There is no doubt that opinions can sway back and forth and can change over time. I’ve noticed it in my own life. . . . as a young person I pretty much looked at every issue as black or white. As I’ve aged and had the opportunity to experience more things, meet different people, and take the time to look at things from another’s perspective. . . .I’ve come to see the world in differing shades of gray. . . and I think that is a good thing.
I tell you of that perspective because the older I get, the more I believe that there is lots of room under the death care tent for those that want to do things in a different way. I began my full time career in 1980 and back then things were pretty black and white between immediate cremation and full service traditional burials. . . it generally was one or the other. . .not much in between.
It also was that way with the way independents looked at the consolidator companies such as Service Corporation International. From an independents point of view, they were the bad apple — client families that choose those firms must have been hoodwinked to think they were still family businesses. That is the way we thought.
From my perspective, a lot has changed in the last forty years. Independent funeral firms are small businesses with owners and employees that care about their community and the families they serve. But guess what? I’ve came to believe that consolidator companies also employ people who put down roots in a community and care about that community and the families that they serve. Both types of operations can be good for funeral service and good for communities. The values and motives of the consolidators, as are the values and motives of independent firms, are not diametrically opposed. I believe they both want to give great service to client families, and yes, they both have a profit motive also.
In America we have got used to this fact about funeral home ownership. As a matter of fact, we have had local, regional, and national consolidation for over 60 years when you go back to the beginning with SCI and local firms like Los Angeles’ Pierce Brothers. It has not, however been that way all around the globe.
Back a little over two years ago, Funeral Director Daily brought you this article entitled, “Australian funeral bid company competes against public firms”. It talked about the upstart company, eziFunerals, which we defined as a web-based technology company that advertise to potential funeral and/or cremation families to list what they are looking for in a death care service and location. Through technology they would find funeral homes that matched up with the criteria.
Recently we have seen eziFunerals ratchet up their fight for the independents against the two public funeral home companies in Australia, InvoCare and Propel Funeral Partners. Through these public relations pieces it is evident that eziFunerals is looking to the independents as their clientele. Here are a couple of their recent public relations pieces:
We think eziFuneral is a good concept and has a good chance of being a highly used medium to help families choose the funeral home that best suits them. Especially, if the results of a recent Foresight Company Funeral and Cemetery Behavior Study done in the United States would have similar results down under. That study indicated that 75% of consumers want online pricing and 52% of the respondents indicated that they will not do business with a firm that does not have online transparency.
We also understand that eziFuneral needs a clientele of funeral homes to buy their services to stay a going concern. I’m just not so sure that pitting independents against consolidators is the way to do so . . . . nor a way to enhance the profession in the long run.
Here is the web-site for eziFunerals.
A Thank You to our readers and sponsors: We believe that Funeral Director Daily continues to be the fastest growing information medium in the death care profession. Just this week we passed the 1200 daily subscriber number. That is so humbling to me as for a long time when I started and had not yet caught on I wrote articles that only about 7 people actually read – and that number included my wife and children!!. And, all of the growth has been organic and has been done through word of mouth and no paid advertising for readers. The growth has been incredibly humbling to this old, retired funeral director who continues to enjoy learning and disseminating what I learn about the profession to others coming after me.
People in the profession have noticed and, just in the last month, I’ve been asked to write something or participate in a webinar for Barron’s, The Southern Funeral Director Magazine, Funeral Nation, and the University of Minnesota Department of Mortuary Science.
And, a huge thank you to our sponsors whose logos and products you see on our pages. Without those people believing that what is done at Funeral Director Daily is good for our profession we would not be able to pay our costs of distribution of the enterprise. Thanks for believing in what I am writing.
Have a great weekend.
More from the world of Death Care:
- Embalming and open coffin are o.k. says Kildare embalmer. Kildare Nationalist – Ireland
- Hank investigates cremation body viewing during pandemic. Video and print story. News 7 Boston.