Funeral homes play a significant role in honoring the deceased’s last wishes and helping their families grieve. For this reason, running a funeral home is equal amounts stressful and fulfilling. If you’re a new owner of a funeral home, here are some pieces of business advice:
1. Adapt to changes as they come
Nowadays, funeral homes face new challenges brought about by the changes in the market. The increasing preference for cremation, for starters, is directly affecting the revenue of funeral homes that earn more through traditional burials. There is also the continuous development of e-commerce, which allows families to buy funeral needs online.
While you can’t control what people want, you can combat the decreased revenue by offering niche services. For example, you can consult CNC laser-etching machine suppliers and create memorial plaques in-house. You can also offer specialized funeral services to cater to families’ ethnic and religious needs.
2. Learn how to say no
As a funeral director, one of the many challenges you’re going to face is having to say no to families of the deceased. There are going to be people asking for ridiculously lower fees, families with unfeasible requests, and those asking for payment terms, all of which can hurt your business. Even if you have made your policies clear, there are always going to be people asking for leeway. But what can you do?
It’s not easy to decline the requests or demands of people who are already going through a tough time. However, your business won’t last long if you agree to every unreasonable request. What you can do instead is help them find another solution, so instead of saying no and ending the discussion at that, you can say, “We can’t do that, but there might be another place who can.”
3. Work hard on your reputation
One of the key drivers to a funeral home’s success is its reputation among the local community. In your first few years of operations, do everything you can to establish and maintain a good reputation among the community. You can achieve this by providing excellent service consistently, communicating well with the families of the deceased, and maintaining an active presence online. First impressions matter, and if you are seen as a reputable establishment early on, more and more families will be willing to trust you.
4. Learn when and what to invest in
Determine what you need to invest in that will make your operations more efficient instead of things that you don’t necessarily need (at least not right now). For example, if you are just starting, you should buy the right number of dressing tables you expect to use. As your business expands, that’s the time when you should buy more. Resist the urge to pour all your capital in the latest tech and the swankiest equipment. The time will come when you can and should invest in better stuff.
Funeral homes rarely face direct competition, but a lot of challenges might come your way. Especially now that you are just starting, take these pieces of advice to heart and be on the lookout for opportunities for improvement.