A relay scheme allows a person in one part of the country to 'send' flowers to a person in another part of the country by using a network of florists that belong to a relay scheme. There are several such schemes, the most well known of which are Interflora and eFlorist.

How the schemes typically work

  • a customer places an order with an authorised sending florist
  • the order is sent to the scheme's central office
  • central office relays the order to a florist in the region that the customer wishes the flowers to be sent to
  • that florist (the executing florist) makes up the order and delivers it to the appropriate address

How the florist gets paid

  • both the sending florist and the executing florist hold an account with the relay organisation
  • the sending florist typically retains around 25% of the order and sends the balance to the relay organisation. This would usually be done on a monthly basis
  • the executing florist receives the balance of the amount for the order, typically around 70%. Again, this would usually be settled on a monthly basis

What other conditions apply

Membership of the scheme may also involve:

  • an exclusivity agreement, meaning the florist can't belong to another scheme
  • signing up for 'full' or 'sending only' status
  • a joining fee and/or annual subscription fee
  • interest on overdue accounts

And there are generally other terms and conditions of membership.

Flowers by post

With the rise in popularity of online shopping over the last decade, many online florists and non-specialist retailers do now actually send bouquets by post or courier.