Do you want to start a mortuary transportation company? If YES, here’s a complete guide to starting a mortuary transportation company with NO money and no experience.
The fact that people, whether old or young will always die when it is their time necessitates the need to prepare for it. As a matter of fact, some people go as far as buying insurance to take care of their own funeral when they die; whilst others state clearly in their will the type of funeral they would prefer.
This goes to show that the mortuary transportation business will always thrive as long as human beings exist and die. As an aspiring entrepreneur who is in need of a business that will always provide services that would never go into extinction, delving into the mortuary transportation business should be a business you need to consider.
Although most people would rather do some other form of business rather than opt for this type of business because of its delicate and emotional nature, but the fact remains that this business is a money spinner and it will always stand the test of time.
If you are in doubt if this kind of business is worth investing in, then just try and undertake a research on the existing mortuary transportation companies in your area and you will be shocked to know the amount of money they make monthly.
It is important to know that this kind of business is not for everyone, it is for those who naturally can comfort and care for bereaved people whether money is involved or not. If you don’t have this basic quality, you might not succeed in this business.
So, if you are serious about starting your own mortuary transportation company, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped.
You can start your mortuary transportation company from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes nationally recognized and your business network spreads across the length and breadth of the United States of America.
Steps to Starting a Mortuary Transportation Company
1. Understand the Industry
A mortuary transportation company is a company that basically transports the remains of people from the mortuary to burial site or cemetery. They also are involved in transporting human remains from the hospital or place of death to a mortuary especially if the burial is not immediate and if the burial is immediate, then to the place the body is to be buried.
It is important to note that the mortuary transportation business is part of the funeral home industry and the industry comprises of companies that conduct funerals and prepare the deceased for burial or interment. Funeral homes are also involved in the transportation of the dead and the sale of caskets and other related funeral merchandise.
The Funeral Home industry comprises of funeral homes combined with crematories and mortuary transportation companies; on the other hand, businesses whose core business activities is to conduct cremation are not included in the Funeral Home industry; they are classified under the Cemetery Services industry
In the United States of America, most modern-day funeral homes and mortuary transportation businesses are run as family business. As a matter of fact, a large percentage of mortuary transportation, trained morticians and undertakers et al work in small, independent family run funeral homes.
The owners of these family run funeral homes usually hire two or three other morticians/undertakers as either full-time or part-time employees. The Funeral Home Services industry that the mortuary transportation business is a part of is indeed a very large industry and pretty much thriving in all parts of the world especially in developed countries.
Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 24,838 licensed and registered funeral homes and strictly mortuary transportation companies responsible for employing about 121,936 employees and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $16bn annually with an annual growth rate projected at 1.3 percent within 2011 and 2017.
The industry is open to all and sundry and no company can boast of having the lion share of the available market. It is important to state that the falling per capita income during the recession period and of course a rising number of low-priced cremations have hampered revenue generated in the industry.
So also, families that are not financially buoyant opt for discount mortuary transporters, retailers and manufacturers to purchase caskets, which negatively impacts revenue generation for mortuary transportation operators. However, the industry’s revenue is projected to grow slightly in the next five years.
No doubt, as the population ages, it is obvious that the number of deaths in the United States and all over the world is anticipated to increase and this will in turn create market for the funeral home industry. Nonetheless, continued competition from discount retailers and the ease of online ordering from casket manufacturers, as well as a rise in low-priced cremations, are expected to curtail prices for mortuary transportation operators.
If you are contemplating starting your own mortuary transportation business in the United States, you should ensure that you carry out a thorough market survey and feasibility studies. If you get some key factors wrong before starting your own mortuary transportation company, then you are likely going to struggle to stay afloat.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of mortuary transportation companies cut across families, hospitals, mortuary operators and funeral home operators amongst others who need to transport dead body from one point to another.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
There is no niche area when it comes to the mortuary transportation business but on the other hand, most funeral homes and mortuary operators are also involved in transporting dead bodies.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The competition that exists in the mortuary transportation line of business goes beyond competition amongst mortuary transportation companies within your location of operation. You are expected to compete with funeral homes and mortuary operators that also transport dead bodies.
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure that you position your business properly, adopt safe and swift delivery process and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
There are several small, medium and large scale mortuary transportation companies scattered all around the United States.
