jake-johnsonWelcome back to Johnson Consulting Group’s company Enewsletter providing updates and information to the funeral professional.  We hope that you will find the content meaningful as Johnson Consulting continues to grow and enhance its services!  As always if there is anything that you feel Johnson Consulting can do for you, please feel free to call me personally to discuss opportunities.


Short Survey

As with every newsletter, we like to put together a short survey and then anonymously share it in our next newsletter.  (Follow this link to take this survey…Values Now and in the Future…Succession Planning)

Results From Last Survey

In the last company newsletter, we asked the readers for their input on various questions regards training and development.  Of those who responded, 83% said that they regularly participate in training and development programs.  55% said that they have 1 to 3 training programs they utilize in a year while the other 45% said they conduct 4 or more different training programs.  Another question asked was whether the more preferred training method was in person or online through the web.  77% of those respondents indicated that live or in-person training sessions were preferred.  Interestingly enough though, 90% of the respondents said they would be willing to utilize online training and development.  Also interesting was that 67% of the respondents said they would take the online training regardless of whether they were to receive continuing education credits to do so.  As it relates to the time in the program, most were agreeable to sitting through a 1 to 2 hour session, but no longer.

I find these results interesting as training becomes more and more of importance in funeral businesses.  Our business is changing all the time and the existence of continual improvement on our service delivery at all levels of the funeral process is critical.  I hope you will glean valuable input to this data so that you can better your programs as well.  Keep in mind that Johnson Consulting Group offers training programs for virtually every aspect of the funeral process.

You can research this library by clicking here.

This Month’s Featured Services for Johnson Consulting Group

JCG Performance Tracker™

The JCG Performance Tracker™ is a funeral customer survey and sales contract analysis benchmarking program. It provides a complete solution designed specifically for the funeral business that gives you the most insight into both customer satisfaction and sales contract analysis by each arranger, location and company.

You can begin tracking performance today with:

  • No Contract to Sign
  • Low Monthly Cost

Let our JCG Performance Tracker™ put you on the path to accountability with your staff. Know what your customers think of your funeral home and how it can be improved.

*Update: In the early part of 2013, we will additionally start offering this same service for:

  • PreNeed Funeral Surveying
  • AtNeed Cemetery Surveying
  • PreNeed Cemetery Surveying

Click here to get started!

Johnson Consulting Group’s Online PreNeed Insurance

Pre-Licensing School

Johnson Consulting Group has partnered with TesTeachers Online to create a program that will ensure you pass your Pre-Need Insurance Licensing Exam on your first attempt. Our programs have an extremely high first time pass ratio.

We offer Insurance Pre-Need licensing courses in the following states:

AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, GA, HI, ID, IL, IA, KS, LA, ME, MA, MI, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, ND, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, D.C., WI and WY with more states coming soon!

Start our on-line insurance Pre-need Licensing Program today! (Enter code “jcg” to receive 10% off)

Press Releases

Westin Pic - Summit Email BlastJohnson Consulting Group’s 2012 Summit

Johnson Consulting Group presented their 2nd Annual Client Summit recently at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, AZ. The Summit consisted of presentations from industry professionals such as Glenn Gould, Jim Starks, Jake Johnson and Tom Johnson.
Jeff Musgrove, one of the attendees from Musgrove  Funeral Homes in Eugene, OR, had this to say about the 2012 JCG Summit:

“We appreciate the invitation to attend the 2012 Johnson Consulting Summit meeting. The day and a half event was time well spent. It was a perfect opportunity to meet other owners and managers from around the country to discuss the challenges and opportunities we all experience on a daily basis. The nationally known presenters offered relevant information to assist us in improving our operations. The Johnson Consulting leadership team focuses on continuous improvement and clearly explained how each of us can better analyze our financial, market share and customer service data to maximize our effectiveness and profitability.

We have been working with Johnson Consulting since 2008. They provide consulting services (family surveys, etc) financial management and effective in 2011, accounting services to our company. Their success formula includes customer service, workplace environment, market place and financial management that uses comprehensive tools every funeral home and cemetery owner can understand and implement. Johnson Consulting has helped us focus our attention on the important initiatives of operating multiple funeral homes and cemeteries.

We would highly recommend Johnson Consulting.”

*Please watch for the invitation for the Johnson Consulting Group Summit being held February 17th through the 19th, 2013.*

Johnson Consulting Group Expands

Rapid Growth prompts new building for the Funeral Home Accounting Division.

Jake Johnson, President, and CEO of Johnson Consulting Group cut the ribbon today for their new accounting building which will house accounting staff led by Johnson Consulting Group’s CFO Berny Gaarsoe.  The building parallels their main office,  home to the mergers & acquisition team, the funeral home management team, administrative and support staff.

To read this article in its entirety please click here.

Awards Pic Johnson Consulting Group’s 2011 Excellence in Customer Service Awards

Johnson Consulting Group announced its winners of the “JCG 2011 Excellence in Customer Service Awards”. The Awards were presented to JCG client funeral homes who achieved the highest Overall Performance Scores from family satisfaction surveys sent to each family they served during 2011.

