Funeral service accounting

September 28, 2021

Chapter Nine: You Need a Business Plan, Part 2

In last month’s issue, I explained what a business plan is and laid the groundwork for why you need to have one. This month, I want to take you deeper, so, instead of more theories, I asked two industry veterans to contribute their thoughts. The first is Steve Shaffer, CEO and president of Homesteaders Life Insurance Company. Shaffer didn’t start at the top of this company; he spent the past two decades in public accounting, joined a national acquirer as its CFO and then founded one of the top acquisition companies before leaving it to join the preneed world. I also spoke with Chris Cruger, managing partner at the company I founded, The Foresight Companies. He had a major background in finance and operations within the funeral business before joining Foresight. Today, he influences some of the most successful funeral […]
September 28, 2021

It’s All in the Data

NFDA Consumer Awareness and Preferences Survey Commentary Complementary consumer surveys show three strong cultural trends for which you may need to adjust your business. Imagine you answer the phone and the voice says, “I have data compiled independently that will tell you what consumers are saying about funeral service and what they expect from a funeral provider.” You might cautiously ask, “Well, that’s all well and good, but how recent is this data?” The mysterious salesperson responds, “It is all from within the past year, tracking consumer changes since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Not wanting to seem too easy a sell, your next question would probably be, “Well, how much is this data?” To which the shadowy huckster replies, “It’s about $250,000, payable in one easy payment.” At that moment, you have an involuntary muscle spasm and hang […]
August 23, 2021

Chapter Eight: You Have No Business Not Having a Business Plan

This month, I’m going to rely on a basic statistic: 99% of all privately owned funeral home businesses do not have a business plan.* I know this because I’ve worked with more than a thousand funeral home owners over the past 35-plus years, and every time I ask for a copy of their business plan, I’m met with a crinkled-up forehead and an oral lesson starting with the words, “Dan, you don’t understand…” So, here is what I do understand: A business plan is a written document listing goals for the year and instructions on how to get to those goals. A business plan should be reviewed at least quarterly to see how the business is performing relative to the stated objectives. A business plan for a funeral home should cover the next year, the intermediate period and the long […]
July 20, 2021

Survey Says…Cremation is Still a “Burning” Desire

How do you ignite a conversation in a room full of funeral directors? Toss in the word “cremation.” It will spark conversation—some good, some bad. But in all cases, you will witness myriad emotions. It may be hard to believe that some funeral professionals are still adamantly opposed to cremation. Rather than embracing the opportunities that can be found in cremation, they are still fighting for a return to the way things were “in the good old days.” For most of us, we recognize those days are gone, and it is time to embrace ways to create opportunities with cremation families. According to the recent Performance TrackerTM Analysis: 2020 COVID-19 Impact Report, 55% of all cases in 2019 resulted in cremation. During the recent COVID pandemic, our industry saw a 5%–10% increase in cremation disposition cases for 2020. Although cremation […]
July 20, 2021

It’s All About the Team

Strategy for building a winning one for your firm. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – MICHAEL JORDAN As this quote suggests, talent alone does not guarantee that you will win in the long term. Still, you might wonder why I chose a sports quote to relate to funeral service. Both sports and funeral service are zero-sum games when it comes to competition. Someone wins, another loses. In funeral service, we have no control over the death rate in our community in any given year – we can only control how many calls we can secure and serve. One death call for you means one less death call for me as your competitor. Zero sum. The same can be said about competing for and retaining human resources in the funeral service profession. While the pandemic forced all […]
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