Fewer funeral homes = lower costs?

Lisa, I’m not an FD. I posted comments here because Josh sent an email about it to the discussion list. I’m not interested in adhering to any dogma, whether it be from FCA or anyone else. I’m only interested in truth and facts. I do think this article, and the table with it, is somewhat misleading. I didn’t intend to get into a discussion of this, but I will if it leads to some constructive dialogue. First, I do think there can be a debate about whether a funeral home having more calls would cause them to lower costs. Staff expenses are the biggest expense of any funeral home. The more calls they have, the more staff they need to handle those calls. They need to pay the staff, and might end up passing that expense on to the customer. They also will need more vehicles and probably larger facilities. SCI is the largest funeral provider in America, and they have the highest prices. There is not a direct, cause-effect relationship between larger funeral home size and lower prices. A funeral home that does 260 calls a year (one funeral per weekday per year) needs at least 3-4 funeral directors on staff, maybe more. One funeral director cannot handle a funeral every single day. There’s way too much work. A funeral home that does 60 calls a year can get by with employing only 1 or 2 funeral directors. In many cases, a funeral home that size can operate from the funeral director’s house, which many of them do. That saves costs, which can be passed on to the customer. I also know of many funeral homes that are combined with another business, such as a furniture store. These are not relics of a bygone era. I know of at least 4 small funeral homes in my local area that are attached to a furniture store. I also don’t know if I agree with the idea that a full-time funeral home has to have one funeral every day. Sounds like an arbitrary distinction. I think two or three funerals a week is plenty for a funeral home to be considered full-time. If a funeral home does two funerals a week, that’s still over 100 funerals a year. If the average funeral price at that funeral home is $3,000, which is a very reasonable price considering that the average nationwide is $8,500, that funeral home generates $300,000 in revenue in one year. I would think a small funeral home, with a small staff, can operate profitably on $300,000 a year. I guess I just don’t buy the idea that a funeral home that does fewer than 260 calls a year would necessarily lead to higher prices for the consumer. Is this what FCA really wants? A “Wal-Mart” funeral home every 30 miles?

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