June 22, 2021

Chapter Six: Community Service as Ministry and Marketing

Whether you call this effort aftercare, community service or outreach programming, there are many ways to market the value of your ministry. Imagine you turn on your television and see a barker screaming, “I have a solution that will boost your business, increase average revenue per call, reduce bad debt, grow preneed and increase case count!” (If you’d change the channel, I wouldn’t blame you.) In the 35 years I’ve been researching the topic of community service performed by funeral homes, however, I can tell you straight up that doing community service properly will indeed increase average revenue per call, decrease bad debt, grow preneed services and increase your case count! It will also increase facility utilization (prepandemic, at least). Now, the question: “Why does community service create so many key benefits for my business?” There are three reasons. First, […]
May 25, 2021

Ask the Experts! Your questions about selling your business answered by Foresight!

Buying and Selling continues to be a hot topic with our readers and the profession in general. We were recently asked about the selling process. Chris Cruger provides his insights on this topic. Question: With everything going on right now, should I be thinking about selling my business? Chris Cruger: When considering your options, you need to ask yourself if the time is right to sell? Should you continue to operate? Consider these four issues: Examine your motives for wanting to sell – Is the decision being driven by health reasons, divorce, death, cremation, etc.… – The reason will determine the urgency and timing. Tax Environment – Sellers are able to get a very attractive capital gains treatment right now. A business sold today will have an effective tax rate of approximately 20 percent. That rate could go as high […]
May 25, 2021

Industry Spotlight: The Circadian Rhythm of Buying and Selling

In this industry spotlight, we want to highlight key insights on buying and selling. By my estimate, now in 2021, funeral service and the cemetery business combined make up a $24 billion dollar Market Cap business segment.  This is almost double what it was in 2000. Within the owners we have two groups.  The Public Money group: SCI is $9 billion, Park Lawn is $1 billion, Carriage $700 million, StoneMor $260 million The Private Money group makes up the 75% of all locations. Private Owners (either Mom & Pop or Private Equity money) make up the remaining $13 billion! This is about a 40%/60% split Public to Private.  In 1999, just before the fall of SCI, Loewen, and Stewart the split was about 25%/75% Public to Private. Yet, the Public, worth a combined $11 billion, have built very few funeral […]
May 25, 2021

Bringing Value to the Customer Equation

“I had to live in the desert before I could understand the full value of grass in a green ditch.” – Ella Maillart I share this quote because it richly describes the relationship between today’s consumer and the funeral profession.  The value of the services we provide are often unrecognized by the consumer until long after the loss.  Like the woman who lived in the desert, the survivors need to travel the grief journey to fully appreciate the meadow that can be found with proper planning and guidance. Yet, the unfortunate reality is that the lack in value for the consumer is often a consequence of poor training on our part.  As a profession, we must be able to clearly articulate the value we provide through the services, facilities, and products we offer.    Let me share a quick example: We’re […]
May 24, 2021

Buying and Selling – The Cost of Time

“You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin (Founding Father and polymath) As the aforementioned quote suggests, this writing will focus on potential timelines as well as reasonable expectations of the time it takes to either buy or sell a funeral or cemetery business—when performed correctly.  And just as how I had written about Succession Planning a few months ago, and how like funerals, it just doesn’t happen on its own—that it requires leadership of people active in the process and management of schedules and time.  The buying and selling process is a resulting culmination of your succession planning, and it too requires time management because it simply does not happen overnight.  However, before we discuss what the time costs of buying and selling businesses entail, let’s quickly review what the processes for buying and selling a business […]
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