Generally I do not refer folks to a corporate funeral home. Sometimes however they are the only one in town. You can have a lower cost funeral at some corporate funeral homes. Choose this one first but only if your choices are limited.
Stewart Enterprises is the best choice. Presently I have no connection with Stewart Enterprises or SCI. The Funeral Industry as I have mentioned does not have a good reputation. Within the Funeral Industry SCI, Service Corporation International is known for it’s aggressive sales tactics. Please note. SCI and Stewart Enterprise Facilities are most often located near each other and are fierce competitors.
Here is my comments on Stewart Enterprises.
As a former employee of Stewart Enterprises I must say their focus was always on better service.
On the cemetery side there has been difficulties.I observed this first hand. However their tactics were never as brutal as SCI which I have witnessed.
In funeral arrangements their concern was for the family. Walking out of the arrangement conference I heard how did you help that family? Rather than How much did you sell?- the mantra of others (i.e. SCI) and companies I worked for.
Stewart has strict guidelines and standards for employees, and as an arranger I had access to family reviews of my own arrangement and service skills.
Yes they have good goals now. It appears that hiring a cremation specialist is a move towards a focus on giving great service on all types of services even those with less profit margin.
Lower cost funeral alternatives, a rising trend around the country are quickly being requested by the public. This continues to present itself in these difficult economic times.
Strategies for the days ahead appear to be well thought out. I need to mentioned two consistent problems.
Problem #1 is preneed difficulties. Please do not purchase a preneed policy especially from a funeral home. It appears that it will not take you to a lower cost funeral. Being on the inside I saw instances of preneed fraud, which they skillfully dealt with and kept quiet and out of the press.
Problem #2 is executive and employee exchange with SCI. Focus often changed when these exchanges took place. Lower turnover will help this.
If they manage to handle more lower cost funeral deals, Stewart Enterprises will continue to survive and show growth in the recession.
I mention this so you can shop intelligently for a lower cost funeral. Be careful though Stewart Enterprises have a significant population of SCI people.
If you do not want to take my word on SCI’s blame it on the customer attitude check out this snippet:
“”Was it that Stewart Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:STEI)was too unreasonable in insisting that Service Corporation International(NYSE:SCI) accept all financing risk in the transaction, as SCI claims? Or was it the declining state of the credit market, as Stewart claims?“
Clearly SCI blamed Their Customer Stewart Enterprise. This attitude carries down to the funeral director level.
Check out an article on this subject now by Laura Cadden.
On the Flipside my experiences with SCI and Stewart Enterprises led me to write the lower cost funeral book.
Remember to come in under the average cost of a funeral($8000.00 USD+) you generally need to avoid corporate funeral homes.
Blog by Your Funeral Guy.