Opening a private cemetery can be a lucrative business venture. It is essential to understand the steps necessary to start and operate a cemetery so that you can make the most of this opportunity.
Here are the eight steps you can take to start building a private cemetery.
Eight Steps to Opening a Private Cemetery
1. Name Your Private Cemetery
Give your private cemetery an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your private cemetery from your geographical location or use your own name, among other options.
The main goal for naming your private cemetery is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that people will want to bury their loved ones there.
2. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your private cemetery you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your private cemetery will determine the taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common private cemetery business structures.
3. Write a Private Cemetery Business Plan
All private cemetery owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team, among other things.
Read our article about how to write a private cemetery business plan.
4. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your private cemetery.
For example, to sell grave plots, you may need a cemetery broker license.
Or, if you want to offer funeral services, you will need to obtain a funeral director license.
You must also register your private cemetery as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State’s website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website if you plan to hire employees.
Read our article about obtaining the proper private cemetery business licenses.
5. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your private cemetery business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have funds to invest in your private cemetery, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your funds, other forms of potential funding for your private cemetery include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors, and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a private cemetery to help you determine if funding is needed.
6. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your private cemetery, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You need a computer with Internet access and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in customer relationship management (CRM) software to help you manage your customers and business relationships. And if you plan to offer online burial services, you will need a website and possibly an eCommerce platform.
7. Market Your Private Cemetery Plots to Potential Customers
Before you start selling your products and services, you must let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your plots and funeral services.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through offline strategies such as:
- Sponsoring or exhibiting at local events
- Mailing brochures to local
- Sending out press releases to local media outlets
- Advertising in local print, radio, or TV outlets
Read our article about how to market your private cemetery business for more tips.
8. Get New Customers & Grow Your Business
When you promote your products and services, you’ll start to get interest from potential customers.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your private cemetery business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your private cemetery to learn more.
Starting a Private Cemetery FAQs
There are many reasons to start a private cemetery. The most common reason is the opportunity to be your own boss and have control over your career. Other reasons include the potential to make a good income, the satisfaction of helping people in their time of need, and the ability to make a difference in your community.
Some tips for starting a private cemetery include:
- Finding a suitable piece of property on which to build your cemetery
- Raising the necessary funds to finance your business
- Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits from your state and local government
- Putting together a team of qualified employees to help you run your business
You should also create a website and promote your business.
A simple checklist to use when starting a private cemetery is as follows:
- Name Your Private Cemetery: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Write a Private Cemetery Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Private Cemetery to Potential Customers: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the products and services they truly need.
- Get Customers & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your products and services.
Start a Private Cemetery
Starting a private cemetery can be a lucrative business opportunity, but it takes planning and hard work to get up and running. Following the simple checklist provided, you can ensure you have everything you need to start your own cemetery business.
With a well-executed marketing plan, you can attract the right customers and grow your business.