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datadale's picture

Is the Traditional Funeral Home Service Obsolete?


 There is no question that Cemeteries and Funeral Homes continually need to market and attract new prospects into their doors.  But their challenge is to show these prospects how they can meet their personal needs.

In that respect, many funeral homes are doing more to make the final farewell unique.

Funeral homes facing are challenging times. Many families consider the traditional service mundane and overpriced. More of those families are choosing cremation rather than a funeral. The future of funeral homes might depend on showing loved ones other options.

Serenity Funeral Home & Cremation in Oakland Park, Florida put on a poker party to honor the memory of an avid poker player.

According to Brad Zahn, director of the Tillman Funeral Home in West Palm Beach - People are concerned about money. But they also want to provide a memorable send-off to loved ones. "They want more individualistic, less cookie-cutter type of services."

According to any analysis this month by IBIS World, a global market research company, the $15 billion U.S. funeral home industry is expected to grow more slowly than the national economy — 1.5 percent a year versus 2.5 percent from 2010 to 2020.

The analysis goes on to say that "Falling per capita income during the recession and a rising number of crematoriums have hampered industry revenue.” A cremation costs roughly a fifth of a traditional burial: $1,650 vs. $7,300, IBISWorld said.

So, funeral homes are becoming more and more creative and are doing what the family wants them to. Jack Hagin, president of Brooks Cremation and Funeral Services in Fort Lauderdale, recalls one service that involved about a dozen friends and family sailing on a rented yacht and sipping the loved one's favorite gin. "It was 5 p.m. — cocktail time," he said.

While Direct Marketing can get them in the door, it’s the job of the sales professionals to show value to close the sale.


Bob Fells's picture

HOUSE OF CARDS - A Deck Full of Jokers


Why We Vote

[Note: This essay is one in a continuing series by ICCFA executive director Bob Fells focusing on various issues in our federal government. Although the subjects are political in nature, the approach is bipartisan in outlook, at least so far as that is humanly possible. The goal of each essay is not to persuade the reader to adopt a particular political viewpoint or party, but to illustrate why a knowledge of the system is important to protect our businesses, our homes, and our families.]

HOUSE OF CARDS: A Deck Full of Jokers

Perhaps because a lot of my job involves dealing with the federal government, friends and colleagues have urged me to start watching HOUSE OF CARDS, a Netflix series now apparently in its third season. I like the convenience of on-demand video streaming so I watched the first episode of the first season, then found that Netflix offered handy recaps of seasons one and two. I understand why the series is popular, especially with the hordes who work on Capitol Hill. But the show is about as realistic as the opera NIXON IN CHINA is to the actual events.

The star of the series is Kevin Spacey, who I would judge to be one of the finest actors today. But his character in CARDS, Rep. Francis Underwood, seems a retooling of the J.R. Ewig character from the DALLAS TV series. Indeed, the concept of CARDS might be summed up as DALLAS Goes to Washington.  Like J.R., Spacey’s character Underwood (sounds like “Underhanded”) is just so bad! That’s half the fun, maybe most of it. But the machinations that bring viewers back to episode after episode are over-the-top – neither Congressmen nor Washington reporters end up murdered as far back as I can remember. Hence that creates a comfort zone for those earning their living on Capitol Hill, together with the flattery that what they do is worthy of a TV series, and a suspenseful one at that.

The reality is not only more interesting, but actually has greater consequences than the events on CARDS. I kept looking for real-life personages who might have been models for the characters in CARDS but I didn’t really find any. The eternal power struggle on Capitol Hill is getting re-elected, not grabbing for higher office or sabotaging rivals. Just look at Washington news and you see powerful individuals compromised by their own actions all the time, not by the scheming of others. The latest scandal du jour, Hillary and her State Dept. emails, fit the playbook perfectly. Nobody set up Mrs. Clinton and she has nobody to blame but herself. There isn’t a devious Francis Underwood lurking in the shadows calculating her downfall because no such person is needed.

The real drama on Capitol Hill is the eternal running for office and the only “death” feared is the political death of a failed re-election bid. The folks in the House are up for re-election every two years, all 435 of them. As a practical matter then, they are campaigning all the time. One Congressman, now retired, told me that the morning after Election Day when he won another term, he met with his campaign staff to plan for the next election. This is the real power struggle on Capitol Hill. It probably doesn’t make for very exciting TV drama but it does explain why our representatives are distracted by the business of just staying in office and how every issue in Congress, whether foreign or domestic, is viewed through the lens of “How will this affect my re-election?” This is the price we pay for a full-time federal legislature and especially for career legislators who have no “real” job to return to because serving in Congress has become their real job, government is their business, and everybody wants to grow their business. But then this would not make for a suspenseful TV series.  


Rick Platter's picture

Industry News 3.12.2015


Mike Lewis returns to state funeral director's board (U.S.)

Traditional American funerals are dead – but not buried (U.S.)

Changing society leads to upward trend in cremation rate (U.S.)

Court Rules Milwaukee Archdiocese's $55 Million Cemetery Fair Game In Bankruptcy Case (U.S.)


Wife says strip club a fitting venue for Al Zuccarini's funeral - See more at:
Rick Platter's picture

Industry News 2.18.2015


Advertise in the On-site Convention Program. Be seen in the Conventions Guide. Click to download the form and order your ad space.

ND Senate OKs bill to fund burials for veterans' spouses (U.S.)

African-American woman hopes to break down racial barrier in funeral home business (U.S.)

Funeral home offers DNA banking (U.S.)

Funeral home’s mobile showrooms take services to grieving families (U.S.)

As cremation becomes more common, new regulations could make it harder for crematoria to thrive - See more at:,0,5286292.story#sthash.MYO6qrH6.dpuf
As cremation becomes more common, new regulations could make it harder for crematoria to thrive - See more at:,0,5286292.story#sthash.k0kcfpjE.dpuf
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