How to Start a Funeral Business
With the HIV/Aids pandemic in South Africa, one business that is booming is the funeral industry. With death a guaranteed event in everyone’s life at any age, to start a funeral business certainly needs serious investigation. Ethical standards together with care and compassion will ensure your business does well, as your ‘product’ is guaranteed. The funeral industry in South Africa operates by way of independent companies and franchises. The largest independent funeral service provider is Doves. Their two franchises are 21st Century Funerals as well as Martins Funerals.
Start a Funeral Business – There is a Lot of Money to be Spent
To start a funeral business there are many resources at your disposal. So you can read up on the subject to find out what will work and what won’t. Any business start-up will require time and energy. And you will need to study the market and find out who your clients will be. People think that the funeral business is an easy way to make money. Once you are set up it may be an easy way to make money. But to get there first will require spending a lot of money. The amount needed to establish a funeral home will depend on what you intend offering – cremation, graveside funerals, online burial and memorial programmes, a website and an itemised price list.
Start a Funeral Business – Some Things to Consider
There are a number of things to consider before you start a funeral business such as the location and the equipment you will need. Think in terms of services such as embalming. Embalming requires having the right tools of the trade. An embalming machine for instance can cost thousands of Rands. You will need to consider the area of your funeral business in terms of cremation. Did you know that in South Africa a cremation furnace can cost in the region of R1,5 million and to run a profitable and successful business, you will need at least two of these.
To be within the law when you start a funeral business you will also need to look at smoke extractors and the way they are installed. You will need to look at protective clothing, parking for guests and offices for administration purposes. There are many products you will need to get just to get your funeral business going. Some of these include caskets, embalming fluid, make-up, funeral clothes, furnishing and vehicles. You’ll need at least one hearse to start off with and this can cost thousands of Rands.
Start a Funeral Business – Plenty of Non-Tangible Costs and Paper Work
Many people don’t stop to think of the non-tangible things they will also need to start a funeral business such as the insurances. You will need to purchase both vehicle- and property insurance. You will also need a Certificate of Competence to open a funeral parlour and the application must be accompanied by a description of the premises as well as the location. As a funeral business owner, you will also have to deal with a number of insurance providers. You and you staff will have to know how to assist the family in claiming the policy. You will have to know about registration of death, purchasing of graves, making arrangements with the church and the minister and many other administrative matters.
When you do research to start a funeral business, you will need to study the market in the area you want to operate in. When you consider that the cost to set up a crematorium in South Africa is around R7million, then you quickly realise that a funeral business may have the potential to be hugely lucrative, but to first set it up, the costs are so huge, you may have to think twice.