Articles

February 23, 2023

Finance 301: Chapter 14: Most Important New Metric In Funeral Service Analysis

I just returned from the annual conclave of GIFS (Geeks In Funeral Service), which I have chaired for many years. Our meeting was well attended; we filled every seat in the Volkswagen van we rented (our budget is small). Significantly, every member arrived at the same conclusion: We need to promote a new metric in the financial analysis of funeral homes. You see, before I joined the group in the 1980s, the prior generation of GIFS had created “average revenue per call” and “casketing rate” as key metrics. We used those two stalwart mathematical assessments, along with ratios, to understand “accounts receivable days” and “number of licensees per 100 calls.” Early in my GIFS tenure, we eliminated the word “livery,” which was later to be replaced by “Ubers in the procession.” And now, after exhaustive study, we are prepared to […]
January 26, 2023

Oh, the Horror!

Neglecting Your Cemetery Grounds Could Ruin Your Reputation It was like a scene from a Hollywood movie. Coffins were dangling on the side of a building containing burial niches from four stories up. Coffins containing people’s loved ones exposed and in danger of severe damage after the wall of the building known as The Resurrection collapsed on the grounds of the oldest cemetery in Naples, Italy. Pictures certainly are worth more than words when the press grabs a candid shot of such a horrific scene. No one was physically injured in the collapse. But the families of those who dangled were emotionally injured and even held a protest to hold the city officials accountable for their alleged poor management of the public cemetery. Unfortunately, this was the second incident occurring this year at the cemetery. In January, about 300 burial […]
January 25, 2023

Planning for Your Future Starts Today

So 2023 is here. The question is what do we do now? The last few years have seen changes in our profession like never before. What used to take years to change, now takes months or weeks. The process of planning for the future is more important now than ever. We have seen incredible challenges in staffing, rising costs, and rapidly changing consumer attitudes. If there is anything to be learned over the past few years, it’s that the business is different today than it was three years ago. You all have seen it; the way we conduct business has simply changed. The pandemic ushered in a new era of funeral service that requires us to plan and adjust quicker than ever before. Some leaders in our profession have been resistant to change; but operating “the way it’s always been” […]
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 […]
Call Now Button