22 Must-Read Lessons from Successful Funeral Homes

Lessons From Successful Funeral Homes


We asked 50 successful funeral homes the question: “What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since you’ve been in the funeral profession?”

The response was amazing.

And thanks to them, we’ve got 22 undeniably awesome lessons about business, families, grief, community and social media to share with you!

Here’s what they had to say:

Grief & Healing

#1: “Always be a good listener, for even the strongest people don’t always show grief!”
– Abbey Baier, Baier Funeral Home

#2: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care… be sincere or be nothing at all.”
– Anonymous, Asheville, NC

#3: “Everyone, no matter what their position in life, deserves to have a few words said over them in death.”
–  Tharen Haley, Shackelford Funeral Directors

Hiring the Right Staff

#4: “Invest in human equity. If they don’t have the proper skill set, help them get it. Don’t let cost be the only deciding factor.”
– Lee Swallows, Sunset Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery

#5: “If the new owner is wanting to lead the local market in innovation and change, hiring like-minded people is a must.  Trying to cope with employees that don’t share your vision is unneeded trouble.”
-Vince Stone, McCune Garden Chapel

#6: “I’d say hire people by their heart for service first… the rest will fall into place.”
– Kenneth Smith, Dansby Memorial Chapel

#7: “Hire personality, intellect and accountability…not age or experience.”
– Jeff Harbeson, Family Choice Funerals & Cremations

Making Cremation Profitable

#8: “When we as service providers get our eyes and head out of the GPL and go above and beyond to serve, the rest will take care of itself.”
– Vince Stone, McCune Garden Chapel

#9: “Never assume what a family requesting cremation may wish to do in regards to a viewing and memorialization. Be open to all requests made by the family for doing things that are meaningful and significant to them.”
– Erin Phelps, Omega Funeral & Cremation Service

#10: “Educate the consumer. Educate, educate, educate!”
– Brad Evans, Harris Funeral Home

#11: “Price is important when you are not.”
– Frank Lewis, Jackson, Lytle & Lewis Funeral Home

Social Media

#12: “Keep your posts and your topics interesting.  The biggest mistake you can make is constantly posting depressing topics.  Change it up and let your “followers” know that you are human and have a sense of humor.”
– Patrick Fahenkrug, Wieting Family Funeral Home

#13: “I have learned that a website is not enough. You must be proactive in engaging people before they need your services. You must be a source for many informational topics, from VA benefits, eldercare, wills and even estate planning.”
– Erin Phelps, Omega Funeral & Cremation Service

Supporting Families

#14: “Don’t ever say no to a customer request… they don’t care why it can’t be done.”
– Dale Clock, Clock Life Story Funeral Home

#15: “Always exceed the expectations of the families you serve.”
– Jeff Levesque, Brady & Levesque Funeral Home

#16: “Never make assumptions! Treat each family as you would your own and ensure each family is treated as though they have never arranged a funeral before. That way, you do not miss any critical information they need to make an informed decision.”
– Sonya Henderson, Parkland Funeral Home and Crematorium


#17: “Be yourself. Don’t try to be a ‘funeral director’. That just means you aren’t a very good one.”
– Amanda Shepherd, Rupell Funeral Home

#18: “Learn when to keep your mouth closed!”
– Kenneth Smith, Dansby Memorial Chapel

#19: “Treat every dead person as you would a living person.”
– Anonymous, Phillipines

#20: “None of us know it all, so make some friends with other funeral home owners and managers.  That way when you hit a roadblock you can always call on someone for some advice to try to get you back on track.”
– Adam Kendrick, McCartney’s Johnson Funeral Home


#21: “It is imperative to be a part of the community in which you do your business. People need to see that funeral directors are ‘normal people’ as well.”
– Margaret Reinold, Decker Funeral Home

#22: “Be open to providing services to all members of the community (different ethnic, cultural and religious groups).”
– Erin Phelps, Omega Funeral & Cremation Service

These successful funeral homes all demonstrate some worthwhile lessons we can learn from. Think about how you incorporate them into your funeral home, or, even more,  share them with someone new to the profession.

What lessons were your favorite? Are we missing any? Let us know in the comments below!



Krystal_Penrose_LtBlueABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Krystal Penrose is the content marketer and funeralOne blog manager. As content marketer, her role is to research the changing needs of today’s families, and present them to funeral professionals through educational content. Krystal also engages with thought leaders in the industry to help create an  online community for funeral professionals across the country. funeralOne’s solutions include:website designaftercareeCommerce, and personalization software.




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