Funeral Business Solutions Magazine March/April 2024 Issue

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Your Guide for Funeral Industry Business Strategies | March/April 2024 Radcliffe Media, Inc. 1801 South Bay Street, Eustis, Florida 32726 An Interview with Legacy's Resident Funeral Director, John Heald, Page30

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6 | March/April Issue 2024 FUNERAL HOME SUCCESS STORY Lewis Funeral Homes Milton, Florida FEATURE EDITORIAL 22 MARCH/APRIL VOLUME II, No. 2 22 18 30 FEATURES An Interview with John Heald 18 Pay Your Taxes BY ALAN CREEDY
7 | March/April Issue 2024 Creating an Effective General Price List
H. COOPER, CPA 32 26 CONTENTS Must See Companies at the ICCFA Convention & Exposition 26 A Simple Way to Make Your Crematory Green
36 Social Media: Make it Personal
ATKIN 44 Is 2024 the Year to Sell Your Business? BY RICK TUSS 50 The Funeral Exchange BY RUTHANN DISOTELL 52 44 Digestible O.S.H.A. Bites REGULAR COLUMN & CHECKLIST BY MARK HARRISON OF CERTIFIED SAFETY TRAINING 40 36 40 32 50 52


Kanga-Woo First Call Pouches manufacturers high quality, tailor made first call pouches, cot covers, and baby carriers. Kanga-Woo also provides pouches and carriers for the pet care industry.




A longtime environmentalist, Jackson Madnick helped renew the National Clean Water Act, gathering one million signatures on a petition to renew the act. He has been researching ways to save engergy, improve surface and ground water quality and create healthier lawns that require no fertilizer, dramatically less time, money, water and green house gasses.




See what's happening with vendors, distributors, and manufacturers.


Manufacturers and suppliers that make it possible to bring you FUNERAL BUSINESS SOLUTIONS Magazine.


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Ruthann Disotell is a licensed funeral director / embalmer in New Jersey, owns and operates a Celebrant business at www.celebrationofalifetime. com and is the creator and CEO of MemoriaLeaf® remembrance products. She also offers continuing education seminars in funeral service to groups around the country. She can be reached at 908-475-1711 or by email at

Jim Jackson is the owner and President of Noble Metal Solutions, a full-service cremation refinery located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Jim’s background in precious metals sales and service inspired him to establish a refinery that makes the refining and recycling process more transparent and understandable to clients. Learn more at or contact Jim at

Mark Harrison is the president of Certified Safety Training (CST), the exclusive safety and compliance provider to the NFDA. Mark has launched successful online safety and compliance services in the death care, veterinarian, and monument industries. Contact Mark and CST directly at help@ or 609.375.8462.

Alan Creedy, as a former CPA, is considered a “subject matter expert” on the management of funeral homes. With more than 40 years focused exclusively on the funeral profession, he is frequently called on to speak at conventions and submit articles to trade publications sharing his knowledge.

Rick Tuss is a partnership consultant for Foundation Partners Group and former owner of Charlotte Memorial Funeral Home, Cemetery & Crematory.

Rick can be reached at rick.tuss.ic@

Ronald H. Cooper, CPA is a funeral home accountant and consultant with Ronald Cooper, CPA, PLLC. He can be reached by phone at 603-6718007, or you may email him at ron@

Jacqui Atkin is the Owner of Social Media Solutions for Funeral Homes and is certified in Social Media for Business and Digital Marketing. Contact her directly at (435) 705-1252, or email her at smsforfuneralhomes@gmail. com. Visit her website at https://www.

Raymond L. Bald, CPA, CFE is a funeral home tax accountant and consultant with Cummings, Lamont & McNamee, PLLC. He can be reached by phone at 603-772-3460, or you may email him at


1801 South Bay Street

Eustis, Florida 32726

Timothy Totten, Publisher


Robin Richter, Content Editor


Funeral Business Solutions Magazine is published bi-monthly (6 Issues a year) by Radcliffe Media, Inc. 1801 South Bay Street, Eustis, Florida 32726. Subscriptions are free to qualified U.S. subscribers. Single copies and back issues are $8.99 each (United States) and $12.99 each (International). United States Subscriptions are $64.00 annually. International Subscriptions are $95.00 annually.

Visit for content that is updated frequently and to access articles on a range of funeral industry topics. Radcliffe Media provides its contributing writers latitude in expressing opinions, advice, and solutions. The views expressed are not necessarily those of Radcliffe Media and by no means reflect any guarantees that material facts are accurate or true. Radcliffe Media accepts no liability in respect of the content of any third party material appearing in this magazine. Copyright 2024. All rights reserved. Funeral Business Solutions Magazine content may not be photocopied or reproduced or redistributed without the consent of publisher. For questions regarding magazine or for subscriptions, email


For high quality reprints of articles, email us at

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The Natural Choice® for 25 years

Sustainable Caskets for Green Burial


2024 Crematory operations in-person trainings announCed

WHEELING, IL— If cremation is core to your business, your team needs training that ensures they have the technical, scientific, and legal knowledge to protect your operations. For 40 years, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) has provided the most up-to-date training in crematory operations best practices in the industry with the original Crematory Operations Certification Program™ (CANA COCP™). For 2024, CANA announces opportunities for professionals to earn their certification in-person or online to meet the certification requirement of 19 states and earn up to eight hours of CE.

The CANA COCP includes both an overview of the flame and water cremation process and the equipment and operations involved and a detailed look at essential cremation procedures such as chain of custody, reducing legal risk, and environmental issues. Both in-person and online trainings offer instruction created with input from leading AH manufacturers to ensure professionals have the latest information.

CANA provides multiple opportunities for crematory operations certification:

Austin, TX – June 9: Larry Stuart, Jr. and Wendy Wiener of WRW Legal share their crematory operations expertise with attendees in The Lone Star State, hosted by the Texas Funeral Directors Association as part of their 138th Annual Convention & Expo.

Squamish, WA – August 6: Tom Krowl of Cremation Systems and Dave Daniels visit Washington state for late summer certification, hosted by Washington State Funeral Directors Association and the Washington Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association as part of their 2024 DeathCare Professionals Convention & Expo.

Albany, NY – October 8: John Mitchell of IR Environmental and Wendy Wiener offer New York State-specific training in collaboration with the New York State Division of Cemeteries, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Association of Cemeteries.

Wheeling, IL – November 15: Tom Krowl and Wendy Wiener wrap up the year in the Midwest with certification training at CANA HQ!

Register for any of these trainings and learn more at

CANA’s Online Certification program helps busy funeral professionals earn their crematory operations certification on their own schedule, using their own device. Similar to the in-person version of the course, the Online COCP includes interactive content on alkaline hydrolysis and flame cremation – offering much more engagement than a mere recorded lecture! Plus, the online version allows professionals to work at their pace and to pause or resume on their schedule.

Developed for our increasingly diverse workforce, CANA’s certification has also expanded access to cremation best practices for flame and water cremation through professional translations to the most common languages in North America. Now, English-, Spanish- and Frenchlanguage professionals can get CANA certified on their schedule, from their device, and in their preferred language.

Whether taken in-person or online, CANA COCP certification is a mark of distinction and ensures that employees have the most current crematory operations training—all developed in collaboration with crematory manufacturers, owner/ operators, practitioners, and legal authorities. CANA is a recognized and valued brand for all things cremation, so funeral professionals benefit from the association’s decades of cremation expertise.

Registration is just $595 for both in-person and online training opportunities, and CANA Members, students, and service members receive discounts on this valuable certification! Learn more about the CANA Crematory Operations Certifications Program and demo the online course on the CANA website:

Founded in 1913, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) is an international organization of over 3,500 members, composed of funeral homes, cemeteries, crematories, industry suppliers, and consultants. CANA members believe that cremation is preparation for memorialization.

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seleCted eduCational trust announCes Change to seCond-Career sCholarship program

LINCOLNSHIRE, IL — The Selected Educational Trust has announced that, going forward, it will remove the full-time enrollment requirement from its application requirements for the Second-Career Scholarship Program. With this change, for the first time ever, part-time students are now eligible to apply for the scholarship, which grants at least four $1,500 awards each year.

“This is the most significant change that we’ve made to this scholarship program since it was launched in 2010. We feel this change reflects the unique nature of making the choice to enter funeral service as a second career or later in life,” said Stefanie Favia, Executive Director of the Trust. “Students must strike a distinctive balance of supporting themselves and their families, service to community, and typically many other commitments. This means they often could not enroll full-time, automatically disqualifying them for a scholarship that was designed specifically for them. This change ensures those students are not overlooked, but rather, celebrated.”

