March 20, 2023

Leadership in a Sea of Change

A peacetime army often can be effectively led with good administration and management up and down the ranks, with strong leadership at the top. In wartime, leadership is required at all levels. No one has figured out how to manage people effectively in battle, they simply must be led. I am not suggesting that funeral service and wartime are one in the same. However, I do think this analogy does highlight the reality of the times we are facing in funeral service. The radical changes that have impacted our profession has often made it feel like we are in crisis mode. In general, times have been quite good for most of us in funeral service over the past few years. We have been pushed to the limits but have come out better and stronger for it. The pandemic ushered in […]
March 20, 2023

HR Reality Check: Case Study #25

Scenario: David Sully has a thriving funeral business in the southern United States comprised of three locations serving more than 700 families. Recently he decided to create a multidenominational funeral home as well as building his own cemetery, crematory and pet cremation business. Given the success of his existing businesses, the current staff did not have the capacity to take on the added responsibilities that would be associated with the new development. Further, they did not have experience in the cemetery, crematory and pet crematory segments. As part of his expansion plans, David anticipated that he would be locating and hiring an entirely new staff to handle the new business enterprise. He carefully thought about the various positions and interviewed cemetery, crematory and pet crematory owners to understand the number of employees and the positions that he would need to […]
March 20, 2023

Finance 301: Chapter 15: The Importance of Estate Planning

A cobbler with no shoes is just unheard of, and a funeral director without an estate plan should follow suit. How can you – someone who confronts daily the reality of death – ignore the fact that all of us are going to die at some point? If you respect the fact that you will die someday, then you have the right/obligation to plan how you want to transfer your assets to those around you. This article offers some insight into the key points of estate planning. ASSET TRANSFER METHODS There are usually a few things you’ll want to accomplish when creating your estate plan, the first of which involves determining who should be protected by the use of your assets until your death. Next, decide how to provide for the transfer of those assets to the intended parties. Lastly, […]
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 […]
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