Valuation Mergers and Acquisitions

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 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 […]
July 17, 2020

A Polaroid Picture of Funeral Service Post Covid-19

Editor’s Note: This is the first 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.  On Jan. 1st, we all thought Corona was a beer. Now, it is the virus that has killed so many, sickened so many more and indelibly struck at all aspects of our lives and livelihoods. It is a moment in our history more impactful than the Battle of Concord, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the multiple attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, all rolled up together. Funeral service stood tall during the initial outbreak. Many went into the hot zones to help the living care for their dead. Many worked long days for numerous weeks under conditions that were a risk to their own safety. This […]
July 17, 2020

Step 7: Preneed in the Age of Pandemic

COVID-19 has significantly impacted existing preneed agreements.  The editor of The Director, bless his heart, wanted 2020 to be a time of vision and planning, a year during which this magazine might help lay out the future of funeral service. Given that we’re neck deep in a pandemic, this year’s goal must be scrapped because of COVID-19 – and because Henny Penny has risen. In case you’re not familiar with her, Henny Penny is a chicken featured in a European folktale who believes the world is coming to an end and runs around saying, “The sky is falling!” (In the United States, you might know this story as Chicken Little.) Feeling a bit like Henny Penny as I write this, I’m slightly uncertain that I will live to see it published; people go from being alive and feeling fine to […]
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