Applications are now being accepted for the Spring 2024 program. Visit to apply, or contact The application period closes at midnight on May 31.

Recipients of the Fall 2023 cycle of the program, sponsored by C&J Financial, are Cassandra Koukios and Emily Murman, both students enrolled at Worsham College of Funeral Service, Wheeling, IL.

“Winning the scholarship is important to me not only because it alleviates some of the financial pressure I face as student with loans from previous degrees, but it reaffirms that the hard work I did in my previous career as a writer and teacher has not gone unnoticed,” said recipient Emily Murman. “I believe that it will carry my teaching skills into my mortuary science career, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.”

Second-Career Scholarships are awarded by the Selected Educational Trust to individuals who have chosen funeral service later in their career journey and

currently are attending mortuary school. Since this program was launched in 2010, the Trust has awarded more than $95,000 in tuition scholarships to students pursuing mortuary sciences as a second career.

For more information about the Selected Educational Trust, contact Stefanie Favia, Senior Director of Development, at

The mission of the Selected Educational Trust ( is to provide the best educational opportunities for the advancement and support of all who work within the independent funeral service profession. To fulfill this mission, the Trust provides programs which offer scholarships to mortuary science students and funeral service professionals, education programs serving to bridge the gap between school and on-the-job training through its Institute for Exceptional Funeral Service ( and networking and employment opportunities through its Workforce Development Centers.

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Breaking Barriers in Funeral serviCe: nFda's 2024 proFessional Women’s ConFerenCe

set to inspire and ConneCt

Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) will bring the profession together for the 2024 Professional Women’s Conference, April 28 through 30 in picturesque Savannah, Georgia. During this conference attendees representing all facets of the funeral service profession will be empowered to not only sit at the table but lead at the table. Registration is now open.

During this inspiring and uplifting conference, attendees will hear from exceptional speakers covering a wide range of topics:

Vera Stewart, host of Very Vera, a cooking show about Southern cuisine, will speak about entrepreneurship.

NFDA Senior Vice President of Advocacy Lesley Witter will show attendees how to use their voice as a force for good that can create change.

Attendees will learn about suicide risk within the death care profession from Dr. Sara Murphy.

Dr. Ruth Bedell, an industrial and organizational psychologist, will help attendees understand how they can be more assertive.

Death educator and Certified Thanatologist Dr. Sara Murphy will discuss how to recognize and respond to suicide risk in the funeral service profession.


Kelly Kohut and Jenny McClanahan from Precoa will discuss the demographic shifts will transform funeral planning and purchasing.

Award-winning author Jasmine Brett Stringer will explore how attendees can “carpe diem” (seize the day) by unlocking the barriers that keep them from living the life they are intended to have while establishing a personal vision to take them to the next level.

New York funeral director Amy Cunningham will draw from her experiences serving families in the state of New York and share best practices for helping families plan meaningful green funeral and burial ceremonies.

Nelson Thulin from Johnson Consulting will share strategies to help attendees navigate and innovate within the shifting dynamics of the funeral service sector.

Autumn Cooper from The Dodge Company will help attendees refresh their prep room skills.

And more!

Engaging Discussions and Networking

Professional Women’s Conference attendees will kick off their time together with a Welcome Party that captures the spirit of Savannah. While enjoying complimentary food and drink, guests will experience a fun-filled evening of lively conversation and building bonds with colleagues.

Beyond the Welcome Party, there are countless other opportunities to build relationships with fellow funeral service professionals during the Professional Women’s Conference. “These ladies were wonderful,” said one 2023 conference attendee. “They all touched on things that were very relatable and inspired me to really reflect on the topics afterward. I really felt like they were speaking directly to me.”

Another 2023 attendee noted, “There were so many takeaways. I also liked opportunity to meet other women in our profession, connect with them and learn and be inspired by them.”

14 | March/April Issue 2024 INDUSTRY HEADLINES

Inspiration Award

During the 2024 Professional Women’s Conference, the association will confer the second annual NFDA Inspiration Award. This award will recognize an exceptional individual who has made noteworthy professional contributions to funeral service or a related field.

Nominations for the NFDA Inspiration Award were accepted online from January 15 through February 16, 2024. The ideal nominee is an enterprising individual who consistently takes the initiative to elevate the funeral service profession. They serve as a mentor to colleagues. Their energy and independent spirit serve as an example to others. Their efforts result in significant accomplishments at the local, national and/ or international level.

Complete details are available at InspirationAward. NFDA is grateful to National Guardian Life Insurance Company for sponsoring the Inspiration Award.

Register Today!

Registration for the 2024 NFDA Professional Women’s Conference opened February 28. Attendees can save when they register by the early-bird deadline of March

28, 2024. Attendees must register for the 2024 NFDA Professional Women’s Conference by April 19.

NFDA has selected a luxurious historic hotel in the heart of Savannah to host the 2024 Professional Women’s Conference. NFDA has secured a limited number of rooms for a discounted rate of $229 plus tax per night. Upon registration for the conference, attendees will receive a confirmation email with details about the hotel and an exclusive reservation link. Room reservations must be made by March 30.

Complete details about the 2024 NFDA Professional Women’s Conference will be available soon at www.nfda. org/pwc, or by calling 800-228-6332 (262-789-1880).

NFDA is the world's leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

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INDUSTRY HEADLINES Exceptional service from a CPA firm that knows the funeral industry. WWW.CLMCPA.COM Certified Public Accountants Raymond L. Bald, CPA/CFE Principal Phone: 603-430-6200 Fax: 603-430-6209 Email: 118 Portsmouth Avenue Suite D206 Stratham, New Hampshire 03885


International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association Convention & Expo

April 10-13, 2024

Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, FL

Nebraska Funeral Directors Association

Annual Convention

April 22-24, 2024

Embassy Suites, Lincoln, NE

Ohio Funeral Directors Association

Annual Convention & Exhibition

April 23-25, 2024

Hilton Columbus at Easton, Columbus, OH

Iowa Funeral Directors Association Annual Convention

May 14-16, 2024

Prairie Meadows Hotel, Altoona, IA

Indiana Funeral Directors Association

Annual Convention

May 20-23, 2024

Embassy Suites Conference, Noblesville, IN

Independent Funeral Directors of Florida Annual Conference & Trade Show

May 29 - June 1, 2024

Hammock Beach Golf Resort, Palm Coast, FL

Order your FREE copy TODAY book-promo/
funeral home success story 18 | March/April Issue 2024

The story of Lewis Funeral Homes spans 94 years and four generations, but it has one single constant that has remained: family. The first generation raised their children at their downtown Milton, Florida funeral home / family home location before bringing their son-in-law, Avis C. Lewis, into the family business. Avis had graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science in 1941, but deferred his funeral service career while he served his country during WWII in the U.S. Army Medical Corp.

Over time, the business flourished, with a new location coming in 1974. After Avis Lewis' passing in 1985, his sons took over running the business, continuing the family tradition. And while three more locations would follow, the business remains a family-centered affair, with a fourth generation of brothers serving in the business.

We sat down with this hardworking family company to discuss what it took to build a large multi-location business and what things that Mike Lewis, one of the third generation brothers leading today, considers when shepherding the family business into the future.

How did Lewis Funeral Home come to serve families in Milton and Santa Rosa County, Florida?

My grandparents started the funeral home in 1928 on the corner of Willing and Berryhill Street in downtown Milton overlooking the Blackwater River. My parents later married in the chapel of the funeral home and honeymooned upstairs. Four of my parents six children were born at home, home being the living quarters attached to the funeral home. I was one of those four.

That's a lot happening in one funeral home / family home! How did they manage?

We also ran the ambulance service, a monument company and a flower shop all out of the same location!

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How did you get started in the business?

My father asked me to come work for the funeral home and I began my career in funeral service in 1974 making this year my 50th year.

You and your brother have grown the business in those 50 years, haven't you?

Yes, we opened a second location in Navarre in 1991. Followed by our Pace Chapel & Fields of Faith Crematory in 2007. And we just opened the Jay Cornerstone Chapel at the end of 2022.

Your mother passed away in 1996, at which time the third generation took ownership, is that right?

So, this now is in the hands of my brother Sam and me. My brother has two sons Chase and Trent, who will be our 4th generation to follow in funeral service and we are in our 94th year of business.

I think it would be hard to stay in business 94 years without knowing the secret to excellent customer service. What do you think it is?

To effectively serve the people that have entrusted you with their loved one you must have a heart to serve and to listen.

What do you feel has been the biggest factor in your own success as a funeral director and co-owner?

I have always believed that if you take care of people, truly show them the compassion they need, then they will take care of you.