So, if you choose to start your own mortuary transportation company in the United States, you will definitely meet stiffer competitions amongst them. Besides, there are larger mortuary transportation companies that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others.
Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years. These are some of the leading mortuary transportation services companies in the United States of America;
- Mortuary Transport Services
- Stewart Enterprises Inc
- Service Corporation International
- Golden Gate Funeral Home
- Funeral Caring USA
- Frank E. Campbell – The Funeral Chapel
- Carter Funeral Home
- Fossum Funeral Home
- Sunset Funeral Homes
- Pax Villa Funeral Home
- Las Americas Funeral Home
- Greenwich Village Funeral Home, Inc.
- Caskets USA Direct
- American Heritage Funeral Home
- Brevard Memorial Funeral Home
- Robert L. Snyder Funeral Home and Crematory Inc
- Hill & Kunselman Funeral Home
- Parks Funeral Home, Inc.
- Valdese Family Funeral Care And Cremation
- Baker McCullough – Fairhaven Funeral Home & Crematory – Garden City
Getting your economic analysis right and adopting best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in is some of the critical steps you have to take before starting your business. If you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of what is required to purchase casket carriers, wagons, the cost of renting an office and also the running cost of the business.
If you are considering starting a mortuary transportation services business, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of purchasing casket carriers and wagons, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
There is no strict rule when it comes to choosing how you intend starting a business. Basically, you should be guided by your overall business vision and mission.
If you are looking towards starting a mortuary transportation services company, then you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get a franchise of a mortuary transportation services company to buy. It is a business that is open to all and sundry.
Besides starting a mortuary transportation services company from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other small scale businesses which usually require detailed groundwork before launching the business.
With a mortuary transportation services company, you should just try as much as possible to secure casket carriers, wagons, build business relationship with organizations and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal especially the internet to market your services.
Please note that most of the big and successful mortuary transportation services companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own mortuary transportation services company brand to become a successful brand.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own mortuary transportation services company today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established mortuary transportation companies in your business location and also funeral homes and mortuary operators who also offer transportation for dead bodies. The only way to avoid this challenge is to look inward and create your own market.
Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is unfavorable government and price regulations. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
When considering starting a mortuary transportation services company, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow. You have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship for a mortuary transportation services company.
Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small scale mortuary transportation services company especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital and operating in a small neighborhood.
But if your intention is to grow the business and transport dead bodies all across the United States of America, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships.
Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own mortuary transportation services company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Heavenly Associates® Mortuary Transportation Services, LLC
- Leo® Mortuary Transportation Services, Inc.
- Luke Harry and Sons Mortuary Transportation Company
- Donald Pence® Mortuary Transportation Services, Inc.
- Excellent Care® Mortuary Transportation Services, Inc.
- The Tracks® Logistic Services, Inc.
- Swift & Safe® Mortuary Transportation Services, LLC
- Anthony Greene® Mortuary Transportation Services, Inc.
- Tallahassee Community Mortuary Transportation Services, Inc.
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your mortuary transportation services company.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own mortuary transportation services company in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Motor vehicle insurance
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own mortuary transportation services company, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
When it comes to operating a mortuary transportation services business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to open and operate a mortuary transportation services business in the United States of America and in all countries of the world.
All you need is informal training that will expose you to the in and out of handling and transporting dead bodies and effectively running the business. On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your mortuary transportation services business successfully, then by all means try and pursue such certification.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.
If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own mortuary transportation services company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License/Dead Body Handler’s License
- Tax Payer’s ID/Tax Identification Number
- Business Plan
- Non-disclosure Agreement
- Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration
- Appropriate driver’s license for drivers
- Assistant’s license for assistants
- Proof of ownership, proper identification and vehicle license
- Copy of license for the service support facility (warehouse) and/or a recent inspection report
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a mortuary transportation services company can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale with just one wagon operating within a community or city.
Acquiring multiple wagons or dead body carriers and renting a parking space are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, so, if you choose to start the business on a large scale with fleets of wagons and dead body carriers, then you would need to source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale mortuary transportation company with networks spread across the United States of America.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your mortuary transportation services company;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
When it comes to choosing a location for your mortuary transportation services company, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for such services and the demographic composition of the location. If you are able to start your mortuary transportation services company in the right location for such business, you won’t struggle to make headway with the business.
