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Welcome to the ICCFA Think Tank!
You'll find information below that is often asked, some useful statistics that may help members with research, tidbits of trivia and factoids that you might find fascinating. Enjoy!
Q: Is there an average size of a grave? NEW!
A: In modern cemetery design, most cemeteries use a standard 8-foot by 3-foot plot. It's not unheard of to expand that to 9 feet long or to 4 feet wide to accommodate a person of larger size.
Q: What are some facts about the environmental impact of cremation?
You may also want to contact the Green Burial Council for more information.
Q: What are some statistics on the millenial generation's attitude towards end-of-life arrangements?
A: Here is an interesting article from ConnectingDirectors.com.
Q: What is the cost of dying in the UK?
A: According to a Sun Life Direct report, the cost of dying in the UK is £7,622. A funeral costs £3,914 and a cremation is £2,998. See the full report here.
Q: How do I start a crematorium?
A: This is a great question--but also one that is very difficult to answer. There are many steps in any business, and add in a regulated business, such as funeral/cremation, and the steps increase. Here is the general answer (Please keep in mind that these are more of guidelines of things to consider and there may be other factors depending on your specific needs and local rules/laws):
1) A demographic study should be made to determine the market and potential business. This is always a worthwhile investment and particularly in your area where cremation may not be viewed as a positive option.
2) State and local laws, ordinances and regulations should be reviewed. I know this sounds self-serving, but hire legal counsel to help you determine what you need to know here. Also, you can make calls to local regulatory groups to see if there is anything they can provide.
3) Zoning is a huge are of concern for a crematory. You need to reach out to local zoning authority and confirm if a crematory is even allowed, and if so what permits are required. Keep in mind that many areas are quite uncomfortable with crematories and may place special restrictions--including where you are allowed to locate.
4) A business plan is always a suggested idea. This will outline everything you are doing and force you to lay out exactly your plan. This will also allow you to determine the "profit" side of your business. While there are many steps to setting up a business--it is equally important to determine how you will stay in business after you open.
5) One last suggestion is to hire a consultant that can offer industry specific advice. This person can also help with estimating other needs, costs, special issues. In addition to a consultant is the use of industry supplier that may provide services or equipment to you. For example if you are going to put in a retort, you can contact various suppliers and ask them not only about their equipment--but also about setting up and using their equipment.
In addition to all of the general suggestions listed above, you can, and probably should, get involved with local and international groups in this field. You are already reaching out to ICCFA, but you can also attend many programs and expos that will provide educational opportunities. Additionally, by attending these meetings, you will make your own contacts in the profession that can assist you as you go forward.
Q: From a consumer: "Can I be sued by the estate if I choose not to sign my mother's cremation document?"
A: Refusing to participate in the funeral arrangements is not typically the basis for a lawsuit. However, most states do set forth whom is responsible for the funeral arrangements, and the children are typically very high on this list of responsible parties. Because you may be responsible as an authorizing agent to handle the arrangements, it is possible that you will be asked to sign appropriate paperwork.
If you choose not to participate, then other family or the cremation provider may have to file a claim in court. The claim in court would not be to sue you--rather it would be to get the court to allow someone else to handle the disposition. An easier way to avoid this issue is for you, or anyone not wanting the responsibility to handle the funeral arrangements, to waive any rights or responsibilities you have. With a simple form you can either waive your rights or assign your rights to another individual. This way the cremation provider can legally move on to another responsible party and proceed with the cremation.
Q: How do I start a cemetery?
A: The first step is to check with your state funeral/cemetery board. Each state has different regulations and requirements. After that, ICCFA has a brief white paper on "How to Establish a Cemetery." Take a look by clicking here.
Q: What are some facts about baby boomers?
A: According to Prudential in February 2013, baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 a day.
Q: What are some facts about the "tween" generation?
A: See this infographic courtesy of AdWeek.
Q: What are some statistics about our profession?
A: CNBC's news special "Death: It's a Living," which originally aired on January 31, 2013, pulled a variety of facts from around the industry, including:
Q: How do I find a cemetery, funeral home, cemetery-funeral home combo, crematory, pet loss service provider or allied/related business professional in my area?
A: Here is a listing of ICCFA members. You may search by type of business, city and state. You may also search for a particular property name to find out if they are an ICCFA member.
Q: What was the worst cemetery disaster in United States history?
A: The Great Midwestern Flood of 1993 that washed out the Hardin Cemetery in Hardin, Missouri. Nearly 800 headstones, vaults and caskets were unearthed, sending them through streets and fields. It took a massive effort to help recover, identify and return the remains to their rightful resting ground.ShareThis