Articles

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 […]
September 21, 2020

HR Reality Check: Case Study #19

Scenario: Kirkland Cremation and Funeral Services provides services to approximately 150 families in its community. The business is owned by Clark Kirkland. Clark has one other licensed funeral director besides himself and also relies on multiple part-time funeral assistants. Most of these funeral assistants work regular part-time hours averaging 24 hours per week. In late March, when COVID-19 led to his state mandating “safer-at-home” orders, Clark made the difficult decision to lay off most of his part-time staff to do his part to help contain the virus. His expec-tation was this would be only a short period of time as he was an essential business and he needed his staff. However, the federal government then enacted the stimulus package providing additional benefits to newly laid off employees. For the past several weeks, even though Clark has offered his part-time employees […]
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 […]
August 6, 2020

Step 8: Alternative Services

What can you do to raise the revenue on each call you get?  In my professional lifetime, I’ve been exposed to many different types of businesses. Some were service, some manufacturing, some retail; I was even professionally acquainted with the casino industry for about three years (remember this, blackjack players, do not split sixes!). Most of my career, though, has focused on funeral service businesses and, comparatively, I can tell you there is no business more difficult to run. Every dynamic of running a funeral business is difficult. Marketing a funeral home is like marketing an intangible service, yet it has a high capital investment and a high fixed cost of operations. It’s more like operating a hospital than any other business. Revenue mix is going through a change in this profession as well. Thirty years ago, merchandise was about […]
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