Dan Isard

January 26, 2023

Oh, the Horror!

Neglecting Your Cemetery Grounds Could Ruin Your Reputation It was like a scene from a Hollywood movie. Coffins were dangling on the side of a building containing burial niches from four stories up. Coffins containing people’s loved ones exposed and in danger of severe damage after the wall of the building known as The Resurrection collapsed on the grounds of the oldest cemetery in Naples, Italy. Pictures certainly are worth more than words when the press grabs a candid shot of such a horrific scene. No one was physically injured in the collapse. But the families of those who dangled were emotionally injured and even held a protest to hold the city officials accountable for their alleged poor management of the public cemetery. Unfortunately, this was the second incident occurring this year at the cemetery. In January, about 300 burial […]
January 23, 2023

Finance 301: Chapter 13: Three Business Resolutions to Make Now

The first funeral home profit and loss statement I ever saw showed that the firm had spent $30,000 on “escort services.” Back then, my immediate, uninformed reactions were, “That’s not deductible!” and “What a pervert!” I have grown smarter in the past 40 years, and my goal now is to leave this profession smarter and better prepared for the future than it was when I first encountered it in 1985. On New Year’s Eve, as we toast to auld lang syne, we often promise to all within earshot our forthcoming resolutions to do better. Thus, we might promise to lose weight, be a more caring spouse, not curse as much and other superficial things. On New Year’s morning, however, while eating our third doughnut, defending ourselves from the criticism of our spouse for eating three doughnuts and cursing the jelly […]
January 23, 2023

The Next Steps Proposed By the FTC

…and How to Beat Them at Their Own Game “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana It was in the early 1980s the Federal Trade Commission started to investigate the way funeral homes charged for their services. Back then – more than two generations ago – when a death occurred, the consumer purchased the casket and vault and received all the other services of the funeral home. This included the removal of the body, arrangement planning, preparation of the body, livery of the deceased body and the family as well as the use of the funeral home for a gathering or the funeral home would bring the body to the place of worship for a visitation and/or service. Ultimately, the funeral home brought the casketed body to the cemetery for interment. You got […]
December 19, 2022

Are Cemeteries and Funeral Homes Meant to Work Together?

The Hatfields vs. The McCoys; the Cattle Grazers vs. The Sheep Ranchers; David vs. Goliath; North vs. South; Funeral Homes vs. Cemeteries. All of these Polar opposites are competing forces, but none is the equal of the constant battle for dominance or avoidance of fear as the funeral versus cemetery forces. Of the almost 20,000 funeral homes and about 8,000 cemeteries, less than 5% represent a marriage of the Two forces, which we call a “combo.” Over time, the funeral directors were afraid of the cemeteries out competing them, so in some states they passed laws outlawing the combined ownership of funeral homes by cemeteries. In some states, it was never a spoken issue but whispered as a point of concern. In all reality, over my lifetime witnessing the operations of marketing efforts nationwide, the Combo is the high ground […]
December 19, 2022

Finance 301: Chapter 12: Taxation Basics

As a new business owner, the first decisions you must make involve taxes. In most cases, however, you will feel so elated during your first days of ownership that you’ll just abdicate those decisions to your accountant and/or lawyer. Then, someday in the future, you will read an article, like this one, and wonder to yourself, “Hmm…” You therefore clip the article and send it to your accountant and/or lawyer. They, in turn, give you a long-winded explanation as to why the author of that article is wrong. Or, worse, they will write to the author and tell him why he is wrong. Please, save your breath and your typing fingers. I am not wrong. Here are the taxation basics you need to know. Decision One: Business Entity There are several ways businesses can be classified for tax purposes. The […]
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