Thought Leadership

August 28, 2023

Cemetery Operations Without the Benefit of Key Performance Indicators

In the June 2023 Memento Mori, I explained why no one has yet to develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a cemetery. That doesn’t mean that cemeteries should wonder aimlessly in their operations, bumping into financial walls at each turn. Below are my management objectives for running a cemetery—with or without advance sales. Revenue Revenue is the key starting point of operations. You should not be confident that since you have plenty of lawn space that you are a well-run cemetery. Revenue is the key. More revenue is more beneficial than less. Revenue is driven by four items. These are: Sales of Merchandise Cemetery Service Revenue Endowment Care/Perpetual Care Trust (“EC/PC Trust”) Income Sales of Interment Rights In your bookkeeping, you should separate the At Need Sales Revenue from the Advance Sales Revenue. Each of the first three items above […]
August 28, 2023

Increase Your Post-COVID Pre-Need Sales

Written By Chris Cruger and Alice Adams The phrase “Post-COVID” has been so overused, it sounds more like an excuse than a time reference. However, reality tells us almost every aspect of American life changed between the onset of the pandemic and now. This article discusses pre-need sales, examining what’s changed since COVID and how you can elevate the success of your pre-need program. Consumer Attitudes Since COVID Beginning in mid-February 2023, The Foresight Companies launched its fourth annual survey, one for consumers (4,587 respondents) and a second for the deathcare industry (155). The results were recently compiled and analyzed, and we want to share our findings. Our consulting practice is data-driven, and our business analyses, property valuations, recommendations for change, and market evaluations are determined based on the 100 years of combined experience of our principals and supported by […]
August 28, 2023

Finance 301: Chapter 20: The Critical Importance of Being Your Own Best Example

The chemistry of funeral service is changing dramatically and I fear the profession is at the point of crossing the Rubicon, i.e., the point of no return. Funeral providers currently face declining funeral gathering rates, meaning they won’t need (and might not be able to afford) their 10,000-plus-square-foot buildings. Thus, the average revenue per call is declining because when a family doesn’t hold a gathering before the disposition, some five points of sale are eliminated from your general price list. Funeral service today is just that, a service. For you youngsters, prior to the early 1980s and the issuance of the Funeral Rule by the Federal Trade Commission, funeral homes were in the merchandise business. They sold the casket and all the other services – embalming, facility use, livery, etc. – were pretty much included in the price of the […]
July 27, 2023

On the Hunt

Putting together a winning team employing hourly workers and part-timers as a solid foundation. “Culture is defined and created from the top down, but it comes to life from the bottom up.” – Mike Smith, former Atlanta Falcons head coach and 2008 NFL coach of the year You’re probably already thinking that this quote is all well and good, but who has time for culture when your business is short a li-censed staffer or two (if you operate a larger business) and the other licensed staff is on vacation this week? I get it. Businesses across all professions and industries have been battling staffing shortages and talent retention challenges. To that extent, funeral home businesses are no exception. They are not only part of the rule but also have licensing requirement issues (in some states, dual licensing) to contend with […]
July 27, 2023

Your Website Can Be the ‘Apple Store’ of Deathcare

Upping Your Game as a Virtual Business “HARD CONVERSATIONS” and “NORMALIZING DISCOMFORT” are two concepts that funeral, cremation, and cemetery professionals handle and deal with daily. We all recognize the ideal of “being your best on the family’s worst day,” or something very similar, and take it as a rule in serving the families who come to us. Certainly, we all have been called on and have exemplified this in person through various aspects of serving families who need our services. But how do we continue to do this (much less do it better) in a “brave new world” where more and more consumers depend on the internet—whether it be in educating themselves before deciding or by reading reviews from other client families when deciding about choosing your firm? I published an article on e-commerce in the July 2022 issue […]
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