We all know funeral directors are typically influential in the community. How do you show that commitment to Milton?

I served on the City of Milton's Historic Preservation board for 14 years. I am very involved with my church, First Baptist

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Church of Milton where I am an active deacon, served on the board of trustees, and sing in the Celebration Choir as a member of the praise team.

Even with so much history and so much success in the funeral industry, what excites you for the future?

Knowing that my grandparents started this business 94 years ago, I'm really excited to see our family company pass into a century of service in our community.

What advice would you give to other funeral professionals?

Don't lose sight of what we are called to do. Take care of the loved one of that family and take care of them! FBS

You can reach Michael S. Lewis at Lewis Funeral Homes, Inc. 6405 Hwy 90 West Milton, FL 32570. Call the funeral home at (850) 623-2243 or his cell at (850) 572-572-4525.

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In the Middle Ages, most bookkeepers were monks. The practice of the day was to draw a crucifix on each page of an account journal. The belief was that “surely, a man of God would never lie, cheat or steal from God.” The belief was more imaginary than substantive.

Modern accounting systems did not come into widespread use until the advent of the Industrial Revolution. For public companies with certified audits, the published financials are held in the same reverence as those Medieval pages inscribed with the cross. But for privately held firms, especially small businesses, it is the tax return that is sacrosanct, the theory being, “Surely, no reputable business would ever lie, cheat or steal from the IRS.” In this belief, all banks and most buyers are intransigent.

It is not my place to judge or criticize, but, when it comes to selling your business, it is important you know that neither buyers nor lenders will consider any number that is not on your tax return, no matter what proof you provide. More to the point, revealing you may have “forgotten” to report income sends up significant red flags that cause others to wonder what else you might be hiding. So, at least three years before you plan to transition your business (and preferably five years), stop playing games.

Report all your income and start detailing personal accounts. For instance, I often see an expense item labeled “credit card expenses.” You can count on more details being asked about that during due diligence, so just start doing it now. Clear and detailed tax returns can go a long way to facilitating a deal. During my preparation, I will typically find items that will need greater detail. It is a real pain for owners to have to go back three years to classify items in their monthly credit card statements so they can identify what might be personal and what might be business.

Perks: One of the advantages of privately owning a small business is being able to legally take deductions that can benefit you personally. Examples include use of a car, travel expenses, meals, club memberships and other small items. Some of these are taxable, like the personal use of a car. But realistically, these perks often go undiscovered by the IRS.

Pay Your Taxes

It is important to keep tabs on these perks. In order to become needed addbacks for the purpose of recasting your tax returns, they need to be documented. Addbacks can really help in calculating EBITDAR (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization, and Restructuring or Rent Costs).

Failure to Report: Another practice that used to be more common is, bluntly, failure to report. Small business owners sometimes “forget” to report income paid in cash or checks made out to them personally. If you engage in this practice, you should stop it at least three years before you plan to sell. I know this because I have tried to get banks and buyers to include unreported income in recast financial statements. In each case, the seller had booked the cost of goods corresponding with income he had not reported. Using invoices, I was able to trace and support each of the transactions. From an auditor’s perspective, the proof was irrefutable. In both cases, the buyer included the cost of goods as reported but denied the unreported income. Since the unreported income had a direct impact on the EBITDAR, the effect was a reduction in purchase price equal to multiple times the unreported income. In one case, almost $700,000.

Filing Status: When I attend CPA functions, I sometimes share that almost 50% of funeral homes file their taxes as “C” corporations. I do this for my own amusement because the reaction is predictable. Wide-eyed, they look at me and say, “You’re kidding!”

In fairness, what they are reacting to is that “C” corporations are still so prevalent in small, privately held businesses. You, the reader, should know that there are times when filing as a “C” corporation is legitimate and the right choice. It is just less so with the class of business in which funeral homes typically fall.

It used to be that converting “C” corporations to “S” corporations required a 10 year wait to avoid the double taxation of the “C” corporation on sale of assets. That has now been reduced to 5 years. What this means is that you should have your tax accountant determine what filing status is best for you in the event you sell the business AT LEAST 5 YEARS BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY SELL.

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Since the real estate component usually comprises the greatest part of any purchase price allocation, it is my opinion (with the understanding that I am not a tax expert) that the corporation should never own the real estate.

I am also not an attorney. But, again in my opinion, I have never been convinced that the “corporate shield” protection for a corporation held by a single or small handful of owners would be that difficult to pierce. In other words, I doubt incorporating offers a strong defense against lawsuits. It does, however, give you some tax flexibility.

Tax Impact Statement: I have bought and sold a few businesses of my own over my career. In each case, prior to accepting a Letter of Intent (LOI), our accountant prepared a Tax Impact Statement. This was critical to how we negotiated the structure of the deal.

To my surprise and chagrin, I have only encountered one accounting firm in funeral service, over 40 years, who did this for their clients...even after I asked for it. Kudos to Jayna Mannen of Funeral Director’s Resource. Not only does Jayna do this, but she customizes it to your specific corporate and personal situation in a way that you can play “what-if” games with it.


If you anticipate selling within the next five years, you should:

- Visit your accountant and review this chapter with them. Have them review your tax filing and anticipate where a buyer might question some of your practices.

- Begin keeping a record of anything that might be considered a perk. These will become “addbacks” in determining EBITDAR for valuation purposes.

- Clean up your books and make sure you are booking income and expenses accurately and consistently. It will save a lot of time, frustration, and anxiety later. FBS

This article is excerpted from Alan Creedy’s book “Finish Well, an exit guide for funeral home owners.” For a free copy just email alan at or go to his website:

Alan Creedy, as a former CPA, is considered a “subject matter expert” on the management of funeral homes. With more than 40 years focused exclusively on the funeral profession, he is frequently called on to speak at conventions and submit articles like this one.

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April 10-13, 2024 Tampa Convention Center & Tampa Marriott Water Street Hotel Shawn Achor & Brian Solis With Keynote Speakers #ICCFA2024

Attendees can expect

• Over 10 hours of non-competing exhibit hall hours featuring the latest products and services in deathcare

• 35+ dynamic educational sessions presented by the profession’s top leaders

• Exciting networking opportunities with attendees from around the world

Register today!


Keep an eye on the following companies. This section highlights companies and their products and services that will be exhibited at the ICCFA Annual Convention and Exposition April 10-13, 2024 at the Tampa Convention Center. Company information has been supplied by the manufacturers serving the funeral industry.


Pearl's Premium Lawn Seed

Award-winning Pearl’s Premium In a class by itself American Cemetery Magazine 2023 Innovator of the Year Award

Perfect for Funeral Homes & Cemeteries! Now growing in 57 cemeteries, 26 funeral homes, and over 600,000 lawns in North America and worldwide, saving time, money and water.

Pearl’s Premium Ultra Low Maintenance Lawn Seed, a game-changing US Patented blend of premium, all perennial seeds that are nonGMO, requires super low-maintenance. Unlike standard lawns, lush, dark green Pearl’s Premium, now in its 7th Generation solves the biggest lawn problems by using:

- 75% less water

- Needs only once a month mowing and weed-whacking!

- Stays green year round without using toxic chemicals

- 6-foot roots sequester 12x the carbon of other lawns to help with climate change

Winner of numerous National & International Awards for Innovation. Over 400 favorable reviews by the experts including: ABC, NBC, CBS, This Old House, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, and Newsweek.

508-653-0800 | |

Bio-Response Solutions

Bio-Response Solutions is a family owned and operated company based in our hometown in Indiana. We make sustainable, non-burn technologies that have a place in our world’s future.

With over 30 years dedicated to refining alkaline hydrolysis technology, we have revolutionized the funeral profession with our Aquamation® systems. Our systems offer a gentle, water-based alternative to traditional flame cremation, catering to both our human and pet loved ones.

The installation and operation of our Aquamation® systems are straightforward — they are renowned for their reliability, affordability, and extensive testing, with over 600 daily operators worldwide.

Join hundreds of death care professionals offering this option to the families they serve. As the AH industry leader, we have the experience and expertise to answer your questions, and the resources to ensure you will be confident adding this option to your business.


Booth #1839
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Booth #738
| |

Everything about Tukios is easy except saying the name. The most common question we hear is “what’s a Tukios?” Tukios is the plural form of a word from the Swahili language that means “event.” We pronounce it “tookey-ohs.” We wanted our name to be just as unique as our company.

Tukios was launched in 2009 to make funeral directors’ lives easier by saving them time and money on tribute videos. We have since merged with FuneralRecording. com and in the most recent years have started providing websites and aftercare programs.

