Business, Cremation, Products

Will pet cremation be the next “Big Thing” in the funeral home business?

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Every once in a while I come across a couple of items that are sometimes related and it makes me think about potential business aspects of the items when combined together.  That recently happened to me once again — late in September I received a marketing e-mail from the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) regarding “Pets and Cremation”.  And, just on Tuesday, Funeral Director Daily did an article on “Customer Acquisition vs. Customer Retention.”

It made me wonder. . . . .”Will there, in the future, be a possible correlation between how individual funeral homes treat the pet cremation market and their growth via customer acquisition and customer retention?”  In other words. . . .can you build your human death care clientele by offering options in the pet death care realm?

First, let’s just take a simple look at societal trends today.  As communities grow — especially the large urban areas of North America — it appears that individuals will have a smaller and smaller circle of intimate friends.  That’s simply because that the more of us that live in large cities, we have more and more anonymity than those that live and work in the small towns across North America.

I think we have started to see that many of those in the inner cities have turned to pets as a constant companion in their lives.  I think, anecdotally, that shows in the number of small animal veterinarian clinics in urban environments and also in the small animal expertise of current veterinary school graduates. . . as compared to the traditional veterinarians that had a more traditional large/small animal practice in smaller communities.

Barbara Kemmis, Executive Director of CANA said this in her marketing e-mail, “Funeral industry operators have benefited over the past five years from a growing market for pet funeral services, which IBISWorld estimates account for more than 11.3% of revenue in 2020 [$2.4 billion]. .That $270 million in revenue does not account for revenue generated from veterinary hospitals or dedicated pet funeral homes and crematories, so it could be quite low. Fascinating. . .”

I also went back to this article from Funeral Director Daily in November 2020.  The article touches on the acquisition by InvoCare, Australia’s largest public funeral and cremation company, that acquired two pet cremation businesses for US $ 36.44 million.  Those companies did US $14.12 million in revenue for about 66,000 annual pet cremations.  That amount, an average of US $213 per cremation, produced about US  $3.8 million in annual EBITDA.

Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

So, I think it is fair to say that pet cremation has arrived.  It is also fair to say that pet cremation can be profitable.  But, in my opinion, the most positive aspect of the pet cremation growth is that it can help with funeral home/funeral services/human cremation growth by acting as a potential catalyst for customer acquisition and customer retention.

Consumers may put to rest three or four pets prior to ever thinking about where they may eventually have their own human funeral or cremation services.  Can you acquire these potential customers by being their “go-to” provider of pet cremation prior to their need for human care?  For those families who have already used your human funeral or cremation services can you stay top of mind with them over the years by retaining them through pet cremations?

Those are questions that if you answer in the affirmative, you may find an investment in pet cremation very worthwhile.

I think, as death care moves forward, the concept of funeral homes offering pet cremation is something that may be very worthwhile to look into for your brand.

Here is information from CANA that can help grow your knowledge of pet cremation.

Here is the web-site of Schoedinger Pets, a division of Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation of Columbus, Ohio

Here is the web-site for Patch & Purr, InvoCare’s Pet Cremation brand in Australia

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3 Comments

  1. Yes having a pet cremation business and running it out of your funeral home will bring many more families into your facility and give you the opportunity to create relationships with all of those folks. And people have multiple pets who have a much shorter life span so you will serve them more often. But the pet cremation business can be is a very labor intensive business. And it is also very messy and stinky. (much more so than humans). If you are a true pet person it can be very gratifying. Remember to do the math. Pet cremations only average $200 each or less. So 1000 pets a year only generates $200,000 and at that volume you will need at least a crew of 4 people if not more. And remember it too is a 24/7/365 commitment. Not all pets are 20 lb fluffy Pomeranians. There are many 150lb Bullmastiffs and those are the folks that put their pet down at home on Friday afternoon at 5pm (because the vets like to do that at the end of the day) and they want you to come and pick “Bruiser” up right away. The numbers folks who write these articles never really understand all the work that’s involved.

  2. Pet cremation is indeed a mainstay in our funeral industry today, especially for urban and suburban areas. Having been one of the first funeral home pet cremation providers in the industry and the first in our market, I can confirm that pet cremation services when handled with dignity and respect will certainly increase market share. We began our pet business in 2006 and by the time I sold our business in 2017 we were serving over 2400 per families annually. Better yet, we saw on average 6 families a month coming into our premier funeral brand (the one that offered pet care) stating they chose us for a human funeral for mom, dad, etc because we handled “Fluffy” two years before and they thought “if you would do that for a dog, what would you do for grandma?”

  3. Tom,

    The pet memorialization market does contribute to both the acquisition and retention of families.

    Our Fireless Cremation™ pet system retails for $39,900. It would allow funeral providers to offer pet owners four new Sustainable Funeral® options. Here is a link to more information on our new FC Pet150: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ay4m6_HmEPb8_bdNn4wRHYwK_Geapo5k/view?usp=sharing.

    Most people view and treat their pets as if they were children. Our system allows funeral homes to be able to return 100% of the pet’s goodness to families, not just some cremated bones. If considering servicing families’ pets, rather than purchasing a petrochemical crematory, our alkaline hydrolysis system for pets makes a lot more business sense. http://www.firelesscremation.com

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