Business Financing

July 24, 2022

Finance 301: Chapter 7: Gender, Race and Funeral Professionals

I have seen many changes in the funeral service profession during my career. Some of these changes created challenges to the business plan with which funeral directors were indoctrinated, such as cremation and funerals without merchandise. Some involved operating trials, such as the rise of price-focused competitors. Others arise from cultural challenges that have changed the consumer’s paradigm, such as natural burial, alkaline hydrolysis and other new-fangled horticultural burial offerings. Any/all of these factors could change the future of funeral service by impairing your profit. There is one change moving along at full speed, however, that could be part of the future in a positive way: the rise of women and minorities coming into this business. The single largest problem the funeral service profession must deal with is who is going to serve families. I love that technology now allows […]
June 26, 2022

Defining Your Legacy

How to Maximize the Three Major Business Life Events As people, we all go through various life events that can shape the course of how we live our lives in the present and what that will mean for our legacies in the future. These can range from what college you go to, the profession you choose for your career, all the way to where you decide to live and raise a family. Funeral home and cemetery owners go through various life events as well, but the common three that shape and define legacies are: how/when you decide to become an owner, how you decide to own and operate your business financially, and ultimately how you plan the succession/sale of your business. As a funeral business owner, it is important to align yourself with tailored companies who understand the opportunities and […]
June 26, 2022

Finance 301: Chapter 6: The Truth About Compensation

The single largest cost of running a funeral home comprises salaries, benefits and employment taxes. Together, they make up employee compensation. In the 1980s, when some casket companies spent $250,000 on their NFDA booth build-out and another million dollars on an extravagant cocktail party during the convention, the cost of goods was about 20% to 25% of revenue while compensation typically ranged from 26% to 40%. Yep, you could eat and drink for free in those days thanks to the casket companies, but the people paid to run the businesses were getting the bulk of the revenue! As noted above, compensation consists of three key components: Salaries This includes those you employ, full and part time, licensed or non-licensed, as well as any third parties you pay to supplement your staff for removals and body prep. It also includes the […]
May 30, 2022

When Your Board Has to Make That Big Decision

The cemetery has been in operation forever. You have been on the board for a long time. But times are changing. Sales are impaired. Cash flow is tight. You need to reconfigure your master plan to be more cremation focused. Finding good management for day to day is worrisome. On top of that, there is going to need to be an infusion of capital and you can’t find a bank to loan to your cemetery. What do you do to resolve this seeming impasse? This conundrum is not limited to nonprofit cemeteries. It is a similar matter for public cemeteries owned by municipalities. It is also an ongoing issue for church cemeteries. As you attend ICCFA meetings and see old friends, a few of them have chosen to try and sell their cemeteries. You now understand why they chose that […]
May 30, 2022

Putting the Value Back in Funeral Service

Your clients will thank you In the 1609 William Shakespeare play, hamlet, the main character is torn between life and death. His famous line, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” is most appropriate when discussing Celebration of Life ceremonies. And although the question is different, the conundrum remains the same: Do families want a celebration of life or not? I’m here to tell you that the answer is yes, but will it be held with you, the funeral professional, is the real question. As identified in The Foresight Companies’ 2021 Consumer Survey, 63% percent of consumers feel a big celebration is important in honoring the life of the deceased. In fact, this number has increased in the post-pandemic world in which we now live. On the surface, that number looks to be good news for the […]
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