Whenever I tell people what it is that I do, I’m usually met with a smirk and a bit of disbelief.
“Wait, you’re serious? You run a company that deals with death and funerals?”
It’s true. My co-founder, Bryan and I launched eFuneral to save funeral planners time, money, and headache. We wanted to create a free service that could serve a comprehensive resource for those thinking about end-of-life. Our ultimate goal is to provide families and individuals with actionable information to make more informed funeral arrangement decisions.
Soon after I explain that, the natural next question is …”Why??”
Most times, I tell people about the story of my cousin, who unexpectedly passed away about a year ago:
My family didn’t really know where to start in terms of planning his funeral service. It’s not that we didn’t know where there were funeral homes. There were almost a dozen within two miles of where he lived, and we were familiar with several of them. Instead, we were more interested in understanding why we were to choose one over the other. Our budget was a big concern, but just as important was our desire to have a respectful service for someone who we cared about.
Being the digital native in the family, I was asked if the Internet might be able to help us make a decision and choose a funeral home. I assumed that there had to be good information online that would be helpful to us in comparing the many funeral homes in the area. I quickly learned this wasn’t the case. Sure, there were online funeral home directories along with Google – and both were good at giving me a list of funeral homes. But opening up a phone book (remember those things?) could have given me the same information. We weren’t interested in finding a simple list of funeral homes along with funeral home contact information. We were interested in understanding which funeral home would work best with our budget and which would offer the best service quality.
Again … nothing.
Because we had to make a quick decision, we just sort of picked one. The funeral home we selected was one that we were familiar with, but we really had no idea if the costs we were incurring were fair or what quality of care we could expect from the funeral director and funeral home staff. It bothered me that I was not able to make an informed funeral planning decision. How was it that for as important as a life decision as planning a funeral is and for the money we spent (likely around $10K) we just sort of picked one?
I started talking about this experience with my (now) partner, Bryan, and we both agreed that this was a huge problem that funeral planners currently have to deal with. We weren’t sure what the solution was quite yet, but knew that we had to do everything we could to solve this problem.
This passion grew after we started to have conversations with funeral directors and learned that for as much money that was spent on marketing and advertising (close to a billion dollars a year), there really weren’t any great ways for them to track whether their spend was actually bringing new families in their doors. Generally, these funeral directors were very proud of the relationships they held with families (and rightfully so), but when it came to getting the word out, especially as it pertained to their service quality, most funeral directors were uncertain whether their efforts were resulting in new business.
And that’s when it clicked. Bryan and I decided we would provide a service that helps undecided funeral planners by providing information they can use to not only find and compare funeral homes but make an informed decision - and if we can actually help funeral directors connect with undecided funeral planners – we could be onto something.
It was with that goal in mind that Bryan and I decided to quit our full-time jobs in June 2011 and pour (very) long nights, weekends, sweat, tears, and everything else we could find into building eFuneral.
We hope you will find eFuneral’s services valuable, including our funeral home comparison tool and comprehensive resource center helpful. Are there any other tools that would make the process easier for you?
eFuneral provides helpful information and support to those thinking about end-of-life.Get Started