Death Care Industry: Work Together or Die Separately

The world around us is constantly changing and adapting to new trends and ideas. Through this constant change businesses, in every sector, need to learn to adapt and change with it. In the Death Care Industry, we offer products and services that no one wants, yet everyone will need at some point at the end of their life. Yet, even with the inevitable need people’s minds are still constantly changing about what they want and how they want it.

In order for our businesses to survive and provide our communities with the best education on a topic that no one wants to talk about, we need to work together. In many areas it isn’t any secret that Funeral Homes and Cemeteries don’t tend to get along; at least, from an insider of the industry’s perspective. However, if you walk in the shoes of the consumer for just a bit you will start to realize that they don’t separate us. Most people don’t know where the Funeral Home Staff ends and the Vault Company or Cemetery staff begins. They lump us all together. More than anything, this means if the family has a poor experience at any segment of their end of life tribute, the blame gets spread to everyone.

If this is the case, doesn’t it make sense to work together? I think so, and I live by the idea that a rising tide will raise all ships. Let me make it clear I am not suggesting you go out and merge companies or cross train staff (unless you are part of a combo then all staff should be cross trained), nor am I suggesting you break any laws about combinations or referrals; however, I am suggesting you put down your differences and focus on how to better serve families as a Death Care team. We know several facts about the Death Care Industry: Pre-arranging both the cemetery and funeral home needs can and will save a family money, both Funeral Homes and Cemeteries are feeling the pinch of rising cremation rates, and we all can do a better job at educating families about what we do and what the family will need to do when the need arises.

Reaching out and holding a conversation with your local Funeral Homes or Cemeteries may enlighten you to some misconceptions or misinformation you had about them. Understanding how they operate can help you better understand how to work together. There are very small and very subtle ways you can work together to protect families. Simply asking pre-arrangement families if they have taken care of their needs across the aisle is a great start! Many people have some pre-arrangements but not everything is taken care of, by simply asking them if they have their funeral arrangements or cemetery arrangements you can prompt them to be more protected and save more money.

Ultimately, our goal is to provide Peace of Mind to families by allowing them to make decisions based on budgets, logic, and what they want, in a pre-arrangement setting instead of having to make these decisions in an extreme emotional state on the worst day of their life without their loved one there to help them. By extending an olive branch across the aisle you are not only doing a service to your industry partners, but to yourself, and ultimately to the families you serve.

Written by PICLIF Guest Blogger
Richard Winter
Forest Park Cemeteries & Funeral Home
Vice President of Operations & General Manager