2007 NFDA Survey Results

Funeral Professionals Weigh In at NFDA
In the past few years Homesteaders has taken a more active role in the pursuit of knowledge about customers and consumers alike. It seemed only fitting to seize the opportunity at the NFDA convention in October to seek out opinions of attending funeral professionals.

Homesteaders posed seven questions covering a variety of topics, many of which have been discussed in one form or another in trade publications in the past year.

The results are compiled from a small, non-scientific sample. They aren't projectable to the universe of funeral home owners but they do provide some insight into the attitudes and practices of many funeral professionals. Keep reading to find out how your attitudes and practices compare.

Does your funeral home currently offer on-site receptions for the families you serve?
The results are almost split down the middle, with just over half indicating they currently are not offering on-site reception capabilities to the families they serve. A lot of press has been devoted to the topic of incorporating some kind of reception or catering offering to help capture revenue that is likely going elsewhere. These results indicate many are on-board with the idea, but many are still not convinced.


Does your funeral home help with travel arrangements for visiting family and friends?
Again, the results are divided fairly evenly, but this time more funeral professionals indicate they are helping with travel arrangements than not. While the question did not delve into the specifics of how these services are delivered, the responses do indicate that many are involved in some degree.


Do you most often use a hearse, van, or some other type of vehicle for transferring decedents to the funeral home?
The results indicate overwhelmingly that vans are being utilized much more than traditional funeral vehicles for transferring decedents to the funeral home. It's worthwhile to note, however, that some are either still using a hearse / coach or feel that either type of vehicle is appropriate.


Which of the following best describes the kind of obituaries available on your web site?
In many cases, the obituaries found on a funeral home's website are the same as the ones printed in the local newspaper. A healthy proportion, however, are different. Interestingly, some funeral homes still do not have a Web presence.


Do you think a funeral home offering pet cremation services should do so under a separate, different business name or the same name as the funeral home?
More and more press is being devoted to the topic of pet cremation and how to make it a successful part of the funeral business. Many of these respondents believe it's best to offer pet cremation under a different entity instead of using the existing funeral home name for this operation.


Which of the following best describes your level of consideration for offering pet cremations?
Very few of the funeral professionals who responded are currently involved with pet cremations and many indicate they are unlikely to become involved any time soon. Nearly half, however, are thinking about offering pet cremations, demonstrating the potential for this business in the future.


What kinds of marketing activities does your funeral home use to promote its at-need and preneed business?
For the most part, the marketing activities are used in fairly the same proportion for both the at-need and preneed sides of the business. Two main exceptions, however, are noted. Direct mail and group presentations are much more likely to be used to promote preneed offerings. While these two promotional methods have perhaps traditionally been tied to preneed, it does not necessarily preclude them from being effective tools for sharing information about at-need capabilities.


This research touched briefly on a variety of topics related to funeral service. Homesteaders will continue to explore the attitudes and opinions of funeral professionals and to share insights in the future.