Thinking about opening a cemetery maintenance business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Cemetery Maintenance Business Models
Cemetery maintenance companies are the behind-the-scenes caretakers of America's cemeteries and memorial parks. When people visit their loved ones' resting places, they expect to see pristine and serene surroundings. Cemetery associations and municipalities hire maintenance companies to handle a range of services, all designed to keep the grounds in tip top shape.
Every cemetery or memorial park is unique. In some cases, maintenance contracts are issued only for lawn care and light landscaping. In other instances, cemeteries may hire a maintenance company to handle everything from landscaping to the sale of burial plots. So the business model you choose for your startup will depend largely on the needs in your area and your competencies as a cemetery maintenance provider.
Essential Leadership Skills for Cemetery Maintenance Entrepreneurs
It's not unusual for cemetery maintenance professionals to emerge from the ranks of one-man lawn and landscaping operations. However, it's impossible to manage the maintenance needs of a large cemetery by yourself. To be successful, you'll need to recast yourself as a small business leader.
The good news is that leadership is a learned skill set. Since you'll be called upon to manage employees, prioritize projects, troubleshoot problems and handle pretty much any crisis that comes down the pike, we recommend brushing up on your entrepreneurial leadership skills before you transition to a full-blown cemetery maintenance company.
Equipment Maintenance Concerns for Cemetery Maintenance Professionals
As a cemetery maintenance entrepreneur, you will rely on equipment like mowers, excavators, trucks, tractors and other machinery to do your job. Subsequently, equipment maintenance will play a central role in everyday operations.
The key to effective equipment maintenance is to keep your machinery in good working order for as long as possible since it's much cheaper to maintain existing equipment than it is to shop for replacements. To stay on top of maintenance concerns, you may want to consider implementing a maintenance tracking software solution.
Successful Business Plans for Cemetery & Memorial Park Maintenance Businesses
If you've done your homework, you already know that writing a business plan is the most critical thing you can do for your company.
Although it might seem like an unnecessary formality, your cemetery maintenance company's business plan is a document that will shape your goals and strategies on a go-forward basis.
Furthermore, a good business plan will help you avoid key startup mistakes. Lacking a solid business plan, many startups find themselves rudderless and incapable of executing consistent decision making processes, while committed business planners rely on their plans to guide all of their decision making and short-term planning efforts.
Well in advance of opening a cemetery maintenance business in your area, it's essential to find out how strong the competition is. We've provided the link below to help you get a list of local competitors in your city. After clicking on the link, type in your city, state and zip code to get a list of cemetery maintenance businesses near you.
Before you open up shop, make sure you know what you will offer to your customers that provides a significant advantage over your competition's offering.
Learning More About the Industry
If you are seriously contemplating launching a cemetery maintenance business, it's a smart move to talk to somebody who is already in the business. Local competitors are not going to give you the time of day, mind you. It'd be crazy for them to teach you the business.
On the other hand, an individual who has a cemetery maintenance business on the other side of the country may be more than happy to give you a few tips, given that you don't compete with them in their area. Many business owners are happy to give advice to new entrepreneurs If you are persistent, you can find a business mentor who is willing to help you out.
How would you find an owner of a cemetery maintenance business in a different locale who can assist you?
Here's how we would do it. Try the useful link below and key in a random city/state or zipcode.
Acquisitions vs. Startups
Unfortunately, many inexperienced cemetery maintenance business entrepreneurs approach ownership with the mistaken idea that a startup is their only option when they could also pursue a business acquisition.
Except for scenarios that require extreme innovation or highly unique value propositions, it's usually less risky to buy an existing cemetery maintenance business.
Established cemetery maintenance businesses are already equipped with the resources and processes new business owners struggle to acquire. In a best case scenario, you'll be able to locate a turnkey operation with proven profitability and a well oiled business model.
Is Franchising the Right Option?
The odds of achieving your primary goal of surviving in business go up significantly if you buy a franchise in lieu of doing everything yourself.
Before opening a cemetery maintenance business, you should determine whether there are good franchise opportunities available that might make sense for you.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing cemetery maintenance business, these resources will come in handy:
If you sell to cemetery maintenance businesses, you're in the wrong place. Try these resources instead:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.