Dan Isard

September 23, 2020

Industry Spotlight: The Pet Business

In our second Industry Spotlight, we want to highlight the Pet Business. Why would someone want to take their education from mortuary school and their investment in a funeral business and go into the pet funeral/cremation business?  Well, for many in urban and suburban communities, it is a great adjunct to your human funeral business. Did you know: 85 million families (that is about two out of every three families in the US own a pet) 63 million families own at least one dog 65% of all pet owners are either Gen X or Older The average lifespan of a dog or cat is seven years or less Pet ownership in the US during the pandemic is rising across all age groups 95% of pet owners think of them as family members 45% of American pet owners buy their pet’s […]
September 21, 2020

NFDA Consumer Awareness and Preferences Survey: My 2020 Takeaway

Before I comment on the top slides in the survey I think every funeral director should be focused on, allow me to say that I love the fact that this survey is intentionally trying to be more inclusive. One key point I must assert first is brought about by these changes in survey demographics. The 2020 survey takes into consideration people of wider race and age than ever before. It’s weighting younger this year, with 62.1% of respondents between ages 40 and 54 (compared to 36.1% in 2019 and 23.7% in 2018). The survey is also weighting more diverse. A higher percentage of respondents identified themselves as Hispanic (15.5%, compared to 11.1% in 2019), and fewer identified themselves as white (52.4%, compared to 57.9% in 2019). I also believe that leading to a shift in perceived results is the higher […]
September 21, 2020

Step 9: Collecting Receivables

Four objectives to increase receivables collection and cut down on bad debt. To explore the concept of collecting receivables, I first want to share with you the day I met with the funeral director who handled my father’s funeral. I had been in this profession as a consultant for about a decade, and to prepare for the aging of my parents, I set up a joint checking account with my folks. When my dad, Max, died, I went to the funeral director with my father’s checkbook in hand to make his final arrangements. I picked out the casket and arranged the other service details. (The cemetery plot had been pre-purchased.) When we were finished, I said to Bennett, the funeral director: “I have Max’s checkbook here. How much do I owe you?” Bennett said, “Dan, we will send you a […]
August 21, 2020

Industry Spotlight: The magnitude of the funeral and cemetery businesses

In this first industry spotlight, I think it is important to identify the magnitude of the funeral and cemetery businesses in the United States.  Many years ago, the brokerage house Goldman Sacks was running a desk that dealt only with the stocks of those owning funeral homes, cemeteries and vendors to this space and they called the space “Deathcare”.  Many of us rejected this phrase, but alas, 30 years later it is still being used.  I will not but you might see it that way. There are by most estimates about 19,000 total funeral home locations in the United States.  This is down from about 21,000 just a decade earlier.  Some have merged with others, but most have been sold off for their real estate value.  Some were liquidated by big companies and others by mom and pop owners. The […]
August 13, 2020

A Polaroid Picture of Funeral Service Post Covid-19 Part-Two

Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a two-part series on the results of a survey The Foresight Companies commissioned on the effect COVID-19 has had on how consumers think of funeral service. Last month, I began to share my thoughts about the future of funeral service, based on facts collected from a nationwide survey of more than 2,500 consumers. In case you either don’t remember or did not read last month’s article, we surveyed people throughout the United States and asked them to tell us their thoughts on more than 80 points of interest dealing with consumers’ expectations of the funeral and cemetery professions. We asked them to tell us what their thoughts were before COVID-19, during their self-isolation period, and what they perceived would be their expectations post COVID-19. We asked them this on the weekend just […]
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