Ask the Expert

April 18, 2023

Ask the Experts! Your questions about merchandise displays answered by Foresight

One of the great debates in funeral service today is whether you should display your merchandise or offer a digital catalog for your client families to look at. We asked Doug Gober to provide insight and guidance on this important topic. Question: Should I display my casket, vault or urn merchandise in my funeral home or just have a digital catalog? Doug Gober: The key elements to this question are information and control. Ask yourself the following: how does the consumer access information? For today’s consumer, it is mostly online. However, is that the best methodology for a consumer to purchase an unfamiliar product combined with an unfriendly state of mind? Most product purchases made today that are infrequent, higher priced purchases that are not routine are usually done in a positive state of mind. As funeral home owners and […]
March 22, 2023

Ask the Experts! Your Social Media Policies Questions Answered by Foresight

Each and every day, we use social media whether for business or personal needs. As owners and operators of funeral homes and cemeteries, what are the guidelines for implementing social media policies and can an employee be fired for the content they post? Our Director of Regulatory Compliance, Curtis Rostad provides his insights to this important question below. Question: Can an employee be fired for something posted on Facebook or other social media? Curtis Rostad: In an at-will state, an employee can be terminated for any reason that is not illegal. An employee could not be fired for instance, if they are directing their communication to other employees in an attempt to organize or unionize. An employee cannot be fired for a discriminatory reason. Some labor laws and whistleblower statutes protect workers who complain truthfully about unsafe work conditions, illegal […]
January 23, 2023

Ask the Experts! Your question on “on call” employees answered by Foresight.

Have you wondered whether you need to pay employees while they are “on-call” for your funeral or cemetery business? This is a common question we have received when having this type of employee on your staff.  Curtis Rostad provides his insights to this important question below. Question: Do I have to pay my employees to be “on call?” Curtis Rostad: In thirty-four states* most employees, including licensed funeral directors, must be paid hourly with overtime for work over 40 hours per week. That makes the “on-call” question especially important. The Wage and Hour Division uses two principles in addressing this issue. The first is “engaged to wait.” The employee is not performing duties, but they are unable to use the time effectively for his or her own purpose. For instance, if they must remain in the building to answer the […]
November 21, 2022

Ask the Experts: Your questions about casket pricing answered by Foresight

Pricing is always a hot topic. When it comes to vendors setting pricing for items such as caskets, do you have to accept their price structure, or can you make changes as you see fit? Gabe Ngo provides his insights on this important topic. Question:  Do I have to accept the prices the casket vendor set? Gabe Ngo:  The short answer is no, you do not have to accept the casket vendor’s pricing they set.  There are so very many angles in answering this question, but I will keep it grounded and simple.  Often times historically, owner-operators have not always made pricing changes to reflect the “October 1st” pricing changes that have typically come from Batesville or Matthews annually.  However, over the past fifteen to eighteen months or so, funeral home owner-operators have seen a variety of “temporary surcharges” (which […]
October 24, 2022

Ask the Expert: Competitor Pricing

We want to continue to provide you with insight and guidance on Pricing. For this month’s column, we spoke with Doug Gober again as he answers more popular pricing questions. Continue reading below as we provide information on competitor pricing. Question: Should I set my prices lower than my competitors to gain market share? Doug Gober: The critical factor when determining your pricing should be how you want to be seen in the marketplace. Since the funeral and cemetery market is segmented, it is a challenge to be all things to all people. It would be in your best interest to focus only on your business and define who you want to be in the marketplace rather than what your competitors are doing. This idea of determining your position is certainly more important than seeing what your competitors in the market […]
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