Out-of-State Cremation or Out-Of-State Opportunity

April 13, 2016

Out-of-State Cremation or Out-Of-State Opportunity

One of the biggest parts of success is the ability to adapt and recognize an opportunity. This is something that over the last 30 years many funeral professionals had to do with cremation. I remember when I began working in the industry in the 80’s; cremation was an accepted method of disposition, but it was not as common and very limited in availability in some areas. Back then the regulations were much looser, and there was not as much paperwork. It was also a little tricky to assist with out-of-town cremations because some areas did not have a crematory close by; the accessibility to a crematory was not as easy as today, even in more urban areas. When I had first started with NMS, we provided trade services for local funeral homes in addition to our shipping but as time went on we were recognizing a small drop in our embalming services because more people were going with cremation; so we decided to install our first retort and open Great Lakes Crematory here in Cleveland. This was a great opportunity because we were one of the only crematories in the city and many of the local funeral homes called on us when the need arose. Although we still do a very high volume of cremations, there are crematories all throughout the city. While I may be referencing Cleveland in this example, it is fair to say this same scenario has had or will play out all throughout the country. Cremation rates have grown exponentially over the last 30 years and according to industry resources are expected to surpass the 70% mark by 2030. With this large number of cremations, it makes sense that crematories are built to meet the demand.

The increase in cremation and cremation providers is not necessarily a bad thing. In the world of economics the demand dictates the supply, so understandably more crematories and funeral homes will cater to these families. There is a lot of potential opportunity for the funeral home which offers cremation services and associated merchandise. When mixed with sound marketing strategies, this can help funeral providers to gain additional revenue that they may have lost to their competitor. However, with the availability of information and reach of the internet, a dilemma may occur. Family members may use the internet to find the cremation provider closest to the deceased. The internet makes finding a cremation provider anywhere in the world easy, and at times, there is no need for an in-person meeting. A family member could easily arrange for a cremation and have the cremated remains mailed directly to them, without service or further arrangements all from their home computer. Just the thought of this gives me chills down my back, as I am sure it does you.

So what does a home-town funeral director do about this? I have heard many people in the past tell me they have little or no control over consumer behavior or worse yet; they would much rather not bother with it! With a cremation rate that expected to reach 70% in the next 15 years or less, that’s the last thing I would suggest. For us to thrive as an industry, we have to recognize there are opportunities in the cremation and we may need to adapt to the changing needs of the consumer.


To read more about the cremation opportunities NMS can assist with please visit : Funeral Business Advisor