Outsiders probably don't realize the level of competition among funeral homes. It's difficult to stand out and get noticed. One method to give your funeral home a sense of uniqueness and character is by thoughtfully purchasing hearses.
How can a hearse help your funeral home gain more attention? The right hearse acts as an extension of your branding. For instance, although hearses are predominantly black, some funeral homes invest in fleets of pristine hearses in white, blue, or silver. Hearses also come with various custom hearse options such as roof bands, full painted tops, vinyl or half-vinyl tops, strobe lights, urn enclaves, signature interiors, and other customizations that determine the style or look of the hearse or fleet. With these options chosen, the hearses become a noticeable differentiator.
Additionally, well-maintained hearses can impress funeral home clientele, leading to stronger word-of-mouth marketing. When combined with digital advertising, referrals can encourage other families to choose your funeral home over the one down the street.
What Considerations Should You Take When Buying a Hearse?
As a funeral home director, you want your equipment investments to count. Therefore, you'll want to consider four key considerations when buying a hearse.
1. What Is the Upfront and Maintenance Price of the Hearse?
Let's talk about finances right away. Like all vehicles, hearses range in everything from the original manufacturer to their current condition, if they've been used before. Usually, you can expect to spend about twice the amount on a hearse as you would on an average car. Again, though, the bottom-line cost can vary.
Most top vehicle dealers that offer hearses can help you with financing in case you aren't ready to write a check for the whole amount immediately. Interest rates remain low, so you can probably get a good deal on a long-term loan. On the other hand, you may want to lease your hearse instead.
Just remember that the cost to buy your hearse will include maintenance, repairs, and normal wear and tear.
2. How Easy Will It Be to Use the Back of the Hearse?
Every hearse is built to accommodate a normal casket. However, hearses use different mechanisms to help you and your team maneuver caskets in and out. Case in point: Some table extensions are manual. Others are electronic and move at the touch of a button. Both will work, but the second one might make the funeral process even more seamless.
The back of the hearse can also be a good place to store flowers and urns, but only if it's been carefully designed. You don't want anything to shift in the hearse once you're on the road, so it's important to look at the functionality of the hearse's rear compartment.
Don't just take a hearse for an ordinary test run, either: Put it through the experience of loading and unloading a sample casket. You'll know right away if it's a good fit for your needs.
3. Are the Lighting Fixtures and Features What You Need?
Hearse manufacturers are experimenting all the time with different kinds of lighting fixtures, and many offer custom hearse options. Lighting is a critical element to your operation, especially when you have to work in dark conditions like at dusk or in the evening.
What kind of lights are best suited for the function of a hearse? To be fair, anything can be appropriate depending upon your needs. For instance, LED lights on the interior and exterior can increase the visual appeal and functionality of your hearse, as can fender strobes and 360-degree strobe options.
It's a wise idea to look at the hearse you might want to buy in various settings, including examining it at night or in a dark room. Are the lights up to your standards? Or would you like something more distinctive? Be open with your hearse sales representative at the dealership. You never know what's possible until you ask.
4. Is a Used Hearse Going to Last as Long as You Need It to?
When buying a hearse that is used, always pay attention to the mileage. Many funeral homes use their hearses lightly. This means you can sometimes snag a low-mileage luxury model at a particularly attractive price.
Don't be afraid to purchase a hearse with middle-of-the-road mileage, though. As long as the hearse has been kept up, it can seem like new. Your goal is to pick a used vehicle that gives you and those you serve the best of all worlds.
Of course, if you can't find a used hearse, you shouldn't be afraid to explore the latest models from hearse manufacturers.
Buying a hearse built to turn heads doesn't have to be hard. Take your time. The right one could be as close as your local hearse dealership. And if you need more information, send us a message.