Oct 31, 2014
With newly-opened start-ups folding up left and right and decades-old companies recently biting the dust, entrepreneurs are scrambling to look for new milking cows. Too often, all the business ideas that one could ever think of have been snagged by everyone else. One is hard put to come up with a business that is remotely game-changing, if not trailblazing. And this is why it is a more sensible idea to find ways to milk old cows rather than pointlessly trying to find new cows to milk, figuratively-speaking.
A type of business that is not popular in terms of being put up, but is quite an essential to life, and death for that matter, are funeral homes. Admittedly, they are not popular in that not a lot of entrepreneurs would want to deal with such a sorrowful and stressful means of making a living. This is exactly what makes it even more a better business opportunity for the businessman who is not afraid of taking risks and giving good service in the face of grief and desolation.
And it’s surprising how easily funeral homes are set up given the right checklist.
In terms of equipment, only an embalming machine, an embalming table, refrigerated storage, and hydraulic lifts are needed for the funeral home. A cremation machine is optional but could be an added attraction to the business. These items are what should eat up most of the capital, assuming that the place is owned and not rented. Unfortunately for the businessman, the business would not run without these.
Furthermore, the other supplies needed include a varied and ample stock of caskets, clothing for the deceased, embalming fluid, makeup and urns (note: urns are only needed if a cremation option is available). The business would benefit with a nicely laid out display of the coffins, clothes and other materials involved in planning the funeral. If the space would not allow for this, having a comprehensive catalog is a good alternative. Needless to say, the supplier for these items should be top-notch and reliable.
The place should also have couches, chairs, kitchen utensils and other furniture like lampshades, coat rack, umbrella stand and the likes, not only for their functionality but also to make the place look homey and comfortable, if not soothing. There’s nothing more soothing than a good ambiance, and this holds true for funeral homes as well.
There should be at least one quiet corner with a small table and comfortable couches facing one another that would allow for an intimate one-on-one perhaps between a close guest and the widow or a parent of the deceased.
Speaking of space, the location plays a major part. It has to have enough space for visitation, viewing, receiving of guests, the funeral rite and the office. But these are only those that the guests and clients see. Not to be forgotten are the areas for embalming, applying makeup and dressing up the deceased. In addition, there should be a private room for the family where they can rest, eat and be away from everyone for a little while if need be. It should also be accessible for visitors, have ample parking and a spacious driveway for a more manageable traffic from the parking lot to the street for funeral processions.
Also needed are at least one hearse and one limousine. Expensive as these might be, there is a way around it. It is good to note that while the business is just starting and might not yet be able to afford to purchase these outright, these could very well be rented when needed. All the business needs is a supplier for this, again one that is top-notch and reliable. Purchasing these vehicles could be put off for when the business is making enough money to afford it.
A business and vehicle insurance (if applicable) would be good to have but are not mandatory.
What should also be of utmost importance though are employees and people to do the job. These people should be skilled, adept and loyal. They should be counted on to get the job done and done right – from bringing in and prepping the deceased for viewing and funeral, to making sure the funeral home is ready for days and nights of wake, to driving the hearse to the cemetery and finally burying the deceased. They are to ensure that all expectations are met and requests delivered down to the very last detail.
When the business is already set up and ready for operations, it may be a good idea to buy some ads in the local dailies, radio stations and TV stations. Hanging a banner in the property announcing its opening is also a good idea, and cost-effective too. Now these are all helpful in helping the business become a success but are by no means mandatory.
Essentially, the crux of the business lies heavily on how well the deceased is prepared for viewing and funeral. From the manner the deceased is embalmed, to the clothes that he or she is wearing, how he or she is made up and how the funeral home itself fares in aesthetics and accessibility.
Ultimately, among all the funeral homes in existence, there is not much difference among them really except for the way they each treat the deceased, making that the yardstick with which client satisfaction is measured. The funeral home would do well if it adds a great deal of compassion and empathy to the clients. This could go a long way in these dealings. After all, aside from the impeccable service that is being given them, the family of the deceased also needs to know that their loved one is well taken care of in his or her last days and that they have made the right choice in choosing this unassuming yet genuine one over the other more glitzy, gimmicky and potentially more expensive funeral homes.