Strategic Performance Analysis

February 23, 2023

Selling the Opening & Closing in Advance: Should I Or Shouldn’t I?

It is a simple matter. When you make an advance sale of an interment right, do you at the same time make an advance sale of the Opening/Closing (O&C)? In my 40-year career, I have never seen such a simple question cause so much disagreement. Let me make sure we all understand the description of the simple matter at hand. For any interment, in the ground or above ground, for a caskets interment or an urn inurnment, there needs to be a service for opening the crypt, grave, or niche. Once opened, after placing the human remains in the site, you close the grave or ground niche by refilling earth or closing the door panel of the above ground niche or crypt. It is a simple act. We all charge for it. The question is not whether to charge at […]
February 23, 2023

Life in the Fast Lane

To keep up with change, we don’t need to change cars, we simply need to shift gears. For some, it wasn’t long ago, while for others it’s been decades, but all of us graduated from funeral service school and are licensed to tend to the needs of the dead and those left behind. Disposition of the deceased is the part that makes us funeral directors but caring for our communities is the ingredient necessary to turn the local undertaker into the true funeral professional. Yet for some, the community aspect is the troublesome part. In this age of technology and instant everything, we often lack connectivity to our communities. Many no longer see the need to belong to civic and social organizations because we stay “connected” through social media. The nightly news will soon follow the daily newspaper as the […]
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” […]
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