If you're debating a career in the funeral industry, one of the primary attractions may be its steady nature -- people pass away in both economic booms and busts. However, the funeral industry can suffer its own mini-recessions, as well as face other economic problems. Read on to help determine whether the funeral business is a career option you wish to pursue, as well as how to make the (financial) most of your decision.
How do economic fluctuations affect the funeral business?
As Benjamin Franklin reportedly once said, the only two things certain in life are death and taxes. Because of this, funeral directors are nearly always guaranteed a steady supply of potential business. However, obtaining customers may be a different matter. If your prices are higher than the area averages, or your services themselves just aren't as popular or high-tech, you may find yourself losing business to a nearby competitor.
Funeral directors must always be cognizant of their potential customers' needs and wishes, and structure their own business accordingly. For example, if -- in an effort to save money on a funeral service -- a family comes to you with a casket they've pre-purchased from a big box store, will you charge a handling fee for this casket? Or will doing so drive away business? You'll need to be in tune with your local community to help strike the right balance between accommodating and profitable.
Funeral directors can also find their revenue affected by changes in state and local laws that regulate the funeral business. For example, in states that have relaxed prohibitions on "home burials" and other interment options that don't always include a formal funeral, funeral homes can find themselves losing customers during economic recessions.
What should you consider if you want to become a funeral director?
The most important qualities for a successful funeral director are compassion and logic. Every day, you'll be dealing with individuals going through perhaps the worst time of their lives. You'll need to gently discern their needs and wants while remaining compassionate and empathetic to the pain they're experiencing.
You'll also need a good head for business and management -- and if you don't have one yourself, you may need to hire one. Many funeral directors choose to add an additional staff person to help manage many of the personnel and accounting aspects of the business. By utilizing the services of a logic-driven individual (or learning to think this way yourself) you can help minimize the effects of legal and economic factors that may otherwise impact your business. For more information, you might consider contacting a funeral home in your area, such as Serenity Funeral Service in Edmonton.