Our passion is making great products that are indispensable to funeral directors everywhere. We love to hear from our customers and are constantly adding new features they request.

801-682-4391 | |

Crowne Vaults are made of high impact ABS plastic. Unlike traditional concrete urn vaults which are porous, heavy and require multiple staff for lowering, these are lasting, lightweight and can be buried by one person. Of course as a women majority company, Crowne Vault celebrates that interring is easy for both genders.

In addition Crowne Vault can be decorated with something as simple as a Sharpie marker. Funeral Homes can enhance and add warmth to the wake or graveside service by allowing families to sign and write goodbyes during at the memorial. Other families may like to add memorabilia such as letters, awards, photos and other small tokens to the extra space around the urn. Our “commodity-priced" vault comforts families in knowing that their urn will be protected and dry for generations to come.

866-763-0485 |

Ring Ring Marketing specializes in helping funeral homes and cemeteries grow and protect their market share by leveraging cutting-edge digital marketing strategies. Hundreds of deathcare firms depend on RRM to help them generate more calls, increase revenue, and dominate their local market.

There's zero risk to working with RRM, because it never locks clients into long-term contracts, and it even offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked. Scan the adjacent QR Code or visit to learn more about what RRM can do for you.

888-383-2848 | |

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Crowne Vaults/Cressy Memorial Booth #1507 Ring Ring Marketing Booth #1033 Tukios Booth #1026

Remodeling your Prep Room or Care-Center? Do you need to add capacity to your care center? Building a new care-center?

Duncan Stuart Todd (DST) designs and equips Preparation Rooms, Dressing & Cosmetic Rooms, Ritual Prep Rooms, Crematory and Viewing Rooms, Aquamation Rooms, ID Rooms, Cooler and Storage areas, and Employee locker and bathrooms. If it's a back-of-house mortuary workspace that needs to be built, or remodeled, DST is the expert in design & equipment. DST works with you, your architect, and contractors, to ensure you get the best layout, combined with the latest OSHA & code compliant equipment. Ask about our OSHA compliant PrepAir HVAC systems!

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Starmark manufactures products such as premium wood and metal ceremonial rental caskets, corrugated fiberboard inserts, Artisan alternative cremation containers, and urns (Starmark is the largest maker of cremation urns in North America).

The team at Starmark thinks only about cremation and products for the changing industry landscape. Starmark is 100% focused on providing Sensible Solutions (R) for cremation that improve funeral home revenue from direct to full services.

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Final Embrace Booth #734

The leading manufacturer of removal and alternative viewing products, Final Embrace creates a full line of products designed to make your first interaction with a client family as comforting as possible.

Their innovative IdentiView System makes even the simplest direct cremation identification viewing a more comforting experience.

From Precious Cargo Transporters and Comfort Pouches, to Reversible Patriot Cot Covers and VersoTables, Final Embrace has solutions for all your removal and viewing needs.

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Duncan Stuart Todd Booth #727 Starmark Booth #518 Pictured at left: Starmark's innovative Chaise Bed Viewer.
29 | March/April Issue 2024

An Interview with's John Heald Is GOOD or BAD for your business? has been in business since 1998 yet it is a completely different company from when it started. Historically associated with newspapers, Legacy is a top-50 website in the United States in terms of traffic garnering 44 million monthly unique visitors. But some say "so what! What can it do for my funeral home? Legacy steals my traffic, and they steal flower sales from my website!" These are the most common objections John Heald, General Manager of the Funeral Home Channel, and a licensed funeral director, has heard over the years, but things are changing. We sat down to hear firsthand what is true and isn’t true.

Can you first tell us a little bit about your role at Legacy?

I’ve been with Legacy since 2015 when they acquired a company I helped start in Boston called in 2008. So I have been in the ‘obit space’ for quite a while now. It’s been a great experience as I get to work in a profession that I truly love. Not only the funeral homes I get to work with but with what we are building here. At times I feel like we are just getting started. Outside of the founder, Stopher Bartol, who is still very active in our business, Legacy is a completely new company. With a new executive team, I describe ourselves as "a new start-up in an old company."

I’m the licensed funeral director and get the opportunity to oversee the funeral home channel. And look, we haven’t gotten it right for funeral homes in the past and that is partly due to us not telling our story. It was and still is to a certain extent being told by other companies in this space who view us as competitors. It is very self-serving of them because their business is based on ecommerce, where in the past it was fee-based website solutions. That model has changed and now the web providers tell funeral homes “The only place you need to have your obits is on your website!” The mindset of keeping your content, in this case obits, behind a walled garden is probably some of the worst advice I have heard in this space. Tell me one company, any size, public or private, that does this? Have Uber Eats and DoorDash been good for restaurants? Zillow, Redfin, and MLS bad for real estate? or Autotrader bad for car dealers?

Yet here we sit with web companies saying distribution is bad. Some of the most successful companies in the world know that distribution is key and they seek out the best places to help them. They employ armies of people and spend significant money to make sure everyone sees who they are, what they do, and how do they get them to engage with their brand. A funeral home is no different and Legacy has traffic that can and wants to help.

Does Legacy steal traffic from funeral home websites?

In a perfect world, the user who is looking for a death knows the funeral home handling the services and goes directly to the funeral home website. Legacy will never be relevant in these cases. If the user chooses to use Google because they aren’t sure, then Legacy will likely be helpful. But I hope your website ranks the way it should in an organic search. If it doesn’t, Legacy can be very helpful in helping the user find the obit(s) of families you are serving, to do it in a way that compliments and promotes your brand, that drives the user, traffic, ecommerce and more to your funeral home website.

30 | March/April 2024

Does Legacy steal flowers sales from my funeral home?

As I mentioned before, the website game has become about free websites, revenue share around ecommerce and using a local preferred florist. It’s worked remarkably well, and I happen to know one company in funeral service building websites for funeral homes who does it better than anyone else in this space. Feel free to ask me.

In full transparency, Legacy does generate revenue from ecommerce and advertising. On the advertising side, we have some amazing brands that we work with that are a great fit for this space, but we also work with funeral homes who want to market to every single eyeball they can looking for obits and funeral homes on in markets they serve. They want to incorporate digital advertising as part of their marketing plan. Legacy just happens to be a perfect medium for users looking for obits and funeral homes.

But back to flowers, we do sell sympathy flowers and trees and if a funeral home wants to participate in our FREE Legacy Pro offering, not only can we share the revenue, but we can plug in their preferred florist. We have a NEW program coming out called Legacy Pro Business that a funeral home can have 100% of the flower sales! More to come on that later.

What does Legacy offer Funeral Homes?

Legacy has a 100% FREE program for every funeral home in the country called Legacy Pro. Legacy Pro Business Plan is a premium offering geared towards funeral homes looking to have full control of their brand.

At a high-level, we offer FIVE (5) components to Legacy Pro: Traffic: Based on the program a funeral home chooses, free or paid, we offer anywhere from 5 to 25+ backlinks on our pages. This is valuable to help funeral homes with their SEO efforts. Legacy helps you rank higher and simply be found if you are not.

Flowers / Ecommerce: Based on the program, a funeral home can get revenue share on ecommerce activity (Free program) or 100% of ALL flower sales as we re-direct the user to the funeral home flower store.

Data: Do you track your competitors’ call volume? Legacy has a program that allows users to easily access this information.

Funeral Home Directory: Think of the ‘Yelp of Funeral Service.’ The largest online consumer facing directory to help consumers find funeral homes and obituaries. Make sure your business is here and in a way that helps educate online users.

Insights: Legacy provides access to analytics and more. See how your funeral home obits are performing, important key performance indicators (KPI’s) for traffic, clicks and engagement monthly.

What are you most proud of?

It’s been a work in progress but there isn’t a more powerful digital offering in the market right now. Our goal is to drive value to funeral homes, all while being held accountable. Legacy can become one of the top referral engines to your funeral home website with the flip of a switch. For the first time ever, the new gives funeral homes an opportunity to CONTROL 100% of their brand across the Legacy network. This is a complete game-changer for any funeral home who wants to participate and addresses the objections mentioned at the start.

So do you think the preconceived ideas about Legacy are changing?

Hopefully, as evidenced by some of the changes and enhancements above, you can see that Legacy is taking some large strides by doing what’s right for funeral homes. With over 9,500+ funeral homes in the program and growing, I’d welcome an opportunity to answer any questions you may have as well as address the misinformation being put out there by companies who don’t know what we do but use Legacy to try and sell their products. It’s just not the way I have ever conducted myself and never will. If you are still in doubt, call me as I love to talk about obits, funerals and so much more. Give us a try and let us prove ALL of the above. Until then, keep up the great work taking care of families that call upon you to do what you do best, we will help take care of the digital side.