The location you chose to start your mortuary transportation services company is key to the success of the business; hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people and businesses with the required purchasing power.
If you make the mistake of starting your mortuary transportation services company in an area where you can hardly find access good roads, a location that is hidden and difficult to locate, then you will struggle to grow the business. It is important to note that a business facility in a good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing/renting in your budget.
If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your mortuary transportation services company.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your mortuary transportation services company, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your mortuary transportation services company;
- The demography of the location as it relates to old people and death rate
- The demand for the services of mortuary transportation services in the location
- Accessibility and road network of the location
- The number of mortuary transportation services companies, funeral homes and mortuary operators who are also into the transportation of dead bodies in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
On the average, there are no special technologies or equipment needed to run this type of business except for tracking device and software apps, Point of Sales (POS) Machines, and other relevant software applications. You will also need wagons and dead body carriers, computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regards leasing or outright purchase of an office cum parking facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short term rent/lease while test running the business in the location.
If things work out as planned, then you go on a long term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location/facility for such business.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard mortuary transportation services company, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Manager, Sales and Marketing Officer, Drivers, Accounting Clerk, and Cleaners.
On the average, you will need a minimum of 2 to 10 key staff members to run a medium scale but standard mortuary transportation services company.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
When it comes to transporting dead bodies, there are no hard and fast rules about it. Basically, it is the duty of the marketing and sales team to help the organization source for clients. They go out there to source for hospitals, funeral homes and mortuary operators et al who are regularly transporting dead bodies.
Once a deal is sealed, the wagon driver either carries the dead body from the mortuary or from any location to the expected location (usually cemeteries or funeral homes). Usually there will be a business agreement amongst both parties as regards who will pay for the services.
It is worthy to mention that swiftness and safe delivery is very important in this industry hence the need for all mortuary transportation services companies to install trackers on their wagons and also leverage on reliable software apps. This will enable them keep track of the dead body that are on transit and also give almost accurate timing of arrival.
It is important to state that a mortuary transportation services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated mortuary transportation services company business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
Normally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a mortuary transportation services company, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well-known brands determining the market direction for mortuary transportation services line of business.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your mortuary transportation services company;
- Introduce your mortuary transportation services company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to mortuary operators, funeral homes and hospitals within and outside the city you are operating in
- Advertise on the internet and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
- Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
- Directly market your services
- Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to create awareness of your mortuary transportation services company
- Join local mortuary transportation services company associations for industry trends and tips
- Provide discount days for your customers
- Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you offer your mortuary transportation services at a price that is highly attractive is to ensure that you cut operational cost (especially fueling, services and maintenance costs) to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name.
Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products and services.
18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The fact that the mortuary transportation services line of business might not be so competitive and that does not mean you should not come up with a unique and highly creative strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors in the industry.
Your ability to transport dead bodies swiftly and safely, your business process and of course your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry. Organizations and people will always run to you if they know that you have a better option especially as it relates to swiftly and safely transporting dead bodies.
Another strategy that you can adopt is to ensure that your organization is well positioned and you have business relationship with mortuary operators, hospitals and funeral homes et al.
19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customers’ retention and perhaps to attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always.
If your customers are satisfied with your products and services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service provider or products. Statistics has it that one of the major reasons why clients source for alternative service providers or products is when there is a drop in quality.
Another reason is poor customer service. If you can continue to transport dead bodies swiftly and safely, and your customer service delivery is top notch, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal customers.
Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building a loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.
With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized emails and above all, you can easily receive complaints and feedback from them).
20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portray your business to be.
If your intention of starting a mortuary transportation services company is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your mortuary transportation services company;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your products
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your mortuary transportation services company
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact mortuary operators, funeral homes and hospitals within and outside the city you are operating in informing them about your business and the services you offer
- List your mortuary transportation services company in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your mortuary transportation services company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your mortuary transportation services company is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and wagons are well branded with your company logo
21. Create a Suppliers/Distribution Network
You will agree that mortuary operators, funeral homes and hospitals know who to call whenever they need to transport dead bodies.
So if you want to do pretty well in this line of business, then you should endeavor to enter into a business relationship with key stakeholders such as mortuary operators, funeral homes and hospitals, they are in the best position to help you get steady deals.