We’re the Good Guys!

The funeral industry can be a tough profession for many obvious reasons.

People think we are just out to get their money and that we could care less about anything else.  Well, we are trying to get paid… we are a business after all, and that is how a business operates.

On the flip side, we are actually a great group of guys and gals that have made a commitment to do everything within our power to help guide a family through the toughest time of their life.  We provide all the necessary tools, and support to provide a meaningful and personalized service.

With this being said, you are still going to have people in the community or families that walk in who are just ticked off that they are paying you X amount of dollars just to put “ma” or “pa” in the dirt.

Face it… it’s simply the mindset of some people who do not see the value in what we do or the care we place in taking care of the deceased.  So to newer funeral directors reading this, please do not let this discourage you.  Let it encourage you to educate the community to know exactly what our purpose is.

I will state, “We’re the good guys… and gals!”

You will have families walk through that funeral home door, pissed at the world and directing that anger right at you, your staff, and anyone else that crosses their path.  This is not a might happen, but a WILL happen… prepare yourself!

Usually in this case it is a tough arrangement conference at first and they are may not be listening to most of what you are saying simply because their blood is boiling and they think you are the bad guy.  Use this as your opportunity to let them see your value, see your worth, and see what you can do to let them know they are in good hands!

This folks, is how we change the perception of the funeral profession.

I learned this the hard way and would get pissed at families that were pissed with me.  So basically we had a room of pissed off people getting absolutely nothing done, which is a recipe for disaster.

I never understood how people could get mad at the person who woke up at 2:00 am to drive across town to pick their mom up.

The truth is they are not mad at you.  They are mad at the situation.  Someone is to blame and you are usually the first non-kin person they come across.

My advice is to smile, put that pen down, and let them know from the get-go the things you are going to do together in that arrangement conference, so you can build some damn value in yourself and OUR profession.

Most great funeral homes and companies will have already offered you most of the advice that I am giving to you now. If they haven’t… it might be a red flag!

Our profession has changed so much that people expect and want more and it is our job to give it to them.  Every funeral director or arranger has their way of doing things, but please don’t be the one who does it the exact same way every single time.

Each family that comes into your place of business is unique and should be treated as such.  One of the hardest things I’ve learned to do is to listen from the start. This folks is what will help develop the relationship you need to properly honor and celebrate a life.

Remember, “We’re the good guys!”



Written by: Zach Carnley, CFSP

Zach is a licensed funeral director & embalmer in the State of Texas and is a founding member of Millennial Directors.


3 thoughts on “We’re the Good Guys!

  1. Zach,
    Your article is spot on for our business. We need to leave the pen and the books and catalogs on the shelf when we first meet a family and listen to them. If they are angry at the situation remember it takes a lot of energy to be mad and letting them talk releases that energy. Soon they will tire and then it is time to talk. I try to have a round table like a kitchen to talk from as there are no sides. I offer water or soda before starting as a measure you would extend to a guest.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well said Zach. Much has changed in my 43 years of funeral service but the emotions and how we react have not. A funeral director in today’s environment must listen closely to what a family discloses to you about their loved one. Only then can you properly prepare a meaningful tribute that captures a life lived. Yes, sometimes we do take the brunt of anger in the grieving process; it is then we take a deep breath and continue our ministry. I applaude you and all millennial directors who bring a new and fresh approach to a profession steeped in tradition.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow Zack, that’s great advice. I know we joke around a lot when we’re at work but when it comes time for business I believe we are both very dedicated to these beliefs. These are such wise words coming from such a young man. These are principles that I tried to use in every profession I’ve had and I know that using your advice did I will continue to do so in the funeral profession. I hope that other young people hitter getting into this profession will read this and heed your advice.

    Liked by 1 person

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