An Oversaturated Market 2014

E-mail Print

AN INVITATION TO FUNERAL PRICING ABUSE

If we were to die Monday through Friday — with one funeral a day — and two weeks off for the mortician's vacation, the following chart shows the number of funeral homes that would be needed in each state, compared to the actual number. There are undoubtedly some funeral homes that can handle more than one funeral a day, which reduces the "needed" number accordingly and probably explains the figures for California, Hawaii, and Nevada.


Certainly in rural areas with sparse population, a funeral home does not expect the dying business to be a full-time one, and more establishments will be needed to cover the geographic area than the number generated by a simple death-rate formula. In most other states, however, the number of funeral homes far exceeds that which can be reasonably supported by the death-rate. (In Kansas, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, there are almost four times the needed mortuaries; in Iowa there are five times too many!)

Why are so many funeral homes still in business? Because of high mark-ups that consumers pay — either willingly or because they just don't know what their other options are. It's a situation that invites pricing abuse!

How Many Funeral Homes Needed
State Deaths Annually Existing Funeral Homes Needed Number of Funeral Homes
AK 3,728 20 15
AL 48,038 407 192
AZ 46,762 144 187
AR 28,916 279 116
CA 234,012 806 936
CO 31,465 182 126
CT 28,692 261 115
DC 4,672 27 19
DE 7,706 65 31
FL 173,791 831 695
GA 71,263 572 285
HI 9,617 21 38
ID 11,429 71 46
IL 99,931 1027 400
IN 56,743 575 227
IA 27,745 397 111
KS 24,502 313 98
KY 41,983 459 168
LA 40,667 274 163
ME 12,750 110 51
MD 43,325 270 173
MA 52,583 519 210
MI 88,021 651 352
MN 38,972 368 156
MS 28,965 345 116
MO 55,281 498 221
MT 8,827 70 35
NE 15,171 215 61
NV 19,623 52 78
NH 10,201 90 41
NJ 69,495 660 278
NM 15,931 73 64
NY 146,432 1579 586
NC 78,773 607 315
ND 5,944 68 24
OH 108,711 1086 435
OK 36,529 325 146
OR 31,890 165 128
PA 124,596 1585 498
RI 9,579 79 38
SC 41,614 386 166
SD 7,100 92 28
TN 59,578 414 238
TX 166,527 1128 666
UT 14,776 84 59
VT 5,380 56 22
VA 59,032 490 236
WA 48,146 179 193
WV 21,275 255 85
WI 47,308 496 189
WY 4,438 30 18
Number of funeral homes needed=1 funeral/day, 5 days/wk, 50 wks/yr
Death data from 2012. FH data from 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 
Comments (8)
1 Friday, 16 May 2014 18:43
Licensed NY Funeral Director
One funeral a day! We would need a staff of 10 people! Each funeral consumes 3 to 4 days, and we can barely handle it with just 2 people (doing sixty funerals a year) and add to that the tons of paperwork for the state, insurance companies and Veteran's Administration, and the two of us work 50 to 60 hours a week. For a 10 minute graveside service, there is at least 25 hours of phone calls, paperwork and arranging going on. Cemetery, vault company, Military Honor Guard...you people think these things just happen?
2 Monday, 19 May 2014 21:26
Billy Bob
How about CREMATION !!!!! we do 10 a day =$$$$$$
YOU did not take a vow of Poverty so why should we
3 Monday, 19 May 2014 21:28
Billy Joe Bob
Cremation 10-20 a day 1 month off vacation
You didn't take a vow of poverty so why should we
4 Wednesday, 21 May 2014 08:36
Rural Consumer
This article is absurd on its face. To presume an entire state can be served by X number of funeral establishments while ignoring the existing fundamentals of supply and demand shows how little the author understands about the funeral industry, or any other. Arbitrary figures are arbitrary. In Kansas, as specifically cited, the majority of the state is sparsely populated. The presumption of the author would have grieving consumers driving 2-3 hours to be served by the "ideal" number of funeral homes. I am often educated by articles on this website, but this one is well off the mark.
5 Monday, 21 July 2014 15:26
Brian Miller
The number of funeral homes needed will be decided by market forces. If costs are too high in a given area, there is opportunity for a discounter to move in and capture market share.
After browsing the article and scrolling to the bottom and seeing that need is based on 1 funeral a day, I decided to not fully read this article. Death is not timely nor does it come only once a day for five days a week. If the consumer is unhappy with the costs of services at the funeral home they selected, they can always call another funeral home. There is no law against price shopping. Consumers are always in control of any situation...no matter what the purchase is...they carry the power of the word NO!!!!
6 Monday, 21 July 2014 21:46
Robert
Actually most consumers are not in control of the funeral situation. No pre-planing, no money for funeral costs, and grief stricken. There was a study done that showed that people who were under stress (grief) their thinking process was similar to a person who was drunk. Not in exactly the best frame of mind to make some expensive funeral decisions. It's not the funeral homes fault ether. But I have never found a funeral home in my area that will show the consumer(who has limited money) how to save on a funeral. As for market forces controlling funeral costs(in our area it's a cartel) that only works for those who get educated about a funeral before needing a funeral director. Most people do not do this so they get taken by funeral directors who do not say NO, "You don't need this for a funeral". Maybe we need 3rd party funeral planners who work for the consumer to tell both the consumer and funeral director "No, you don't need this for a funeral".
7 Monday, 20 October 2014 19:26
Montana Mortician
If one looks at actual ownership, one will quickly realize that in our state your numbers are not that far off. However, numerous facilities are needed due to the great amount of miles that would be traveled by the consumer if facilities of the same ownership reduced the properties to conform with the concept of one business - one building. The truth of the matter is that most funeral homes cannot exist without nursing homes and hospitals in their communities and I propose that in a rural area that this is a greater criteria than that of number of deaths. Just like many rural area hospitals should probably not exist but do and are supported at a loss to the taxpayer for the convenience of being local, one should realize that a funeral home is a complimentary addition to these hospitals but must charge enough to exist since the taxpayer does not need to support a private business through their taxes.
8 Tuesday, 21 October 2014 11:16
Josh Slocum, FCA Exec. Director
Montana mortician---very good observation and you're correct, obviously. Geographically far-flung areas will have different needs from the "average" or from more densely populated areas. We don't claim our formula is an exact prescription that will work in every situation; we only intend for it to be a guide to thinking about the supply and demand issue.

Thanks for a great comment!

Add your comment

Your name:
Comment: