What part of its life cycle is your cemetery in? We all know there’s a sales period and a dormant period…but what about that period of time between active sales and going fully dormant? I call this the semi-active sales period. This period begins around the time the cemetery begins losing income due to a lack of the right kind of inventory remaining in the cemetery. You probably have sections in your cemetery that you would say are closed. Even though there may be residual spaces here or there which you could sell, it’s probably not cost effective to develop a marketing plan to find just the right buyer who would like one of those odd spaces. I’d consider a cemetery to be semi-active when the efficiency of selling your inventory is effected by the law of diminishing returns…basically…if you’re at the point which you no longer show a profit from lot sales after calculating the cost of resources it takes to sell the space. Using this logic, though 5% of the total inventory of your cemetery may be available, if it takes more resources to sell the remaining inventory because of poor location or lack of variety, you are effectively in the semi-active sales period.
We all want to stay in the active sales period as long as possible…that’s where the profits are. To do this you have to develop the right mix of inventory to maximize the efficiency of your dollars. Spend your resources developing more traditional burial sites than your future customers want and you may find yourself succumbing to the law of diminishing returns before you run out of inventory to sell. Develop too little cremation inventory in your new garden and you risk running out of desirable inventory before maximizing your potential profits.
The goal is to stay in the active sales period as long as possible by increasing the amount of “in demand” inventory in the cemetery while balancing the development costs and overhead cost associated with selling that inventory. To do this you need a plan…a master plan! A master plan can be filled with many things but is ultimately your vision of your cemetery in the future. What will it look like full? What is the cremation vs. traditional burial site ratio in your cemetery? Will you be building any buildings on your cemetery in the future? Will any roads need to be expanded or closed? How often will you reevaluate your MP? All of this and more should be addressed in your master plan. I’ll talk about this more in a future article…but remember..good planning can help you achieve maximum efficiency in your cemetery.