VIDEO: Expert Insight From Al Creedy

Yesterday, the funeralOne team had the pleasure of having Al Creedy come pay us a visit!

We did a short interview with him to pick his brain about some of the biggest challenges the funeral profession is currently facing.

Here’s what Al Creedy had to say about the funeral profession today:

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5 questions we asked Al Creedy:

  • What inspired you to start a career in the funeral profession?
  • What is one way the funeral profession has changed in the past 5 years?
  • How do you think the funeral profession will change in the NEXT 5 years?
  • What changes do funeral professionals need to make in order to adjust to those changes?
  • What is the profession’s largest challenge right now? How do you think those challenges should be addressed?


    “Ya know how sometimes we get ourselves into situations and nothing we do seems to work to get us out? Well, Alan Creedy has the unique ability to quickly see what can be done, separate it from the ‘rabbit trails’ and create a personal strategy for success.” Alan Creedy is a business advisor and consultant with more than 32 years experience in the funeral and cemetery professions.

    Subscribe for free to his weekly commentary offering insights for better performance by clicking here on The Creedy Commentary

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    1. Jeff Bernardo

      great video… however…. how does he see funeral homes competing with these new competitors…  do we go into the function hall business?  do we just become a conceirge service and a direct disposer?  I agree with things are changing, however… creativly structuring your general price list to eliminate the reliance on caskets, urns, and facilities is the answer….   the key is service… if you can place all of your eggs in the service basket… you will not lose in the eye of the NEW consumer….  

    2. BT Hathaway

      Two things: In response to Jeff, the new consumer will not pay us $10k or $15k to run cremation services for them. That job isn’t proprietary enough to warrant our tradition fees, so we will still need to get by on much thinner margins. In the past people paid us so much because we had so much casket handling expertise. Little of that is needed after cremation.

      And we need to note that Alan has just told us that thousands of funeral homes will no longer exist in the years ahead.

      There may be some opportunities, but there’s also going to be a lot of road kill in the years ahead. There is opportunity of some kind, but nothing on the scale of what we have known.

    3. BT Hathaway

      Two thoughts:

      One to you Jeff, people will not pay us $10k to $15k to run cremation centered memorial services. They will pay us something and probably enough for some of us to make a living, but the value proposition is very different whenever there’s no casket involved. So no matter how we divvy up the pricing, cremation means a lower income. There’s no escaping it.

      And to you Alan, we do have to digest what you’ve said in this interview about the collapse in the number of viable funeral homes across the country. Thousands of firms will disappear in the years ahead, and that will make for some very lonely conventions down the road.

      So much will need to realign. It will be interesting to observe and hopefully survive.

    4. Alan

      jeff and BT for over 150 years we have enjoyed a one size fits all model.  we keep looking for it and we look for it through the casket lens or the embalming lens or the facility lens or all three.  the future will not have a one size fits all model.  

      To BT’s point.  the discussion of the reduction in rooftops is a discussion in and of itself.  suffice it to say that, in too many communities, there are too many funeral homes.  At the same time however it must be said that the practice of wringing more dollars out of our best customers will create as much road kill as non conventional alternatives become more viable in consumers minds.  When I was in the flower business I saw this when a dozen roses hit $75.  The consumer had no objection to spending $75.  But that price point opened up a whole list of alternative options in terms of gifts, nights out etc.  I am not sure the consumer has a problem paying the $10,000.  But at some price point (I am not sure what it is) they say to themselves what else can i do for $10,000 and other options begin to surface.

    5. BT Hathaway

      Which means our industry will eventually require a dramatically different cost and operational model. We will get there in increments, but so many of our time worn assumptions will have to go out the window.

      Lots of experimenting to do.

    6. alan creedy

      regardless of your model if you place all your eggs in any one basket you will lose.  the one size fits all world is over.

    7. Jared Skarda

      Really great interview. Five years ago I developed a business plan for a storefront funeral home that focused on contracting with hotels, banquet halls, country clubs, churches etc.. to provide uniquely tailored events to celebrate a life. Every funeral director I shared that plan with thought I was crazy. Maybe I was at that point, but I still believe that in the future that is going to be the business model for a funeral service provider. Of course there are still going to be many consumers that want a lot of what is considered traditional and the larger more forward thinking funeral homes will always be there to serve those families. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see some of these larger locations open satellite storefront locations in the near future. 

      The key to profitability in the future will come from the realization that every dime of revenue counts. The traditional funeral service model relies heavily on revenue from big ticket items, like caskets and enhanced services. My job puts me in the field and I visit hundreds of funeral directors. Many of them don’t want to be bothered with the minutia that doesn’t generate big dollars. They’re still giving families the same register book that they have been using for forty years. They don’t want to sell flowers, cards, or gifts. They just don’t want to rework their business model to make an extra twenty bucks here and there. What they don’t see is that after a while those twenty dollar bills add up, and sometimes an individual family is willing to spend multiple twenty dollar bills. The good thing is that in most cases your suppliers are willing to do a lot of the work for you. It is during the tough times, like we are experiencing now, that the cream rises to the top. I don’t think anyone wants to be one of those firms that Mr. Creedy was talking about. Change can be very difficult, but not as difficult as working your whole life only to close your doors when it’s all over.    

    8. Krystal

      Good points, Jared.

      I agree that putting a band-aid on our problems isn’t going to fix anything. It’s a matter of researching and asking what our families WANT, and innovating to provide it to them. After all, these days, we live in a consumer-centered world. 

      – Krystal 
      funeralOne Blog Lead

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