November 21, 2022

Ask the Experts: Your questions about casket pricing answered by Foresight

Pricing is always a hot topic. When it comes to vendors setting pricing for items such as caskets, do you have to accept their price structure, or can you make changes as you see fit? Gabe Ngo provides his insights on this important topic. Question:  Do I have to accept the prices the casket vendor set? Gabe Ngo:  The short answer is no, you do not have to accept the casket vendor’s pricing they set.  There are so very many angles in answering this question, but I will keep it grounded and simple.  Often times historically, owner-operators have not always made pricing changes to reflect the “October 1st” pricing changes that have typically come from Batesville or Matthews annually.  However, over the past fifteen to eighteen months or so, funeral home owner-operators have seen a variety of “temporary surcharges” (which […]
November 21, 2022

Ask the Analyst: Property and Real Estate Value vs. Business Value

Have you ever wondered what to do if your property/real estate value is worth more than the actual value of your business? This is actually a common occurrence and a question we are often asked to provide guidance on. Our Senior M&A Analyst, Jared Tanke is back to provide informative insights and various scenarios. Question: What should I do if my property/real estate is worth more than the value of my business? Jared Tanke: I have heard this question much more frequently over the past few years as property values have appreciated at an exponential rate, and it’s a fair question. In last month’s Ask the Analyst, Jarod Bernat answered the question about the difference between valuing real estate as “highest and best use” and “Special-use” which goes hand in hand with this month’s question. There are a few different […]
November 21, 2022

Strategic Planning Isn’t an Option

It is absolutely essential for those looking to thrive in the profession today. It’s that time of year again – time to close out the old one strong and get the bricks in place for a solid 2023. We’ll talk about the planning process and 10 simple steps to get you on your way, but first, there are some areas requiring a little extra-special attention in 2022, areas of critical importance be-cause the profession is not keeping pace with the world around it. From 2017-21, the average price of a funeral has increased 6.6%, while the CPI (Consumer Price Index) increased more than 16%. This scenario is not sustainable. There are forces in play today that require you to be at the top of your game. Rising costs, the cremation rate and rapidly changing consumer attitudes require a well-thought-out plan. […]
November 21, 2022

Should Your Master Plan Include a Natural Burial Area?

Recently, a new cemetery client asked me to help repurpose a Master Plan. For those of you who are not regular readers, a Master Plan is the long-term plan for your undeveloped areas and maybe any developed areas that have not been sold or interred into yet. Good consultants usually answer a question with a question. My reply was, “If you had a restaurant, would you only have a few items on the menu, or would you try and provide variety?” Most cemeterians are limited in their mindset. Natural Burial is a viable and profitable option that may work. What Is Natural Burial? Well, it is basically a Kosher burial option, where the body is not embalmed with caustic materials. But that is the very limited interpretation. This can be conjugated to include a container holding the body that must […]
November 21, 2022

Finance 301: Chapter 11: Marketing to Your Friends and Adversaries

I entered this business when your grandparents were running it. Back then, it was easy to market a funeral home: go to Rotary meetings (or other social organizations) weekly, attend church services each weekend, park your cars in the parking lot each day after washing them, and wait for the phone to ring. Ah, the good old days. There was really very little to call acrimonious about your marketing efforts then (other than that stupid competitor down the road) because the issues that mattered to families were their religion, where their family was buried and which firm had served them in the past. I remember a study we conducted on funeral market share in the late 1980s. We found that a town’s “churched percentage” was the same as the number of people who knew which funeral home they would use. […]
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