Dan Isard

May 25, 2021

Industry Spotlight: The Circadian Rhythm of Buying and Selling

In this industry spotlight, we want to highlight key insights on buying and selling. By my estimate, now in 2021, funeral service and the cemetery business combined make up a $24 billion dollar Market Cap business segment.  This is almost double what it was in 2000. Within the owners we have two groups.  The Public Money group: SCI is $9 billion, Park Lawn is $1 billion, Carriage $700 million, StoneMor $260 million The Private Money group makes up the 75% of all locations. Private Owners (either Mom & Pop or Private Equity money) make up the remaining $13 billion! This is about a 40%/60% split Public to Private.  In 1999, just before the fall of SCI, Loewen, and Stewart the split was about 25%/75% Public to Private. Yet, the Public, worth a combined $11 billion, have built very few funeral […]
May 21, 2021

Chapter Five: Reinvesting in Your Business

Making sure the investment is worth the return. As a business owner, I’m sure, you feel very proud of your firm. You might even assume that everyone in your community knows about your business and watches every time you mow the grass or paint the outside. And there’s no doubt they will contact you within minutes if you raise your prices, right? The reality is that most people call on a funeral home only when there is an emergency or an imminent problem; they rarely know about price changes, painting or lawncare. In fact, despite investing your money in or inheriting your business, you might have discovered that many people come to your firm thinking Ol’ Man Jones is still in charge. Well, you chose to control your own destiny. You made the decision to be a business owner because […]
April 21, 2021

Cemeteries Embracing ‘Direct to Consumer’ Cremation Businesses

In many states, you have combination funeral/cemetery businesses; but in some states, you do not. Many cemeteries have tried to stay in their lanes offering only interment options. Most funeral homes have stayed in their lanes, only dealing with the funeral and care of the body, without any interment options. As fewer bodies are interred and only a fraction of cremated remains are permanently inurned in a cemetery, this means cemeteries must take a different path to maintain their relevancy and their cash flow. When allowed by law, the solution could be establishing a funeral service business that focuses on direct cremation services. Semantics Is More than Just Words Semantics, from the ancient Greek, is the study of words and their meanings. Often, the words in our business and life provide a limited image of what we are trying to […]
April 21, 2021

Chapter Four: Big Numbers

Two successful funeral businesses with a real commitment to preneed. During my lifetime, I have been asked many questions that seemingly have no answer. Why is the sky blue? Why is the ocean blue? Why are Slurpees blue? My answer to all of these questions is that the blue lobbyist is better at his or her job than those lobbying for other colors. Anyway… one question I’ve often been asked is, “Why should I sell preneed?” I have spent my career researching preneed from all angles, and I can tell you there are many dynamics to this issue, including: Funding: trust, insurance, annuity or don’t fund Transference: at face value, original funding value, current value or don’t transfer State legal requirements: 100% trust, something less than 100% trust, use trust or insurance, don’t use trust or don’t use insurance. After […]
March 22, 2021

Industry Spotlight: Trends

In this industry spotlight, we want to highlight key insights on the trends occurring in our profession. A trend is defined as “a general direction in which something is developing or changing”.  We use trends all the time and many are very clear to us.  For example, funeral home “Calls”.   If a firm over the past 3 years performs the following: Year 2018 2019 2020 Calls 200 200 200 Do you see a trend?  No, not as it pertains to Gross Number of Calls.  But, drill down into the data a bit and look at the following: Year 2018 2019 2020 Calls 200 200 200 Revenue (net of Cash Advances) $1,300,000 $1,270,000 $1,250,000 Do you see a trend here?  Yes, the trend is that Revenue is declining and since case count is level, the revenue/call is therefore declining. Year 2018 […]
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