The preferred method for sending flowers is to do it yourself. That is, order flowers directly from a local florist rather than one of the big online services or arrange for a surrogate to shop for and deliver the goods. Local flower delivery is generally cheaper than working through the industry leaders and lets you assert control over the process and increase the chances you'll get the results you're paying for.
Going it alone requires some effort (you need to find and then pluck the florist from the forest of possibilities), but local flower delivery reviews express no regrets. A bevy of satisfied customers commend the reasonable pricing and the superior service at review sites such as Yelp. In San Francisco, for example, reviewers highlight the freshness and seasonality of the flowers, the appeal of "green" bicycle delivery, the ease of correcting an order, and the opportunity to support a small business. Local flower delivery also means a more personal touch (professional advice delivered over the phone or via email), local knowledge (which flowers look best in which locations), and last-minute orders that the florist may go all out to accommodate. We also read reviews at Yahoo Shopping and Reseller Ratings indicating that many consumers turned to and then lauded the virtues of local flower delivery after one of the major online services failed to come through.
Moreover, the cost of ordering directly through a local florist (starting at $50) is generally cheaper. In our sample order of a dozen red roses, the local flower delivery price ranged from $36 to $48, and up to $15 more when delivery was not already included. The final tab for the large flower delivery providers was as high as $86. The lower prices are possible largely because local delivery means cutting out the middleman.
Although many florists make local flower deliveries, you may be able to contract privately with someone who will buy and deliver the flowers for you. Check offers for such services on Craigslist (beware of scams) or turn to a start-up such as TaskRabbit or Zaarly (both currently operating in a few select locations), which vet the people who take on tasks for pay. With TaskRabbit, list the task to be accomplished and either set a price and have the site assign it to a member or put the task up for bid and pick the winning TaskRabbit yourself. A local flower delivery review on Yelp in Boston gave the arrangement five stars, saying it was cheaper than using a florist to make the delivery and afforded the opportunity to send along a small snack with the flowers being delivered to a fiancee. Reading other comments reveals that similar jobs cost approximately $25 for completion of the task plus a $6 service fee to the site (any other expenses borne by the TaskRabbit must, of course, be reimbursed). Zaarly now focuses on connecting consumers directly to shop owners. Clicking around on the site indicates that local flower delivery goes for about $50, which includes the price of the flowers.
The advantages of arranging local flower delivery on your own are several. You get more for your money (no middleman) and more responsive service; there's more accountability (you deal directly with the florist and/or contracted delivery person); and the entire process is far more personal. A web search will turn up scores of local florists, as will the National Florist Directory. Yelp or Google Maps can also provide reviews of the florists closest to the recipient.