Heroes on the front lines. . . . not only in 2020

I was visiting on the phone with the CEO of one of the funeral home consolidation companies on Friday when he asked me how long I had been out of direct management of our business.  I replied that it is just over seven years and I was happy not to have been there during the past year especially when I saw the saw the crushing workload and the sense of funeral directors having to be the “emotional rock” that families […]


The public perception. . . discretion vs. transparency

Many times discretion is warranted.  I know that there were lots of times in my life as a funeral director where I didn’t volunteer information.  It could have been with an accident victim or some other issue where I thought that the next of kin knowing the answer was worse than them not knowing and wondering.  Don’t get me wrong, I always answered if asked, but I didn’t always volunteer information if no one asked the question.  It’s part of […]

Business Finance

Independent operators. . . . .know your value

Back in 1990 I spent about three days north of Vancouver, British Columbia, along the Campbell River fishing for salmon with a group of funeral industry people.  One of the days was spent in a small fishing boat with a gentleman about thirty years my senior who had spent almost his entire funeral service career as an acquisition target expert for the large corporate entities.  Suffice it to say, I listened and learned a lot about the mergers and acquisition […]


Who are your customers. . . where do you find them?

I recently looked at two surveys of the American public, digested what I was reading, and then decided that these surveys give a great deal of information to marketing departments of death care businesses.  However, it will be in extrapolating that data and putting it to use in your marketing plan that the “artistry of marketing” will be seen. The current surveys that I cite both were published in the last two weeks and include a Gallup Survey on Church […]


Will inflation affect your operations

If you have followed my writings for any length of time you know that I look to emerging trends to get a “gut feel” on what is going to be happening in the business world.  Getting that gut feel doesn’t always lead to making fundamental business decisions, but it does lead me to continue watching on the trends and gut feel thoughts with a more precise eye on what is happening. For the most part of the last two decades […]

Business Products Regulations

FEMA to begin taking applications for funeral assistance

We started hearing in early January that the omnibus Covid relief bill passed by Congress in December 2020 would have some type of reimbursement for funeral expenses of Covid-19 victims.  It was rumored that relief would be administered out of the funding provided to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). We’ve now learned in the last couple of weeks that the funeral assistance portion of that bill will become a reality.  Here is an interesting news story and print article […]


Small town funeral homes. . . going concerns, satellites, or gone?

Last week as I was perusing death care articles for future stories an interesting name popped up and I dived in to learn more about what was happening.   The name was “Woodstock” and the article pertained to developers trying to maneuver a way to purchase what had now become the last funeral home property in Woodstock, New York, and get that purchased zoned correctly to operate a hotel on the premises. To those of you who are my age or […]


Business continuity. . . Disaster recovery. . . .are you prepared

For the 33 years that I operated my own funeral home I was a lot like a lot of you out there.  I was so busy dealing with families, making sure that funerals were done correctly, and, just basically, operating the business on a day to day basis that long -range planning sometimes went by the wayside. To be fair, I was pretty good at long-range planning that dealt with budgeting and marketing.  However, there were issues that I probably […]

Business Products

Bringing your public image to reality

If you are operating a business, such as a funeral home or cemetery, and that business has been around for several years, whether you like it or not, that business has a perception to the public.  The good news is that if the business has been around for a length of time, then it is fair to assume that there is a pretty good public image of the business in the consumer’s mind. . . . or the business would […]

Business Regulations

America has too many deaths

We are funeral directors and others in the death care business.  We make our living because of the inevitable mortality of the human race.  We make our living because of death. However, in America there is too much death.  And, I’m not talking just in 2020 and the idea of the COVID-19 deaths that have included about 541,000 souls at present. . . an increase of about 15% over our normal yearly totals. I’m talking about preventable deaths. . . […]