31 | March/April Issue 2024

Creating an Effective General Price List

The first step in creating an effective General Price List (GPL) is to determine and document your financial goals and objectives. Adjusting your price lists is a comprehensive process that requires more thought and time than just making across-the-board price increases. Over the past couple of years, the cost of operating a funeral home has increased significantly. The U.S. inflation rates for 2023 and 2022 were 3.4% and 8%, respectively.

Funeral home price increases must be assigned to goods and services that will yield sufficient overall positive cash flow results. Given the high costs of salaries, wages and other personnel costs, it only makes sense that the largest increases go to services that require the most time and effort on the part of you and your staff, but they also must be services that historically have been selected or are trending in that direction. For example, if over the past year families only selected embalming five times, it doesn’t make sense to increase embalming and expect to increase your cash flow. But before you get out the red pen and start making changes, you first need to understand and determine your average monthly cash flow needs. If you do not know your monthly cash flow, how do you know how much to charge? GPLs are funeral homes’ financial lifelines that generate incoming cash. Note that the term "cash flow" was used as opposed to revenues, income, or profits.

Cash Flow vs. Profits

In the world of funeral home accounting, cash flow is much more encompassing than net profit, also known as the bottom line and should be the focus in determining an effective pricing strategy. Cash flow is the amount of cash coming in and out of your funeral home monthly. If you are uncertain or uncomfortable calculating your average monthly cash flow, contact your accountant and ask for assistance. Also, while you are chatting with your accountant, confirm that he or she is familiar with funeral homes and that your chart of accounts was designed for funeral homes.

Overall, funeral home accounting is not overly difficult, but it is definitely different from other non-funeral home businesses and should be handled by someone with specific funeral home accounting experience.

Knowing your cash flow needs is critical. Without it you can end up producing a GPL that generates monthly profits but leaves your checking account dry at the end of every month. The main culprit that drains most funeral home’s checking accounts is too many monthly debt payments.

Remember, when you review your Profit and Loss statement, there is only interest being deducted. Principal debt payments reduce your checking account balance but not your net profits. It is the profit portion that provides the cash to make the principal payments.

Your goal is to produce a GPL that will generate cash flow that will cover your cost of goods sold, operating expenses, the principal portion of debt payments, and a reasonable profit.


Your GPL must be designed to meet the operating and financial needs of your funeral home. Although knowing your competitors’ prices is important and does weigh on your thought process, it cannot be the driving force behind your pricing strategy. If you are intimidated by competition or shy about charging reasonable amounts, it is probably time for a complete business and operations assessment. Unless your competitor is paying your mortgage payments, you need to stay focused on your financial matters. After determining your cash flow needs, you have two choices to make. The first choice is to make price increases while the second is to reduce your expenses and debt. If your state permits, consider using packages, particular;y when it comes to the different types of cremation services your firm provides.

32 | March/April Issue 2024
33 | March/April Issue 2024 IT’S OUR PROMISE TO YOU. We provide solutions that make it easy for crematory operators to refine and recycle their post-cremation metals safely and securely. State-of-the-art solutions that provide maximum accountability. Innovative solutions that make metal recovery faster and easier. Environmentally responsible solutions that give new life to precious metals. We invite you to give us a try, and experience a true partnership with a company whose name says it all. CONTACT US TO LEARN MORE: 888.764.3105 • NOBLE METAL SOLUTIONS is more than a name.


Use this review process as an opportunity to do more than just change the prices. Look at this as an opportunity to perform a financial health evaluation. It’s a time to view your financial health in a new light, break away from bad habits and form new habits that will result in more positive financial results. During this process, it is a good idea to prepare a debt schedule that lists out all your business debt so that you can see the impact that debt has on your cash flow and pricing requirements. Debt may be the American way, but that does not make it a good thing, particularly when it is used to purchase assets that lose value over time, like automobiles.

How to Create a Working Model

With the use of an Excel spreadsheet, create a financial model that projects total revenues based on your new pricing for the different types of services and goods you expect to provide over the next twelve months. Also, use this model by inputting the number of last years’ adult services provided and goods selected but with the new prices. This is to create a “what would have happened” scenario. It will show you what would have happened if the prices had been in effect in the prior year. The key to enhancing cash flow is to increase the proper services on your GPL and merchandise on your Casket Price List and Outer Burial Container Price List.

Compliance-The FTC Funeral Rule

When making changes to your GPL or any of your price lists, including the casket or outer burial price lists, remember that your funeral home is still governed under the FTC Funeral

rule and requires complete compliance. If you are uncertain as to whether your price lists are in compliance with the rule, consider turning to your state or national associations and request that they review your price lists for compliance.


Increasing your prices is much more involved than just adding a hundred dollars here and there and then hoping for the best results. It is a process that requires analyzing your cash flow needs and designing a GPL that will generate positive results. Even though inflation has moderated in 2024, your funeral home operating expenses and borrowing costs are substantially higher than prior to the pandemic and now is the time to act. FBS

This article is meant to provide general information and should not be construed as legal or tax advice or opinion and is not a substitute for advice of counsel, CPAs or other professionals

Raymond L. Bald, CPA, CFE is a funeral home tax accountant and consultant with Cummings, Lamont & McNamee, PLLC. He can be reached by phone at 603772-3460, or you may email him at

Ronald H. Cooper, CPA is a funeral home accountant and consultant with Ronald Cooper, CPA, PLLC. He can be reached by phone at 603-671-8007, or you may email him at

Contact Jacqui today: (435) 705-1252 Looking for Quality Social Media for Your Funeral Home? We’re Your Solution! Content created by funeral home owners for funeral home owners Relevant, Engaging, and Industry-Specific Content Service-Area Guarantee No Contracts Specializing in Personalized Facebook and Instagram Posts for Your Funeral Home
35 | March/April Issue 2024 Copyright © 2024 Starmark. All rights reserved. Specific portions of Starmark products are covered by one or more U.S. patents. To learn more visit FBSSPRING24 ARTISAN VISTA ™ CALL OR VISIT US ONLINE TO LEARN MORE! Designed for I.D. viewings and private farewells, the Artisan Vista series offers an affordable, eye appealing, environmentally responsible, and strong cremation container for funeral homes and their families that reflect the beauty of a life lived. Elderlite® | Printed Reinforced Fiberboard Construction | Crepe Interior View this product and more at the ICCFA Annual Convention! Booth #518 | (888) 366-7335 | Mountain + More! Scan to learn more!

A Simple Way to Make Your Crematory More Green

With the ever-growing “green” movement having an impact on everything from the cars we drive to the food we eat, it’s important for the professionals involved in the death care industry to do all we can to make sure that the cremation process is as environmentally sound as possible. One important way to do so is by recycling your post-cremation metals.

Whether you are a stand-alone crematory or operate a crematory as part of your funeral home business, you know that the storage and disposal of post-cremation metal materials can be a challenge. Fortunately, full-service metal refineries like Noble Metal Solutions make it easy to establish a postcremation metal recycling program that not only meets those operational challenges but has the added benefit of being good for the environment.

Materials That Can Be Recycled

Post-cremation materials include everything from orthopedic implants to dental materials. These materials contain metals that can be damaging to the environment when disposed of through burial or when taken to landfills. However, many of the metals in these materials – including gold, silver, platinum and palladium – are highly valuable and can be recycled for re-use. Many crematory operators overlook the dental alloys

in their materials. But while dental alloys make up less than 1% of the material weight we receive from our clients, they are actually the most valuable, accounting for up to 99% of the value of those materials.

Why Recycle?

Precious metals are indispensable in today’s industry. They are used in a wide variety of products, including cell phones, semiconductors, electronic components for the automotive industry, medical products and more. Apart from their important uses in final products, they are also integral to many industrial production processes.

Unfortunately, the environmental effects of mining and processing these precious metals are significant and include the energy it takes to extract these materials from the earth, transform them into products and infrastructure, transport the finished goods to consumers, and dispose of them after use. What’s more, the mining industry has historically been marked by serious labor abuses, safety issues, and environmental destruction.

