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Is The Funeral Industry Affected By Recession

2347 words - 10 pages

How the funeral industry is being impacted and changed by the Global Recession? Benjamin Franklin’s old adage “in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes” has never been truer. However, if he was around today he might change his spelling of “death” to “debt”. Taxes in Ireland have increased recently and the forthcoming emergency budget looks certain to bring further misery to the population. So while governments are busy collecting whatever taxes they can, people are still dying! You are born and then you die, it is a simple fact of life. In fact the portion in between we call life is the uncertain part. When you die you will require the services of an undertaker ...view middle of the document...

Anything to do with dealing with the dead can bring on bad memories and sadness. But a $15 billion per annum industry in North America is not easy to ignore. Close to 30,000 people died in Ireland last year. According to the Irish Association of Funeral Directors (IAFD) the average undertakers fee is €5,000 per funeral, therefore in Ireland alone it is a €150 million industry. The Irish industry can be divided into two groups. In the large urban areas, primarily Dublin and Cork, a small number of families run the majority of the industry. These families have often been accused of having a monopoly on the business. This is a major factor in seeing off any new entries into the market which may increase competition. On the other hand in the rural areas the undertakers tend to be local members of the community, often the local shopkeeper or publican, whose family have offered a funeral service for generations. It is often tradition and loyalty to the local area to have your funeral arrangements organised by this family. A funeral director is there to look after all aspects of the funeral arrangements. It is a difficult time for families, who will want to see the loved ones remembered in the appropriate way. Therefore the service of an experienced funeral director aims to help relieve the burden. Most funeral businesses have their own funeral

home/parlour and offer services such as embalming, hearse and limousine hire, coffins and caskets, organising death notices, grave digging, priest, church...etc. In this regard, it is a unique industry and as death is often unplanned, the industry has to be very responsive to its customers, offering a 24 hour a day, 365 day a year service. Most Irish funerals are concluded within three days of the person’s death, which leaves little time for discussing the various costs involved and payment terms. It is the cost of the funeral that varies throughout the country, which often comes under scrutiny. Very few people challenge these costs as shopping around for cheaper deals when it comes to a funeral can be difficult when overwhelmed by grief. This trend is changing. With people guaranteed to die, is the industry affected by the recession at all? Laurence Shatkin seems to think that the industry is recession proof. He ranks a funeral director at number 84 in his recent book “150 Best Recession Proof Jobs”. Yes the work will continue to come and as the baby boomers come of age, so to speak, the funeral industry doesn’t look like slowing down. However, it is not just the people that are dying, the profits are too! People have become more cost conscious as a consequence of the recession and even in their time of grief they are starting to shop around for the best deal to bury their loved ones. Remember, death can be sudden and unplanned and a costly funeral will rarely be budgeted for. A funeral is a celebration of someone’s life and often the extravagance is a reflection of the respect for that person. Irish people...

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