Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Funeral Director Business in the United Kingdom
In the UK, the funeral industry is one of the highly lucrative businesses you can venture into. The funeral business is approximately 2 billion pounds a year in the UK. Any business owner planning on starting a funeral director business in the United Kingdom must take advantage of the industry. The work involves funeral planning, and as a funeral director is overseeing the entire process going smoothly.
Here’s a guide on starting a funeral director business in the United Kingdom.
As gloomy as it may sound, funeral directors have a distinctly reliable source of income. Despite the aging population in the UK, the demand for funeral services is in its ascendancy. Currently, an ordinary funeral director will charge between 2000 to 3000 pounds as the standard rate. Some of the activities would include transportation of the body, embalming, and overseeing the booking and running of the ceremony.
As you plan on starting a funeral director business in the United Kingdom, your quality services will keep you in the industry. There are over 4000 registered funeral directors in the UK. Since not everyone will get the funeral director services, the demand for the services is high. With that respect, the funeral directors are controlled by a code of practice under the National Association of Funeral directors (NAFD).
What’s the Work of the Funeral Director?
The UK has seen the growth of the funeral director business due to the value they provide to their customers during difficult times. The funeral director meets the client and the family to deliberate on their needs and desires concerning the funeral. An initial arrangement for the transportation of the body to the funeral home may get underway. Then the funeral director facilitates any preparations for viewings if the client would so wish before the funeral.
Subsequently, the funeral director organizes the necessary funeral paperwork and publishes obituaries in newspapers. This will entail booking a fleet or transport methods, ordering floral arrangements, liaising with the burial venue, and inviting guests.
Come D-Day; the major hard work will already have been done by the funeral director. In a nutshell, they ensure that plans go smoothly and the family and friends are taken care of during this period.
Soon, the funeral is complete; the funeral director can commence with the following tasks:
- Organizing for ash-scattering
- Transporting the casket to a location
- Distributing thank you cards to guests
- Making sure that all legal or procedural documents are dealt with
- General support services.
Business Registration Process
When you decide on starting a funeral director business in the United Kingdom, it’s essential to understand the funeral industry.
Research On the Target Market
To successfully transition into the funeral director business, you must first find out the local community you’ll be working with. Then, get to understand how well existing funeral directors already serve that community.
Some of the factors to put into consideration include the following:
- The ethnic, cultural, and religious background of the local community
- Whether or not the local people are affluent
- Are there any local traditions when it comes to funerals?
Subsequently, you can also think about the geographic nature of the surrounding area. More often than not, people choose funeral directors that are within their own home. Ensure that you have enough people living in your locality to make your business viable.
Choose a Niche
There are some services that one can venture into as a funeral director. You can select a particular niche that’s suitable for you.
- Burials and Cremations
In terms of funerals, cremation is much more popular in the UK since it’s cheaper. However, if you’re the funeral director, you’ll be responsible for arranging the entire package by yourself or get a third party.
- Basic Funerals
You can decide to offer a basic simple funeral at a standard low-cost fee. You may tender through the local authority’s municipal funeral service.
- Other Services
Besides coordinating the funeral proceedings, you can jump into limousine hire, catering, and monumental masonry. Other specialist services may include body exhumation or repatriation.
Registering Your Funeral Director Business
To legally operate your funeral director business, you must register the business. The Company Act governs the company registration in the United Kingdom with the Companies House, the authority in charge. Before registering your company, you must have a business name. The business name should relate to the nature of your business. Each of the different types of structures requires that you possess the legal documents to complete company incorporation services in the UK.
Pricing Your Services
For the success of your company, setting the correct fees for your services is essential. Some of the two key factors to put into consideration before placing your fees include:
- The amount to charge to cover the entire operating costs and make a decent profit margin.
- Consider the going rate within your area based on the type of services you offer.
Since you’re selling goods and services, you may also decide to calculate the prices of the various items differently. For instance, you may add a specific amount to the cost price of items like casket as your profit margin.
An increasing number of people prefer making arrangements for their own funerals before they die. You can capture their attention by selling them the idea of a pre-payment plan. Associations such as the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) and the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors may advise you accordingly. In addition, different providers offer different plans where you can sell your pre-payment plans through your business name.
Market Your Funeral Business
As a corporate service provider in the UK, you need to put your business out there, and the only way is through marketing. You can begin by setting up a website and describing the services you’re offering to the target audience. Alternatively, you can create different social media and put content that resonates with your audience. Word of mouth is one of the traditional methods that can work for you as a beginner. Again, you can put your business in the daily newspaper or send out business cards or flyers to your local community.
Licenses, Permits, and Regulations
Besides the legislation approved in 2016 giving Scottish Ministers powers to introduce a scheme for licensing funeral directors, there’s no legislation governing them. Nevertheless, as an entrepreneur participating in hazardous activities to people and the environment, you should be aware of specific legislations.
What Licenses Should a Funeral Director Require?
According to the funeral industry legislation, there’s no specific nationally applicable license to operate as a funeral director. However, some local authorities need funeral directors to register with them before working within the authority’s cemeteries and burial grounds.
If you decide to operate your own scheme, you must either acquire authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or meet the measures for exemption. This means you might require registering as a plan provider with the Funeral Planning Authority. Consequently, if you offer your customers credit over a period exceeding 12 months, you must have FCA authorization.
As an entrepreneur planning on starting a funeral director business in the United Kingdom, one needs to promote good practice. You can achieve this through having a voluntary licensing scheme-the BIFD License to practice. The British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD) is the board responsible for issuing the license. As a funeral director, you must meet specific criteria and show commitment to your professional development.
Consumer Protection Legislation
To be professional means that you must always deal fairly, openly, and honestly with your clients. Therefore, this legislation covers the following matters:
- Providing accurate and transport price information, including details of what is included in the price.
- Making it clear about the business owner.
- Approving fair contact with customers.
- Never pressuring customers to spend more- for instance, by suggesting that the deceased ‘deserves better.’
Other Important Legislation
It is essential as a funeral director to be aware of the legislation covering the registration of deaths and disposal of bodies. They include:
- The Birth and Deaths Registration Acts and the Registration of Births and Deaths Regulations.
- The local government Act—covers the modern burial Authority.
- The Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880, which protects circumstances where a burial is to take place in a graveyard devoid of rites of the church.
- The Cremation Acts and Regulations, which cater for the procedures before cremation of the body.
Contact 3E Accounting if you need further assistance in setting up a funeral director business in the United Kingdom.