How Recycling Metals Helps the Environment

With all of this in mind, the recycling and refining of “high value” scrap such as the gold, silver, platinum and palladium

36 | March/April Issue 2024
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found in post-cremation metals takes on extreme importance in today’s economy. These metals can be recycled over and over without degrading their properties or their value. There are many environmental advantages to having your metals refined and recycled at a refinery like Noble Metal Solutions that specializes in the handling of these materials, including:

PRESERVATION of scarce natural resources

DECREASED energy use compared to new production or mine extraction

PROTECTION of the environment thanks to reduced mining activity

REDUCED need for mining, and its associated labor issues

Establishing an Effective Recycling Program

A safe, secure recycling program for any crematory operation will include the following steps:

COLLECTION: The amount of post-cremation metals you collect will of course vary by the size of your business. No matter how large or small you are, look for a refinery that offers complimentary containers for the collection of your post-cremation metals. Noble Metal Solutions also offers specialized equipment that makes the collection of your

business with, be sure to ask about their refining and recycling process. Reputable refineries will be eager to show you their process and answer any and all questions you may have.

PAYMENT: Quality refineries utilize sophisticated analysis to determine the value of your metal materials and then issue what’s called an “assay report” detailing the full value of your materials. Payment methods can vary. Noble Metal Solutions offers a variety of payment options, including sending payment directly to you, issuing it as a donation to a designated charity, or applying it to your processing equipment.

Playing Your Part

Precious metals are in short supply and predicted to tighten even further. That means that precious metals from postcremation materials are a more valuable source of revenue for crematory operations than ever before. As specialists in the processing of these materials, Noble Metal Solutions refines and recycles post-cremation metals quickly and efficiently, and with complete transparency. By choosing to have your post-cremation metals refined and recycled, you are truly making a difference. FBS


How to Comply with OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), also known as the "Right to Know" standard, is a set of guidelines established by OSHA. It aims to ensure that employers and employees in funeral homes and the deathcare industry are informed about the hazardous chemicals present in the workplace and how to work safely with them.

Non-compliance with the Hazard Communication Standard can expose your funeral home to fines of up to $15,625 per violation.

The purpose of the Hazard Communication Standard, with its Globally Harmonized System (GHS) enhancement, is to clearly communicate to employees the dangers of chemicals in the workplace in a consistent manner, throughout the world. These enhancements align OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

The HCS is aimed at reducing and preventing chemicalrelated injuries and illnesses in the prep room, care center, and other parts of the workplace.

Here are the key requirements of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard:

1. Hazard Classification: Employers must determine the hazards of all chemicals present in the workplace. This involves evaluating the chemicals to identify potential physical and health hazards, such as flammability, toxicity, and carcinogenicity.

2. Safety Data Sheets (SDS): Manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemicals are required to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for each hazardous chemical they produce or import. Employers must maintain an SDS for each chemical they use, and make them readily accessible to employees.

3. Container Labeling: All containers of hazardous chemicals in the workplace must be labeled with specific information, including the product identifier, signal word, hazard statement(s), precautionary statement(s), and pictograms.


4. Employee Training: Employers must provide training to employees on the hazards of the chemicals they work with, the proper methods for handling and storing chemicals, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

5. Written Hazard Communication Program: Employers must develop and maintain a written Hazard Communication Program that outlines the procedures, policies, and responsibilities related to the handling of hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

6. Employee Access to Information: Employees have the right to access information about the hazardous chemicals they work with, including the SDS and container labels. This information must be provided to employees upon request.

The Hazard Communication Standard is designed to ensure that both employers and employees of funeral homes have the necessary information and training to work safely with hazardous chemicals, reducing the risk of chemical-related incidents and promoting a safer work environment.

To comply with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), including the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), be sure to have everything listed in this article fully customized to your facility and your employee base. FBS

Certified Safety Training (CST) is the leader in funeral home, crematory, and cemetery OSHA compliance. Backed by more than 30 years of industry experience and Certified Safety Professionals, CST matches industry expertise with customizable, award-winning programming to make sure that customers have the highest-quality safety programs, plans, training, and advice.

To bring your entire workplace – facility and personnel – into compliance with OSHA, contact Certified Safety Training: help@certifiedsafetytraining • 609.375.8462 •

40 | March/April Issue 2024

Who is Kanga-Woo and what product and/or service do you provide?

Kanga-Woo First Call Pouches is a company who manufacturers high quality, tailor made first call pouches, cot covers, and baby carriers. Kanga-Woo also provides pouches and carriers for the pet care industry.

How did Kanga-Woo get involved in the funeral industry?

Owner, Al Schiavone has been a licensed Funeral Director for the past 33 years. Al has made numerous first call removals of all kinds using the standard products that have not changed or improved for years. This lead Al to re-design and patent a more efficient, accessible product for the funeral professionals and first call removal techs.

What makes your initial product, the first call pouch, unique?

What sets Kanga-Woo First call Pouches apart from others is our "revolutionary" design.

The Kanga-Woo first call pouch has many features including a built in, full length mattress sleeve. This design prevents the mattress pad from sliding out of place when making a first call removal. The pouch is 6 inches deeper than the standard pouch and has 2 inner and outer pockets along with 2 built in pillow sleeves. These features, in combination with the heavy duty zipper allows the pouch to be placed on the cot in either direction.

What innovations did you add to your cot covers?

The unique design on the Kanga-Woo cot cover is a magnetic "flip up" end. This flip up end prevents the cover from getting caught in the wheels while placing the cot in the vehicle. A built in pillow sleeve allows for the convenience of carrying a pillow or other supplies needed.

What is your newest product?

Last, but not least, we are very excited to introduce our newest product, the Kanga-Woo First Call baby removal carrier. Our baby carrier is not only very professional looking, but is so easy to use. The carrier is 100% collapsible for easy storage when not in use. As with all our products, we use only high quality upholstery fabric which is 100% polyester and machine washable. All our products are offered in several different fabric patterns to choose from.

What are the benefits to using products from Kanga-Woo?

Did we mention.... Kanga-Woo products are proudly hand made and designed in The United States. All KangaWoo products are designed to make the removal process easier and more efficient. The first class design will provide compassion and professionalism in your funeral home.

How would a funeral home contact you?

You can reach Kanga-Woo by visiting our website at, email us at or call us at 1-800-645-8966.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT Kanga-Woo 800-645-8966 42 | March/April Issue 2024

While using our removal carrier, you will feel dignified, confident, and caring going into any hospital or home.

way to make your infant removals more personal and professional. 800-645-8966 Watch the Video!
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Social Media: Make it Personal

Has your funeral home jumped on board the social media train? If not, what’s stopping you? Facebook and Instagram are excellent platforms that allow funeral homes to reach a large percentage of people in their service area. According to, 4.95 billion people around the world now use social media, and the average daily time spent using social media per person per day is a whopping 2 hours and 24 minutes. Your community is no exception.

Social media allows you to create relationships with the families you serve and connect with your community. It allows you to participate in conversations that would not otherwise occur. When a family member leaves a comment on a post or sends a question directly to your funeral home, an opportunity arises for you or a member of your staff to respond and to personally connect with the individual. These types of interactions leave a lasting impression of trust and goodwill.

It’s important for your community to see your name regularly - but beware! It’s easy to fall into the trap of

“more is better” and to begin posting frequent, inferior content. You don’t want to inundate your audience with incessant posts that lack substance. Quality matters - and don’t forget to make it personal! Your goal is to make your audience feel like they know you before they need you. Stock photos are all well and good, but your community wants to see photos of you, your staff members, and your funeral home. Birthdays, company events, and employee spotlights do wonders to create connection. Get your team on board - everyone should participate in recognizing a social media moment when it occurs. Don’t be afraid to like and share your content to your personal Facebook page. This action does wonders to increase your organic traffic. And don’t forget Instagram! It’s a must, especially for younger and middle-aged adults. If you don’t have an Instagram account, set one up today.

If you’re considering managing your social media accounts on your own, ask yourself these questions: Do you have a staff member that possesses excellent grammar skills and is capable of writing funeral home

44 | March/April Issue 2024
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content? Does this person have approximately ten hours per week to devote to your social media accounts? Aside from creating content, is this employee capable of creating graphic designs, scheduling posts, and keeping an eye on comments? If the answer is yes, here are my top tips to assist in their success:

- Don’t forget to make it personal!

- Regularly post photos of your staff members.

- Post three to four times per week for maximum engagement.

- Ensure that your content is relevant to the funeral industry and to your community.

- Keep all fonts clean, simple, and large enough for older people to easily read.

If you don’t have a staff member that is fully capable or available to devote his or her time to running social media, do your homework and hire a quality company that truly knows the funeral profession. There is a huge difference between a marketing company that decided to branch out into social media for funeral homes and a company who specializes in and truly understands our unique profession. Don’t choose a “set it and forget it” type of company with no options for customization. Make sure they will provide posts

that meet the needs of the people in your service area, such as major religions served and holidays observed. And, most importantly, make sure that they offer excellent customer service and the ability to create custom and personalized posts to highlight your funeral home and staff.

