Titan Casket appears on CBS Sunday Morning



I’ve been maligned and others in the profession have told me I am wrong when I say the funeral directors and funeral home owners can be “Entrepreneurial”.   Several people have dropped me notes or emails that tell me I am “dead wrong” and death care is a business that is not entrepreneurial, but it is a group of people who are stuck “doing what they do”.  And, because of that, many “stuck in their way” funeral directors or funeral home owners will not move forward another generation with their businesses..


You know, I’m not in total disagreement with people that tell me that.  However, my opinion is that funeral directors, like many in small businesses all over this country, pivot when they have to so that they are what the public is looking for.  It’s happened several times in the death care business and maybe some of my critics are correct by thinking it won’t happen now and many funeral businesses will become obsolete.  Part of that thought is that “change” happens so much faster today.


My biggest entrepreneurial move in my career, at least in my own opinion, was in 1991 when our funeral home greatly increased our service charge and at the same time went to a 100% wholesale cost of casket to the consumer.  It turned out to be the best financial (and budgeting) move that I ever made. . . . . we no longer had to “sell” caskets in the selection room.  We made our profit when the family chose our firm and paid our service charge.


Many thoughts went into that decision not the least of which was where we should make our money?  Prior to that decision a marked up Bronze casket with normal service charges and a very small funeral was easy to conduct and very profitable.  A cloth covered casket with normal service charges and dozens of flowers to arrange, a large family, and hundreds of guests at the funeral took more manpower, was more expensive to stage – even though less margin was brought in because of the family choice of an inexpensive casket – and was more difficult to conduct. . . . . and furthermore, we made much less money than the Bronze, small funeral.


It didn’t seem right to me. . . . .our profitability was dependent on the casket we sold.  And, maybe we showed that in the selection room by pressuring people.


Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

So, with a lot of calculations to make sure we didn’t go backwards with our profitability, at one point in time we more than double raised our service charge price . . . . and actually told our clientele that when you enter the casket selection room, all caskets were at our provider’s catalog wholesale price.  We kept any discount we would earn for early or quantity payments.


Best decision we ever made.  We no longer had to “stage” our selection room to get to the average price we intended.  We now placed low priced caskets, medium priced caskets, and expensive quality caskets on the same floor, let our clientele ask questions. . . and didn’t really care, from a profitability standpoint, what casket they selected.  Our profitablity was based on the service selected and was “locked in” when the family choose our firm and that service.


You know what?  People loved it.  Maybe we lost a few comparison shoppers that we didn’t have the opportunity to explain to make sure you compare the costs of the “Services and Casket”. . .not just the services.  But most people thanked us for being honest and upfront and we grew market share which I believe was helped by this philosophy.


I’ve always felt, not only in the funeral business, but in other businesses that I’ve been involved with as well, that taking care of your customer by offering a wide latitude of choices, is a key to success.  So much so, that in 2005 when we built our new funeral home we did not put a selection room into the building.  Computer access and large screen monitors allowed us access into our casket company’s warehouse and our client families would be given a menu of options that allowed them to choose from hundreds of available caskets at the time of death directly from the warehouse and not be limited to a showroom floor of about 20.  They loved that too. . . and we were guaranteed 24-hour delivery by our supplier.


We still operate that way.


And, by buying 100% of our caskets from that one company, they turned what used to be a 2% prompt payment discount into an 18% quantity discount over time.  On a $1000 casket, that increased discount turned into an additional $160 while the families still purchased at the catalog wholesale price.


So, I do think that there are funeral home entrepreneurs out there — I think I was one of them.  Which brings me to the point of this article and the growing success of Titan Casket Company.  Started by the husband and wife team of Josh and Liz Siegel and their partner Scott Ginsberg, the company offers caskets to consumers online for delivery to funeral homes.  They have a growing network of facilities across the United States to do so.


They are catching on, as you can see and hear about on this recent CBS Sunday Morning feature on their company that aired nationwide.  In my opinion, we live in a world where consumers want choice. . . and many consumers want that choice available to them on their computers or phones without the interference of a salesperson.


Titan Casket has an option that allows funeral homes to work with them and profit from that.  To learn more about that program click here.  Maybe, like my funeral home, back in 2005 when we opened up the warehouse to the consumer, giving the consumer more choice will grow your business like it helped do for us.


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1 Comment

  1. Jacob Wittrock on May 1, 2023 at 9:47 am

    Much agreed. Titan Casket and any other internet seller exist because funeral homes “let them”.

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