A Funeral Home Owner’s Summer Strategy

Welcome to Memorial Day weekend! The unofficial beginning of summer.

Even here in Michigan, it finally feels like summer. Pollen is in the air, even my laziest neighbor has finally started cutting his grass, and grilling season is in full swing.

As we head into the next few months, there’s a natural tendency to put your business building endeavors on the back burner and focus on enjoying the summer. You can finally kick back with a cold beverage and relax.  After all, there are times to work hard, and there are times to coast. 

One of the worst things you could do this summer is to coast. Yes, you should take a vacation and recharge your batteries, but then get back to work and make some progress.


Because your independent competitors are probably coasting. They’ve often checked out and are not trying to grow their businesses.

But your corporate competitors are not coasting this summer. Instead, they’re working on taking over the market and putting you out of business.

Growing a funeral home business in today’s market requires becoming a contrarian or disrupter. That’s someone who goes against the trend and rejects popular opinion. 

Popular opinion is that families, especially cremation families, only care about the lowest price.

Popular opinion is that a licensed Funeral Director is the only person able to serve a family.

Popular opinion is that if you wait long enough, families will eventually want traditional funerals again.

When Covid hit and the country locked down, most funeral homes were under severe restrictions regarding the services they were allowed to offer. As a result, most funeral homes pulled back and offered practically nothing.

But my clients, who are primarily contrarians, found new and creative ways to provide safe services to families. As a result, their businesses grew while competitors struggled to make payroll.

This summer, I invite you to be a contrarian. Rather than coasting, work on building your funeral home business. 

Here are five initiatives you can work on this summer that will pay dividends come fall.

#1 – Create and promote outdoor experiences.

A client recently sent me a picture of a new outdoor patio he had installed off the side of his funeral home. It looks fantastic, and I can definitely see families taking advantage of the patio to gather outside.

Another client has a pavilion overlooking a pond, yet another has an outdoor firepit area surrounded by Adirondack chairs. Add some beverages and finger food and you’ve created a unique funeral experience that families will value.

If you have an outdoor gathering space for families, promote it! If you don’t have one, it is time to create one.

#2 – Focus on building relationships

One funeral home I know of has a towable BBQ trailer that they use to put on events for local hospice workers. They also take the trailer to every church picnic in the area.

Another owner I know sponsors a monthly golf outing for local clergy members. He’ll have one of his Funeral Directors in each foursome, and they’ll have the whole day to connect with people who can refer families. 

Summer is the perfect time for building relationships.

#3 – Promote monument sales

Cemeteries, like parks, get a lot more foot traffic in the summer. That makes it the perfect time to promote monument sales.

A simple Google Ads campaign can help you connect with families who experienced a loss during the year and are just now getting around to designing and purchasing a headstone or monument.

By the way, every monument lead is also a potential pre-need lead for your funeral home.

#4 – Collect pictures & videos

The summer is the perfect time to collect new pictures and videos that you can use for promotional campaigns throughout the year. The outside of your funeral home will look its best, and the inside will benefit from lots of natural light. 

Updating your staff photos this summer while everyone looks their best is also a great idea.

#5 – Plan for a September pre-need campaign

This summer is the perfect time to plan your fall pre-need campaign. We can create all the materials and have everything ready to roll by late August. That way, you can hold an in-person pre-need event in September, another in October, and another in early November.

The effectiveness of pre-need marketing drops off after Thanksgiving and doesn’t pick up again until February or March, depending upon your local weather. That’s why it’s so important to be ready to roll out your campaign in September, or you will miss the window of opportunity.

If you’re serious about a fall pre-need campaign, you must create it in the summer.

This summer, be a contrarian and continue working on growing your business while your competitors take the summer off and coast. If you are serious about building your funeral home business, now’s the time to take action!

Until next time



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