Social media is here to stay, and wise funeral home owners and managers know they need to take full advantage of this advertising mecca. In the words of Seth Godin, “How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?” Don’t wait any longer - get on board the social media train today! FBS

Jacqui Atkin is the Owner of Social Media Solutions for Funeral Homes and is certified in Social Media for Business and Digital Marketing. Jacqui is the proud wife of a licensed funeral director and funeral home owner. She enjoys creating quality social media content for funeral homes and understands the unique challenges associated with marketing and the demands of funeral home ownership. Contact her directly at (435) 705-1252, or email her at Visit her website at

46 | March/April Issue 2024

Jackson Madnick

Pearl's Premium Ultra Low Maintenance Lawn Seed

Can you start out by sharing a brief history of your company?

My mother, Pearl, was an active environmentalist during the ‘50s and instilled in me a passion for the environment at an early age. She cared about the environment almost before anyone else did, even before environmental pioneers like Rachel Carson, who is credited with advancing the global environmental movement. She would take my brothers and me to the ocean and talk to us about how we needed to preserve and protect our water resources. Not surprisingly, I ended up owning a home on a large pond where Betsy and I raised our daughter, Pearl. It was there I began to witness environmental change up close, and in the form of chemical runoff from lawns. The more I delved into the mystery of how and why our pond was changing, the more convincing the case became for finding a solution to the devastation we were seeing, with lawns being the main culprit.

I wanted to revolutionize lawns by creating a more sustainable grass needing far less water, far less mowing, no chemicals to stay green, and safer for people, animals and the planet.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, roughly 50% of all drinking water in the U.S. is used to water lawns, and lawn care fertilizer is the number one pollutant of all drinking and surface water, according to the American Waterworks Association, NASA, and other experts. It took 10 years of research and over 10,000 grass seed trials that eventually brought me to one “Ah-hah” batch that changed everything. Today, Pearl’s Premium, named after my mother, is the safest, most sustainable grass on the planet, and the only grass to be recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council.

How did you personally become involved in this industry?

Although Pearl’s Premium has been on the market since the spring of 2010, it wasn’t until a few years ago, when I got a call

from a Midwest cemetery wanting to test Pearl’s Premium, I learned that most cemeteries could barely keep up with lawn maintenance. One of their biggest consumers of time and money was mowing and weed whacking around monuments. They needed a slow growing grass that required little water, and didn’t need chemicals. That’s when I realized I should start focusing on cemeteries.

What is your favorite thing about what you do?

I love helping people have better lawns that save time, money and water, and are safer for children and animals. Planting a Pearl’s Premium lawn is a simple act of empowerment that anyone can engage in to make a positive difference for the world we live in.

What is something that you know now that you wish you knew when you first started?

I wish that working with cemeteries had occurred to me in the beginning. I just never thought about the staggering number of acres that cemeteries had to mow and weed whack each week - their single biggest expense. When I finally did, I realized they needed Pearl’s Premium grass more than homeowners.

What is the most challenging aspect of your career?

When my grass became available to the public in 2010, I heard over and over again, “it sounds too good to be true.” Most people couldn’t imagine something as simple as sprinkling Pearl’s Premium on top of the ground beneath their feet could help alleviate the earth’s diminishing clean water supply, and sequester huge amounts of carbon to help with climate change. And still today, we hear those same words from people who don’t instantly get it. It’s such an amazing breakthrough. We’re in over 600,000 lawns nationwide and in countries across the globe, with over 400 favorable reviews from the experts. In

48 | March/April Issue 2024 INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT

2023, we received the American Cemetery Magazine Innovator of the Year Award, because Pearl’s Premium is truly different from any other grass out there, and making a huge difference.

How do you set personal goals for yourself? What is the process like?

I’m a driven person. I don’t set goals. I just do the necessary research and then do the hard work. Most people are not focused on “doing.” Instead they spend most of their time “talking” about doing something. At Pearl’s Premium, our process is to think outside of the box, and actually do things outside of the box fairly quickly.

What keeps you in this industry?

With continuing loss of habitat, more wildlife such as songbirds and migrating birds are looking to find refuge in peaceful, open spaces. Because our grass doesn’t need chemicals and cemeteries have a lot of grass, Pearl’s Premium is a way to make a big difference in safe habitat for wildlife, and help lessen climate change.

What do you feel has been the most important factor in your success?

My mother’s legacy as a steward of the earth lives on through me.

This industry has changed dramatically in the past few years. How has that affected your company and your career as a whole?

Cemeteries are moving away from traditional things they’ve done for the last 100 years, and embracing innovation. They’re

more open to lower maintenance, and low water Pearl’s Premium grass of the future. We’re seeing more interest and sales than ever before.

What are you most proud of so far in your career?

Presently, we’re saving vast amounts of water, and sequestering a billion pounds of carbon per year.

Looking forward to the future, what are you most excited about? What are you most concerned about?

Innovations like Pearl’s Premium are solving the problems of the world. If large numbers of cemeteries around the world converted to Pearl’s Premium, it could be the equivalent of creating another South American rainforest to help lessen climate change. I just hope as a planet, we can address our environmental solutions quick enough.

Do you have any advice for others who might be struggling in this industry?

As the industry continues to evolve, I believe cremation may grow to as much as 80% of the industry, bringing in less income compared to traditional burials. Struggling to find enough labor to keep up with mowing and weed whacking could be problematic, along with falling revenue. Whereas investing in Pearl’s Premium would cut mowing to only once a month, resulting in less labor, more profit, reduce water waste, sequester carbon, make us healthier, and protect our environment. FBS

Contact Jackson by email at or call him at 508-653-0800.

49 | March/April Issue 2024

After a busy few years of mergers and acquisitions in the deathcare industry, in 2023 an inflationary environment and rising interest rates contributed to a marked reduction in deal activity. As we begin 2024, however, all signs point to an increase in M&A activity and great opportunities for funeral business owners looking to transition to a new chapter of their lives. For some that will mean retirement. For others it may mean continuing their life’s work but shedding the burdens of ownership to focus on supporting families.

Nearly six years ago, I stood where many funeral home owners are today. It was 2018 and I was 64 years old, an age at which many of my friends had already retired, and I began the long, thoughtful process of selling my business. That process ended with the sale of my business to Foundation Partners Group. Looking back on it today, I have just one regret – I wish I had done it sooner.

I started in the funeral service business in 1979, and in 2012 a partner and I purchased Charlotte Memorial Funeral Home in Punta Gorda, Florida. The company had been ravaged by Hurricane Charley’s destructive path in 2004 and required a significant investment. We remodeled, modernized and added a crematory, making it the only complete combination funeral home in Charlotte County.

When I decided to sell, I had three objectives. I wanted to find a partner who respected our values and the way we do business. I wanted to be in a secure financial position for

Is 2024 the Year to Sell Your Business? I Wish I'd Sold Mine Sooner.

my future. And I was concerned about what a partnership would mean to my employees, who were like family.

I had not heard of Foundation Partners Group before thinking of selling the business. When a friend mentioned the company to me as a potential partner, I looked them up, did some research and began a conversation that culminated with finalizing the sale in May 2019.

Initially, I was afraid that Foundation Partners would make wholesale changes for the sake of change. They didn’t. They let us keep doing things we were doing. And my concerns about what would happen to my employees were assuaged when I saw the benefits that Foundation Partners offered. Suddenly, they had access to benefits I wanted to provide but couldn’t afford -- health insurance, dental insurance, disability, life insurance, and a retirement plan. They now have some of the best benefits in the business.

I stayed on for a while but retired after a smooth transition. Today, I still stop by Charlotte Memorial for visits, and it’s like they don’t even miss me! It’s wonderful that they are happy and doing so well.

Once you decide to sell, there's no going back, and I was very afraid during the eight months of due diligence and deal-making that I would regret it. At 64, I still had many years left that I could have worked. Today, I can truthfully say that I have never looked back. I really haven't.

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One of my biggest takeaways was the realization that small business owners are under enormous pressure to be good at every part of the business. I had never considered the relief that could come with not having to juggle back-office operations while taking care of families. I don’t miss the stress of worrying about everything going perfectly at a service. I don’t miss the early morning or the middle of the night phone calls. And I don’t miss waking up to an alarm clock every morning. I love the independence that selling has given me.

I do, however, miss the satisfaction of helping families through rough times, and I miss my team members, who remain lifelong friends. As anyone in this business knows, when you’re there at 11 at night and five in the morning, year after year, you become very close with the people you work with and the families you support.

While many owners only think about succession as they approach retirement, I believe they really should consider the benefits much earlier in their careers. With the right partner, they can enjoy the fruits of their hard work and still do what they love without stress.

