Nothing can be said to be certain,” Benjamin Franklin famously quipped, “except death and taxes. Such certainty has seen Australia’s two ASX-listed funeral operators, InvoCare Limited (ASX: IVC) and Propel Funeral Partners Ltd (ASX: PFP) rising from the grave.
More than 160,000 Australians will die this year with one person dying every 3 minutes. However, investors are feeling like they are in heaven with news that profits at Australia’s two largest funeral operators are rising amid ominous signs there could be a further escalation from a nasty flu season.
Since the middle of January, the Propel share price has risen 31.4% and since the start of the year the InvoCare share price is up 56.8%. This may be good news for shareholders, but not for grieving consumers worried about the rising costs of funerals.
What this means for consumers
You might not know it, but you and your family may be contributing to big corporate profits, by not shopping around for funeral services.
Between them, InvoCare and Propel Funeral Partners currently control over 40% market share nationally. This means that, without knowing it, there’s a good chance your first contact will be a funeral brand owned by one of these large funeral chains listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Don’t be deceived by family brand names advertised on a billboard, in the newspaper, on radio or in the media – it does not necessarily mean they are an independent funeral home.
Often, large publicly listed companies will use family brand names on their signs, because they know customers will be more inclined to trust them, and they often use the reputation of the family name. It is quite common for these publicly listed companies to operate under old family names and not change the look of the premises after the funeral home changes hands.
Know who owns the funeral home you are dealing with
So, when looking for a funeral director, the first piece of advice is: know who you are dealing with and shop around.
Choosing between a corporate or family-owned funeral home is a personal question. Corporate funeral homes are often able to charge a premium due to brand recognition and the belief that their services will be of a higher professional quality.
On the other hand, family-owned funeral homes work for consumers and not shareholders. They are often more connected with the communities they serve and have more freedom to tailor funerals to reflect the wishes of the family (rather than being bound by strict package options).
eziFunerals recommends that you ask yourself the following key questions before selecting a funeral director:
- Who owns the funeral home you are considering?
- Are they independent OR are they owned by the big funeral chains (InvoCare and Propel Funeral Partners)?
- Are you soliciting quotes from funeral branches of the same company?
- Does the funeral director work for you and your family or shareholders?
- Have you met or heard about the funeral director in your community?
- Do you know their personal and professional reputation?
- How long have they been serving their community?
- What has been the experience of relatives, friends and neighbours?
If you need a Quick Funeral Quote, you can connect with funeral directors in your area by simply using our easy funeral quote request form.
Learn more about planning a funeral in Australia
eziFunerals supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company, and are not a subsidiary of any other corporation. We do not conduct funerals and we are not part of any other funeral company.