Innovative Startup Focuses on the Survivability of Funeral Service in a Difficult and Changing Market
From COVID to disposition choices and less traditional funeral rituals, funeral service has found itself in a battle for revenue in a difficult market.
The Funeral Service Collective founded by Ken Biery, a U.S. Army veteran and funeral director for 25 years has created real solutions for funeral homes and cemeteries.
“My team and I actively study consumer trends and use our experiences both in and out of the industry to create new revenue earning programs for funeral homes and cemeteries,” says Biery. CEO Sarah Schmitz adds “Our team spans from Gen X to Gen Z which gives us a wider view of the future landscape of consumers when it comes to funeral service.”
COO Aaron Biery believes that new technology and marketing are both vital in today’s marketplace, but also suggesting that there must be more. He stated, “Something that changes us from a one dimensional to a multi-dimensional industry is what’s needed in today’s marketplace.”
The Funeral Service Collective has rolled out programs that include “The Collective,” which saves 35% to 50% of annual funeral home overhead cost while increasing call volume. They bring in “Every Day Commerce” through beautifully designed specialty shops at your existing location. Their “Innovative Spaces” program is reimagining the breadth and use of existing funeral/event spaces. Another FSC program, “All Communities Engagement”, helps bring more people through your doors daily.
“We love innovating and creating unique ideas for our clients. We look and act differently than other consulting companies, “says Ken Biery. “Our COO Aaron is an avid outdoorsman and introduced us to hammock meetings. We set up our hammocks and have creative idea sessions. “A combination of nature, relaxation and fun helps provide the inspiration for a lot of our ideas” says COO Aaron.
Currently the group is working with a client on building a state-of-the-art facility that will usher in a new era of innovation for the industry. The location will include dynamic contemporary designed rooms that can be used as funeral and memorial spaces. These spaces can be perfectly utilized for weddings, private, corporate, and public events as well. In addition, it will also house a coffee shop, bakery, and a flower shop. The specialty shops will be accessible to the community through a separate entrance. This allows for everyday business without disrupting services or events in the other parts of the building. “Our Every Day Commerce” program can provide thousands in additional revenue monthly for the funeral home, especially during slow times.
“You still have money coming in the door every day,” says CEO Sarah Schmitz. “We don’t just do new builds; we can work with any existing space or location. We have a network of amazing corporate partners that help with all our projects.” says Travis Bailey, Director of Sales.
“The event space is not a new idea and has been used in the past; some have had success and others have not. We have created a system which includes event planners to take the hassle of event planning off the plate of the funeral home staff. More importantly, it allows for an increased use of existing chapel space that is probably only being used as low as 15% to 20% of the time.” says founder Ken Biery.
Venue rentals typically charge per hour and have a minimum number of hours required to rent. Many charge anywhere from $100 per hour to $2,000+ per hour. At most wedding venues, during non-peak hours the costs of use range from $3,500 – $7,500 on average. On the contrary, during peak hours of the week, those prices very quickly rise to $10,000+ per wedding.
According to NFDA’s 2022 Consumer Awareness and Preferences Report, 55.6% of respondents have attended a funeral at a non-traditional location. (https://nfda.org/news/statistics) Consumer trends show that today’s consumer prefers an experience over a more traditional service and chapel feel. Which could lead to more services being held in a more contemporary space.
“Our motto is, All of Us, For You,” says Ken Biery. “We believe the future of funeral service is adaptability and survivability. We created this business out of a love for the industry, our goal is to be able to help every funeral home and cemetery that is struggling to survive or any business that is looking for solutions to succeed in a tough market.” “We judge our success by the difference we can make for every individual funeral director, cemetery and funeral home we can help.”
For further information you can contact The Funeral Service Collective at www.funeralservicecollective.com or by calling (970) 308-6198.