Here are three things every small business owner should consider:

Age is not the only factor.

You know when your gut and heart are telling you to start thinking of a succession plan. If you are not enjoying the day-to-day operations or want to spend more time with family, maybe it’s time.

Sell, but stay?

Now may be the right time to take advantage of your hard work. If you have been building your business and finally have the opportunity to monetize those years of sacrifice, why not do it? And, if your children are in the industry, they don’t have to leave, and you don’t have to retire.

It will be okay.

Joining forces with a neighboring funeral home or larger organization is an adjustment. But just as you worry about your adult kids and how they’ll get on without your guidance, your staff will be fine. If you choose the right partner, your families will continue to receive the personalized care they deserve.

Only you can decide when the time is right. As for me, I un-retired in 2021, joining Foundation Partners Group as a partnership consultant. Today, my stress level is a fraction of what it was presale. I enjoy a flexible work schedule and love sharing my experience with independent funeral business owners faced with one of the biggest decisions of their lives. FBS

Rick Tuss is a partnership consultant for Foundation Partners Group and former owner of Charlotte Memorial Funeral Home, Cemetery & Crematory. Rick can be reached at

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The Funeral Exchange

Families give us their treasure. What do we give them in return?

A family in need calls your firm, asking for assistance. On a good day, everything runs smoothly, and you have a satisfied family. What if not only that family, but the families influenced by them were drawn to your care? Are you invigorating your greatest advertising program – word of mouth?

We have come to understand the appreciation of ‘the funeral experience’. This is when personalization comes into play. Offering an experience to the generation raised on Walt Disney just makes sense. And who doesn’t want to be on the forefront of innovation?

Families come to us and turn over their loved one. There is an immense trust factor in this action. This person, one dear to their family, is offered to us to care for, respecting their standing in the community, but more importantly, their standing in the hearts of their family and friends. As they give their treasure to us, what are we giving them in return? What is their takeaway? If they are going to offer us their loved one, the very best we can do is offer their loved one back. We can do this in different ways.

presentation. Giving the family their loved one back is a gift. The momentary viewing of the body has great impact, before their loved one is transported to the mausoleum or cemetery, or for refinement by flame, alkaline hydrolysis, or natural organic reduction. What do they have left, but the memory of this picture? Take the time to respectfully bathe the deceased, set features and put them in a hospital gown, or offer to add pajamas or comfortable clothing. Consider new products to dress the table or cremation container.

Creating a pleasing setting for the visitation and services adds to the atmosphere. Everyone walks in knowing they are in the right place, because there are markers all around to indicate whose service this is. Yes, casket corners, cap panels, stationery goods, video tributes, and creative floral displays all play a part. Develop a relationship with the florist who wants to do special work, not just casket spray #123 out of the book.

Appearance - We are trained in mortuary schools to be competent in preparation of the deceased. This includes embalming, which addresses the condition of the deceased. The challenges have multiplied over the years, as drug culture and therapeutic pharmaceuticals have wreaked havoc on the ‘old standard’ tank mix. To be able to present a well-embalmed body, free of odor and leakage, requires educated discernment and application. Restoration has become more advanced in repair, and we should strive for excellence, to achieve a last picture which replaces emaciation, bloating, and whatever the imagination can conjure up when the death is tragic.

When embalming is not desired, a final picture is still important. Be mindful of the setting of an I.D. and the

Sounds and Words – The music enjoyed by a person can add another level of personalization. Gone are the days when every service should have the old standards of a church hymnal playing in the background. Be mindful of the fact, not every family is connected to organized religion or a spiritual compass.

A dynamic shift from the standard service, to one which includes stories about the deceased, gives that person back to their family. Stories are powerful tools in escorting everyone from the death bed, back into the life filled with love and joy. We learn this during the collection of obituary information, where laughter can erupt as life moments are recalled from times shared. Celebrants have been key in addressing this need. One widow remarked, “I read the service each night, until I could read it without crying. It helped me to grieve.”

52 | March/April Issue 2024

So, we have the appearance of the deceased, the look and feel of the surroundings, amenities of personalization, the feel of music in the air, the words that speak volumes about who died and why they mattered. But what tangible products leave the building and go home with the family?

The Takeaways - Certainly, suppliers have come to your aid in going over-the-top for your families, with cutout picture bookmarks, takeaway photo trifolds, tribute posters, and storybook guest registers, etc. But when it comes to custom candles, picture blankets, and the like, consider this…

You want to leave the family in a mindset of celebrating the life, their time with this person. Why do we need dates on these items? There is no end to the love shared. Why put a death date on it? And I love the idea of a meaningful picture, in place of a headshot. While blankets are lovely,

consider a photo throw pillow. It's easier to display at home, and what a great conversation starter.

The Chatter - Conversation is really what we are looking for. Remembering time together is the way to leave the deathbed and return to joy of living. Many of the personalized items offered go home and stay there, sometimes into a bureau drawer. What items are you offering that walk around town with your families, which would be noticed by, or shared with others?

Your best takeaways are portable and shareable. Consider memorial coins or wallet-sized tribute cards. The standouts are openly visible, like cremation jewelry, wristbands, and memorial pins.

Let’s offer families the tools they need to have conversations about the love they still have for those who have gone. If we do it right, they will also talk about the love they have for the one who served them well. FBS

Ruthann Disotell is a licensed funeral director / embalmer in New Jersey, owns and operates a Celebrant business at and is the creator and CEO of MemoriaLeaf® remembrance products. She also offers continuing education seminars in funeral service to groups around the country. She can be reached at 908-475-1711 or by email at

54 | March/April Issue 2024
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Seven Industry Podcasts for Funeral Professionals

The funeral industry is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult for funeral directors and deathcare professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, technologies, and practices. One way to stay informed is by listening to podcasts.

But in the sea of podcasts that are readily available, it can be difficult to find the podcasts that cut out the fluff, get right to the point, inspire you, teach you, and help you connect with others in the profession. So here's 7 podcast recommendations for funeral professionals.

Undertaking: The Podcast

Hosted by Ryan Ballard and Brian Waters, Undertaking: The Podcast covers a variety of topics related to funeral service, including grief support, green burial, and funeral home operations. The show features interviews with industry experts and personal stories from funeral directors.

The Mortuary Show

Hosted by Michael Cooney (a wellknown funeral director based out of Illinois), this is a podcast that talks about death, embalming, funerals, and anything else that pops up in the ole cranium. They regularly invite new guests, morticians, and deathcare professionals onto the show to tell their most morbid stories, explore new trends in funeral service, and much more.

The Death Deck

Hosted by Lisa and Lori, The Death Deck is a podcast that covers topics related to death and dying in a fun and engaging way. The show features games, trivia, and conversation starters that can help deathcare professionals and their clients have more open conversations about death.

Confessions of a Funeral Director

Hosted by author Caleb Wilde, Confessions of a Funeral Director is a podcast that explores the world of funeral service. Wilde shares his personal experiences as a funeral director, offering insights into the unique challenges and rewards of the profession.

Funeral nation TV

Hosted by Jeff Harbeson and marketing guru Ryan Thogmartin, Funeral nation TV is a weekly video podcast that covers the latest news and trends in the funeral industry. The show features interviews with industry experts, discussions on current events, and tips for improving funeral home operations.

NFDA: A Brush With Death

As mentioned on their website, NFDA has launched A Brush With Death – a podcast to help funeral professionals be more responsive to the evolving needs of families and better respond to the issues shaping their businesses. The podcast is hosted by Gabe Schauf.

Death Curious

Hosted by Alexandra Jo (They/Them) of Parting Stone, Death Curious is a platform for death exploration and a community of like-minded, deathpositive people. They imagine a future in which talking about death is no longer taboo. They also bring on several funeral service professionals to explore trends, changing family preferences, and much more.

56 | March/April Issue 2024

Advertiser Index


Continental Computers

Cummings, Lamont, McNamee

Mortuary Lift Company

New Paradigm Marketing Solutions

Noble Metal Solutions

Passages International

RK Productions


Social Media Strategies for Funeral Homes

58 | March/April Issue 2024 43 Cover, 30-31, 52 41 47 37 33 11 55 35 34 60 45
Alan Creedy AngelStar ASD BSF
Crowne Vault
PLLC Everly Final Embrace Funeral Home GIfts Hilton Funeral Supply ICCFA Kanga-Woo Legacy MemoriaLeaf
Duncan Stuart Todd
Tukios Tribucast 17 51 54 59 2 46 15 13 39 4, 5, 57 9 38 24-25
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