of high- and low-cost areas across the country. The average total price for flowers and delivery was $80.66.
  • Teleflora and FTD were the priciest by a healthy margin. Our flower delivery orders rang up at $88.94 and $92.98, respectively.
  • Promo codes are frequently available on coupon and deal sites for all the major flower delivery services, and local florists often have promotions or coupon codes on their websites. However, our price comparison does not include any special offers, as they change frequently and aren't always available.
Price of a Dozen Roses Standard Weekday Delivery Sat. Delivery (Mother’s Day Weekend) Same-Day-Delivery Surcharge Same-Day-Delivery Deadline
1-800-Flowers $59.99 $14.99 $19.98 None 2:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 1 p.m. Sat., 11:30 a.m. Sun.
FTD $74.99 $17.99 $23.99 $4.99 2 p.m. Mon.-Fri.
ProFlowers $49.98 $15.99 + $2.99 care and handling $20.98 + $2.99 care and handling $4.99 2 p.m. Mon.-Fri.,
1 p.m. Sat.
Teleflora $72.95 $15.99 $17.99 $1.99 3 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon Sat. or Sun.
Local Florists $59.95-$79.95 $8.50-$15 Standard fee applies at 9 of 10 florists None Varies from noon to 3 p.m.

While budget-conscious buyers might be heading over to the ProFlowers website right now, price doesn't tell the whole story. For one thing, the flowers arrive in a box; they're not professionally arranged.

Here's why you might want to consider turning to a local florist instead, even if it ultimately costs a little bit more:

  • The big flower sites charge steeper delivery fees and hike them up for delivery just before or on a major holiday, on a weekend, or the same day. For example, FTD's already-high delivery charge of $17.99 jumped to $23.99 for the day before Mother's Day. In contrast, nine out of the 10 local florists we surveyed did not raise delivery fees before holidays or charge extra for same-day delivery. Most said they could accommodate special requests within reason, and without raising prices.Mother's Day Flower Delivery Face-Off

  • Online reviews of the big flower delivery services we researched are abysmal. Customers may be more motivated to post negative reviews than positive ones, but complaints about things like unreliable delivery, less-than-helpful customer service, and unexpected fees number in the thousands. Reviewers report receiving scrawny or already-wilting flowers, or substitutions that made an arrangement look nothing like what they ordered.

  • Cutting out the middleman can improve flower quality. The online sites often partner with local flower shops to fill orders, and many independent florists report that they actually lose money in this system. There's little incentive to spend extra time choosing the best blooms and arranging them just so. When florists take orders directly from customers, they don't have to pay fees to a referring company, which means they can produce a better product — perhaps even throw in something extra — and still turn a profit.

In short, it's worth calling up a few florists in the area where you want the flowers delivered to get quotes for a bouquet inspired by a photo you're eyeing online. The price difference might not be as hefty as you think. And, on the whole, reviews indicate that consumers are much happier when they deal directly with a local florist instead of a bigger corporate middleman.

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