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Post-pandemic recovery - what Funeral Directors are thinking…

As Funeral Directors begin to better understand what the post-pandemic world looks like, Braemar Finance commissioned wide-ranging independent research to determine how Funeral Directors are dealing with the new challenges facing businesses, ranging from coping with rising costs to filling the skills gap.

 

Sentiment

Despite the many setbacks of the past 18 months (and more), positivity about their future prospects is running very high among Funeral Directors, with only 2% pessimistic; 11% are  ‘very optimistic’ and a further 73%  ‘somewhat optimistic’ about what the coming months will hold.

From a turnover perspective, 89% of Funeral Directors expect their income to either ‘significantly’ (27%) or ‘somewhat’ (62%) improve; 10% think it will stay the same with only 3% anticipating a decline.

Government loan schemes

Funeral Directors are equally as bullish about being able to repay their Government loans, with 90% either ‘very’ (28%) or ‘somewhat’ (62%) confident about being able to make their repayments; only a small minority (4%) are unsure.

It’s instructive to note every Funeral Director who took part in the research participated in at least one of the government-backed loan schemes.

Investment plans

Despite the skills shortage being felt in many sectors, Funeral Directors are bullish about their investment plans, with a strong response to our question ‘are you considering investing in your business in the next 12 months’ – three quarters answered ‘yes’.

Funeral Directors are largely unconcerned about accessing the funds their practice needs for investment in the next 12 months – 99% are either ‘very’ (22%) or ‘somewhat’ (77%) confident of getting hold of the finance they need.

Rising fuel and inflation

In spite of the positivity about their prospects and accessing funds, nearly all (95%) Funeral Directors surveyed expressed significant concern about the impact rising fuel prices and the increase in inflation will have on their clients’ incomes.

Lending requirements

When borrowing for general business purposes, Funeral Directors have a number of main priorities when selecting who to borrow from with the most important being ‘a lender that provides personal, face-to-face service’, closely followed by ‘a lender with the simplest online application process’.

Equipment

Filling the skills gap

Much has been said and written about filling the skills gap in the UK’s labour market – including in funeral homes - with 74% concerned about attracting employees to their business.

Tax

Tax bills can be, for many firms, difficult to afford – two thirds of Funeral Directors said they expect to need to borrow funds to pay their 2022 tax bill.

Mental health

It is well known the pandemic affected many people’s mental health, and our own research strongly supports these findings – it’s instructive to note only 2% of respondents stated: ‘during the pandemic my mental health has not been impacted’.

Diversity

Funeral Directors are also convinced about the proven creative and associated financial benefits of a diverse workforce with 92% of survey participants agreeing.