Earlier this year two of the largest publicly owned death care companies in North America merged, creating further consolidation in an industry that was once dominated by smaller family owned businesses. Consolidation within an industry can raise concerns for smaller entities. Larger companies have the ability to centralize many of the services provided to customers and significantly reduce overhead. In addition, they have the competitive advantage of purchasing goods in volume which leads to large volume discounts.
A large percentage of independently owned funeral homes and cemeteries are family owned businesses. The businesses must find a way to remain competitive and plan for the future. Independent death care operators must manage high fixed costs – rents, salaries, equipment, vehicles – the list goes on and on. Some positive news is that although the large publicly owned death care companies are able to reduce costs; these costs are usually passed onto the shareholders rather than the consumer.
Some items that independently owned death care companies should be discussing and evaluating to remain competitive and be viable for future generations are:
– Building and maintaining a reputable company image
– Conducting and evaluating customer surveys
– Developing marketing and investment strategies for the increasing cremation rates
– Investing in sales training to increase pre-need sales
– Conducting an analysis of competitors in the local marketplace
– Succession planning
If you have questions or concerns regarding the current operations of your cemetery or funeral home or any of the items in this article, please contact Jamie Iseminger, CPA, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 301-662-2400.
About MKS&H: McLean, Koehler, Sparks & Hammond (MKS&H) is a professional service firm with offices in Hunt Valley and Frederick. MKS&H helps owners and organizational leaders become more successful by advising them regarding their financial, technology and human capital management needs.