Are you ready to own a funeral home?
Many funeral directors talk about owning their own funeral home but what traits are shared by those that become funeral home owners?
First, they realize they have the aptitude, dedication and desire to be an owner. They’re willing to sacrifice long hours and time away from family to achieve ownership. They're willing to be the last one each night responsible for anything left undone during the work day. They know that if they are making these types of sacrifices already, they may as well be doing it for their own retirement.
Second, they have an entrepreneurial nature. They focus on daily priorities, not the hours of nine-to-five. They have a deep feeling of obligation to serve each family and to protect the reputation of the business. Their personal interactions with families, employees and people in the community drive their daily activities.
Answering the following questions honestly will help you determine if you are cut out for ownership. It will also help you prepare for the questions of a seller or a lender should you decide to go forward.
Do I have the experience?
It takes more than being a licensed funeral director and embalmer to be a funeral home owner. Management experience is critical because owners are responsible for the entire business. Owners manage the flow of first calls, embalming, cremations, arrangements, visitations, funerals, clergy, inventory, supplies, staffing, filings and the other administrative paperwork. Owners also manage relationships with the community, employees, suppliers and clergy. Owners track cash flow while keeping expenses low and successfully collecting receivables. Having solid management experience is often the first requirement for achieving ownership.
Am I entrepreneurial?
Funeral directors are an entrepreneurial group. They focus on daily priorities. They will put administrative duties on hold in order to respond to a death call or a family in need. Funeral directors learn quickly that it is not just another job; they learn that their work requires a high level of personal interaction. These personal interactions drive everything they do and they quickly feel an obligation to serve families in their community.
Do I have the credit and financial resources?
Funeral home purchases are financed with debt. Lenders will look at the funeral home you buy and its ability to service the debt you borrow. They will also look at you, to see if you have a consistent history of making payments on time—credit cards, utilities, house payments. They will want to see that you have money saved for a down payment.
Not all funeral directors with an entrepreneurial dream are cut out for business ownership. Those who are destined for the path of ownership have a detectable enthusiasm, a sparkle. They are not going to dwell on challenges and problems, their focus is on solutions. They can be quiet but confident, they have a firm determination.
At this point you may have realized you’re not ready yet. If this is the case, and you still think ownership is in your future, continue to prepare yourself and invest in getting the right experience.
Or perhaps you are ready to move forward now. If so, take the next step of looking for an intermediary to work with and begin the process.