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Funeral Homes Renovate Look and Services
The times are ever changing, and many things just aren’t the same as they used to be. Funerals are no exception (though you won’t hear and complaints about that from me). More and more families are planning celebrations of their loved one’s life after they pass on, rather than somberly mourning the loss.
Between that and the fact that the national cremation rates continue to rise (with an expectation of 50% by 2025), resulting in drops in the revenue that funeral homes bring in, funeral home owners are taking the hint and making some changes.
According to a 2001 survey by the NFDA, nearly 89% of small business funeral home have started making such renovations as adding a reception hall, complete with couches, fountains, the ability to serve food and drinks, etc. Those that are on the same property as a cemetery have started adding gardens, waterfalls and gazebos.
Other funeral homes are expanding the services they offer. Some are implementing catering services into the selection, offering to do so not only at the funeral, but also when the family gathers at someone’s home afterwards, so that no one has to worry about cooking – they can just be there for each other.
Additionally, some funeral home owners are considering being available to help make travel arrangements for out of town friends of family of the decedent, by possibly working out partnerships with local hotels and travel agencies. There is also the possibility of partnering with a local law firm to help clients get a head start on estate planning and wills when they pre-plan their funeral, or to help a family whose loved one never got around to such planning.
It all boils down to having everything at your fingertips so that it is convenient for clients in a time of sadness, and that they are able to add their personal touches to their “life celebrations” (f/k/a funerals), and make it one all their own.
And, with the renovations, some funeral homes have even started renting their space for other events, such as wedding receptions. Though, in that case, I would hope they removed the term “funeral home” from the sign out front. It might not be so nice to say that your wedding reception will be held at Johnson Funeral Home. Now there’s a positive outlook on the marriage!
• BusinessWeek.com: A Wedding at a Funeral Home?
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