As summer nears, it’s time to ready your business for the months to come and make sure you have everything ready when it’s time to serve a family. Here are some simple reminders that will hopefully be of use to you and your staff and help you prepare for summer.
Water: Whether you order water bottles with your logo on them or fill a five-gallon water igloo, it’s time to get moving. Make sure your water order is in if you use bottles. Here’s a tip for personalized water bottles: try putting a new message on the label along with your funeral home name. Take advantage of this opportunity by placing additional information on the label to make sure people coming to your funerals know about your aftercare program, yearly remembrance program, or reception center. If you use a five-gallon Igloo, take it and have it wrapped with your funeral home’s message. Most sign stores can do this for you.
Cars: Take your cars to your local mechanic to be checked. Check all fluids, especially radiator fluid. If you haven’t rotated your tires, especially on your coach, have them rotated. Also, have the service department check the belts. Summer is the biggest time for belts to fail due to the heat. Since most cars auto-lock, make sure your hide-a-key hasn’t fallen off or rusted. Place a case of bottled water, a casket rain cover, a first aid kit and umbrellas in all your cars. Either take your car to get it detailed or wash and wax it at your funeral home on a down day.
Landscaping: This year, experts say there is going to be a bumper crop of snakes because of the warmer winter. Clear out the beds around your funeral home and trim all the bushes back. This will help in taking away cover for snakes to reside in your landscaping. Planting annual bulbs that you can purchase in large quantities online for low prices is a great way to welcome spring every year. If you have a porch, this is a great place for planters that you can fill with a pop of color to add that finishing touch to your funeral home. Hanging ferns are very low maintenance and great for a front porch.
First-Call Car: Summer is, unfortunately, the most common time for water-related calls. For those of you who make coroner calls, you know the more prepared you are, the better your relationship will be with the first responders you are helping. Make sure your first-call car is stocked with the items you need to seamlessly do your job and get out of the way. A few of these are heavy-duty disaster pouches, autopsy gloves, a coveralls/hazmat suit, shoe covers, bleach, eye protection, and a scoop stretcher (if you have one).
AC Units: There is nothing worse than having your air conditioning go out when your funeral home is filled with people during a visitation or service. Have your HVAC company come out and service your system. Most of the time, they can tell you when you have a potential time bomb on your hands and need to get it fixed. Many times, the easiest solution is cleaning the unit, which will help your electric bill and enhance the comfort of the families who enter your facilities.
Odds and ends: During the summer months, it’s easier for families to travel to funerals. With that said, don’t be scared to return to the past for things that set you apart from everyone else. Take some extra chairs out to the family’s house to provide them with more seating for visiting friends and family. Take a cooler full of ice to the house or set up a bereavement room rate at one of your local hotels for family members and friends coming into town. Of course, if you take the ice or chairs out to the house, put your name on them so visitors will see that you think of everything. Go to the local dollar store and purchase different children’s toys and activities to give to children during visitations. The dollars you spend on an activities book with be worth every penny if children are kept entertained during the visitation and other services at your funeral home. If you have space, a Play Dough table will keep them occupied and engaged for a while too.
I hope these tips have been of help to you. Most of them are regular, everyday things that we have done for years, but they are easy to forget.
Have a great and safe summer!
By Laine Phillips
Member Resources Director