Whether you are starting a new funeral home or have accepted a management position at a long-standing facility, there are key components to managing this business. You will need to provide compassion and support to grieving families while effectively and successfully managing the day-to-day business of a profitable funeral home.
Employ qualified and licensed staff. Funeral directors are licensed in each state, and all staff should have mandatory licenses, trainings or certificates. Staff must also be flexible to accommodate various, even unusual, requests from families and demonstrate compassion during the time the family is making arrangements and utilizing your facility. Staff should greet visitors paying their respects and ensure that everyone, particularly the family, is as comfortable as possible.
Create a compassionate, supportive environment for grieving families. A funeral home should be tastefully decorated and somewhat understated in colors for walls, carpeting and furniture. Treat each client as if he/she is your first. Listen carefully to his/her needs and wishes and respond accordingly, assuring him/her that the loved one will receive the most compassionate care possible. Understand the family's financial circumstances and be willing to work within their budget limitations.
Know what the competition is offering. If nearby funeral homes are not offering bereavement groups, for example, consider providing the service for grieving family and friends. In building your facility's reputation, it is critical that the family has the easiest time possible making arrangements. Tasks such as writing the obituary, picking up death certificates, arranging for clergy and pallbearers, working with cemeteries or crematoriums to arrange the disposition of the deceased are generally handled by the funeral home. Consider offering preplanning services, and research other services that may be offered by competitors.
Be familiar with various burial customs so you can accommodate the family's needs and requests. Different religions, ethnicities, cultures and even fraternal orders have funeral and burial customs. Even if the request is unusual, do your best to honor it. Also, familiarize yourself with green burials and the available interment sites, in the event that is requested by a family. If you do not accommodate green burials or certain funeral customs or traditions, the family will surely take its business elsewhere.
Utilize appropriate computer software to manage your business. Research specific funeral software, which will help to manage all aspects of your business. Computer software will simplify client record-keeping, obituaries, accounting and a host of other administrative functions.
Listen and respond effectively to client needs and wishes. Consider offering additional services, such as preplanning and bereavement groups. Hire trained, licensed and, whenever possible, experienced funeral staff Utilize funeral business software, which will prove to be more efficient in the management of your business.
Understand the need to evolve as the funeral business changes; be responsive to clients seeking alternatives to traditional funeral and burials services, such as green burials and cremation. Don't ignore what your competitor may be offering.
Cheryl Gorski Ronzoni is a former nonprofit executive who has been writing for more than 15 years. She has been creating online content for nearly five years. Along with business and grant writing, she has experience writing event scripts and feature articles for local newspapers and magazines.