Planning for adequate staffing and organizing production are two crucial ways to reduce expensive overtime hours during a holiday. And the fact that each floral holiday is different complicates matters. During the Christmas season, florists have to be more organized, efficient and productive for a longer period of time while Valentine’s Day is still largely a one-day holiday.
Having enough good people to properly service customers and get the work done while controlling payroll costs requires skillful planning. A shop that tries to get by with too few workers will probably end up paying for some overtime hours at a minimum of time-and-a-half. Conversely, having too many people on the payroll also cuts profits.
In addition, ask any florist who has tried to hire for the holidays, and you’ll probably hear that it is easier said than done, primarily because of training. None of the positions in a flower shop are truly “unskilled.” Florists need people with particular skills and enough time to teach them flower shop fundamentals.
hire permanent part-timers
Having immediate access to qualified, experienced people at holiday times can be achieved by adding part-time workers to your year-round permanent staff. Instead of employing all full-timers, hire more people on a part-time basis. Two people could be employed for 20 hours each week instead of one at 40 hours each week. Then, when holidays come around, the already experience part-time employees can work more hours at their regular pay rate. Overtime wages are required only when someone works more than 40 hours in one week.
Where can florists find people wanting only part-time employment?
1. Rather than running the obligatory “help wanted” ad or posting a sign in the front window, why not contact a few regular customers who might have some knowledge of floral products?
2. Homemakers without children and mothers and fathers with children may be well-suited for part-time work that offers some flexibility.
3. Consider retirees and moonlighters. Retirees often make excellent employees because of their maturity, stability and wealth of life experiences. Firefighters, ambulance drivers and others with similar driving experience and work rotations could deliver flowers without much additional training. They should certainly know the streets!
4. Students taking classes at a floral trade or vocational school also are good candidates for part-time employment.
get a jump start
Organizing production schedules is another solution to the holiday overtime problem. Much of the overtime in December can be avoided by using slow times during the summer and early fall for preliminary holiday tasks. For example:
• floral foam can be secured into containers
• bows and ribbon loop tufts can be made
• glass balls can be tied in clusters
• permanent holiday arrangements can be made
• new inventory can be unpacked and priced, and displays can be planned.
seize the benefits of mass efficiency
Creating a “menu” of floral designs allows you to maximize your sales volume, buy intelligently and control costs. One major advantage of a planned selection of floral designs is that they can be mass produced in assembly-line style, which can significantly reduce labor costs. Standardized designs also make it easier for customers to buy. Selling time is greatly reduced, especially with phone and online orders.
Holidays should be enjoyed by florists as well as everyone else. By working ahead, with organization and planning, florists can achieve stellar holiday production without working their green thumbs to the bone.