January 23, 2023

Finance 301: Chapter 13: Three Business Resolutions to Make Now

The first funeral home profit and loss statement I ever saw showed that the firm had spent $30,000 on “escort services.” Back then, my immediate, uninformed reactions were, “That’s not deductible!” and “What a pervert!” I have grown smarter in the past 40 years, and my goal now is to leave this profession smarter and better prepared for the future than it was when I first encountered it in 1985. On New Year’s Eve, as we toast to auld lang syne, we often promise to all within earshot our forthcoming resolutions to do better. Thus, we might promise to lose weight, be a more caring spouse, not curse as much and other superficial things. On New Year’s morning, however, while eating our third doughnut, defending ourselves from the criticism of our spouse for eating three doughnuts and cursing the jelly […]
January 23, 2023

The Next Steps Proposed By the FTC

…and How to Beat Them at Their Own Game “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana It was in the early 1980s the Federal Trade Commission started to investigate the way funeral homes charged for their services. Back then – more than two generations ago – when a death occurred, the consumer purchased the casket and vault and received all the other services of the funeral home. This included the removal of the body, arrangement planning, preparation of the body, livery of the deceased body and the family as well as the use of the funeral home for a gathering or the funeral home would bring the body to the place of worship for a visitation and/or service. Ultimately, the funeral home brought the casketed body to the cemetery for interment. You got […]
December 19, 2022

Are Cemeteries and Funeral Homes Meant to Work Together?

The Hatfields vs. The McCoys; the Cattle Grazers vs. The Sheep Ranchers; David vs. Goliath; North vs. South; Funeral Homes vs. Cemeteries. All of these Polar opposites are competing forces, but none is the equal of the constant battle for dominance or avoidance of fear as the funeral versus cemetery forces. Of the almost 20,000 funeral homes and about 8,000 cemeteries, less than 5% represent a marriage of the Two forces, which we call a “combo.” Over time, the funeral directors were afraid of the cemeteries out competing them, so in some states they passed laws outlawing the combined ownership of funeral homes by cemeteries. In some states, it was never a spoken issue but whispered as a point of concern. In all reality, over my lifetime witnessing the operations of marketing efforts nationwide, the Combo is the high ground […]
December 19, 2022

From Wags to Riches

To Avoid Some ‘Ruff’ Times, Follow the 4 Ps of Pet Loss We have all heard of the many inspiring rags to riches stories from Dolly Parton to Halle Berry, Ed Sheeran, Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah Winfrey, and so many others. Of course, these are just the high-profile stories of the now rich and famous, but the world has so many others who have achieved great success from less than humble beginnings. But this is a different kind of story. This is a “Wags to Riches” story and it’s just waiting for you to finish writing the ending. However, like rags to riches, the development of a pet cremation and/or pet burial business can see some “ruff” times, especially in the early years. Therefore, to be successful, it is crucial that you follow the “4 Ps” of pet loss: Purpose, Planning, […]
December 19, 2022

Legal Check: Understanding The Funeral Rule

Scenario: Laura Laney is a third-generation owner-operator of Laney Funeral Home & Crematory in mid-Eastern Texas. Her family’s business has seen its share of trials and tribulations but has weathered them all and continues to thrive and grow. Laura’s business is just close enough to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to benefit from the bustling growth yet far enough away to have experienced a comparatively slower rise in cremation rates – which has allowed Laura (and her father, Lynn, before her) to educate the community and families she serves on the value and importance of services and gatherings being no different than burial when families select cremation as an option. Throughout COVID, Laney Funeral Home & Crematory found legal ways around restrictions in order to provide full burial and cremation services to appreciative families as often as they could. Over the […]
Call Now Button