Funeral Industry David vs. Goliath



David kicked Goliaths ass.  Interestingly, David’s fellow warriors remained on the sidelines, huddled like a covey of quail, and just waited to see David get beat down by the giant.  But David was not only brave, he was an innovator.  He knew there was a simple solution to attack to win, versus the conventional “we’ve always done this way (and getting our ass kicked too)” crowd.

Guess what, fellow family-owned, small suppliers, and free thinkers of the funeral business:  “Goliaths” don’t innovate.  They dictate! 

Think about it.  What new innovation has made serious impact on the way we serve families or make our job better in the last 10 years?

Recently I was having a conversation with a funeral home owner client and he was lamenting how the funeral industry seems to be completely driven by “the big boys.”  And by “big boys,” he meant publicly-traded funeral homes and casket companies, membership organizations and other funeral industry providers who seem to determine our direction.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to address different categories of funeral industry Goliaths and highlight the emerging Davids.  I have a sling in one hand and rocks in another.  Yeah, this is going to be fun!  From the Command Post (West), Cheers Y’all! #thefuneralcommander


  1. Howard Beckham said:

    Jeff, In the larger city where I live (not the smaller city I work in), with very rare exception, many of the independents and family owned firms are still doing things like if was 1999 (or even 1969 in some cases). Really shocking. While the largest corporate player in the area has adapted their facilities to become celebration and reception centers, gone to digital showrooms and computerized arrangement presentations, living room like arrangement rooms, catering events, using celebrants, etc. I was more than shocked when I recently visited one of their facilities about their potential to meet a families needs. Granted the corporate firm is high priced, but they have done a surprising job in positioning themselves to offer their families value.

    Only a few private firms come close to offering similar services. My guess would be less than 2%.
    My prediction is that those firms that have not come into the first quarter of the 21st Century in the next 60 months (or less), if they survive, will be little more than direct cremation services.

    Yes, David can slay Goliath, but it requires owners and managers to upset the old and create the paradigm and to keep changing to meet the public’s desires and needs.

    But heck, I am just a funeral director, what do I know?


  2. Catherine Belliveau said:

    I like the reference to AZ…”covey of quail”. Glad I now know the story.


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  3. Jeff Harbeson said:

    Howard…as usual, thank you for your thoughts. You sir, are way more than a funeral director…also a friend! Cheers


  4. Anonymous said:

    Hey Jeff,
    I always love to see and read your insight.
    Can’t wait for more.
    Kindest regards buddy,



  5. Jeff Harbeson said:

    Thanks Jim!


  6. Bob Lowcher said:

    As usual, Jeff you are spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jeff Harbeson said:

    Thank Bob!


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