Not only have these results been critical for meaningful benchmarking, but we find more and more of our customers are taking the next step and allowing us to implement our incentive based compensation program along with these results. Combined, these are powerful tools for promoting high levels of customer services and average sales at client funeral homes.

The “JCG 2011 Excellence in Customer Service Awards” were categorized according to call volume.

The 2011 Excellence in Customer Service Award Winners

Category One

Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home
 North Wilkesboro, NC
Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home
Phoenix, AZ
Guerra-Gutierrez Mortuary
Beverly Chapel
Los Angeles, CA
Category Two
Steed-Todd Funeral Home
Clovis, NM
J.T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home
Hopewell Chapel
Hopewell, VA
Ellers Mortuary
Kokomo, IN
Altmeyer Funeral Home
Wheeling Chapel
Wheeling, WV
Bunker Family Funerals & Cremation
University Chapel
Mesa, AZ
Category Three
Altmeyer Funeral Home
McMechen, WV
Altmeyer Funeral Home
Chesapeake Chapel
Chesapeake, VA
Chapman Funeral Home
Hurricane, WV
Starks Family Funeral Home
Sommerfeld Chapel
New Buffalo, MI
Martin-McLean-Altmeyer Funeral Home
Wellsville Chapel
Wellsville, OH

Johnson Consulting Group started it’s customer survey program in 2008 and has experienced rapid growth. This large amount of data has proved invaluable to providing insight into customer needs and satisfaction. The company attributes its rapid growth based on its ability to offer the program with no contract to sign, a low monthly cost and accessibility to its management experts for interpretation and usefulness of the reports.

“Not only have these results been critical for meaningful benchmarking, but we find more and more of our customers are taking the next step and allowing us to implement our incentive based compensation program along with these results”…”Combined, these are powerful tools for promoting high levels of customer services and average sales at client funeral homes” says Jake Johnson.

If you would like to learn more about the JCG Performance Tracker™ and how it can help your firm, please click here or call us at 888.250.7747, or email us at info@JohnsonConsulting.com.


JCG Personnel Spotlight

brooks-cowlesJCG Personnel Spotlight – Brooks Cowles

For this Enewsletter, I thought it appropriate to spotlight our various field personnel that are out there every day searching for ways Johnson Consulting Group can assist Funeral Professionals in the area.  I would like to introduce Brooks Cowles.  Brooks is recognized in the deathcare industry as an authority in acquisitions and divestitures, with years of experience representing funeral home and cemetery owners in their succession planning.  Brooks is one of the longest running M&A and Business Valuation Specialists in the field, dating back to the 1980’s.  With more funeral home and cemetery owners developing plans for their businesses’ future.  During periods such as this, business owners need competent, professional assistance more than ever before.  We are very pleased that Brooks is part of our team!

His knowledge of the profession, experience in management, and background as a practicing attorney make him a value to any funeral professional out there needing help.  Brooks stated, “I know the challenges an owner faces when planning the future of a funeral business that may have been in the family for generations.  Balancing the financial, personal and community aspects requires an exacting approach and Johnson Consulting has the highest degree of specialization, resources and integrity available.  I am very excited to help our clients achieve the results they have earned over a lifetime of service. With Johnson Consultings different areas of specialization, we can provide guidance to owners that is proven by the numbers.”  Brooks is a graduate of the Vanderbilt University School of Law and has years of experience as a practicing attorney.  From 1987 through 1990 he was the Director of Corporate Development for Arlington Corporation, a funeral home and cemetery acquisition company, and then served as Eastern Regional Vice President of Thomas-Pierce & Company until 2002, when he formed his own firm.  Brooks has worked with over 250 family-owned funeral homes and cemeteries, developing succession plans and representing them in the acquisition or sale of their businesses.  Brooks has established an office for Johnson Consulting Group in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lives with his wife and two sons.  Feel free to give Brooks a call today to see how he can assist you with your business needs!

Funeral Service Insider – An Interview with Tom Johnson

tom-johnsonNon-Compete Agreements – With Tom Parmalee (Funeral Service Insider) and Tom Johnson (Chairman of Johnson Consulting Group)

Recently, Tom Parmalee of Funeral Service Insider, asked Tom Johnson about his thoughts concerning non-compete agreements.

Parmalee: How enforceable are non-competes?

Johnson: You will always have some people say that Covenant Not to Compete (CNG) agreements aren’t enforceable anyway so why bother. That is a very dangerous logic in my opinion. Funeral service is a very personal profession and oftentimes the business is tied into the person who has been there for years. This is especially true in small to medium size firms. It is one of the reasons that the public companies prefer to buy larger firms in major metropolitan areas. Those funeral homes are more of an institution and not tied to an individual as much. Regardless, to not have a non-compete in either of these circumstances is dangerous and could lead to disaster for the new buyer. It is a must in any transaction. It is enforceable.

To view this article in it’s entirety from FSI, please click here.

Screening & Hiring Manual

Research – Funeral Service Foundation

Jake Johnson (Company President) is on the Funeral Service Foundation Board.  He thought this information regarding the foundation’s screening and hiring research would be valuable to our readers.
Most professions and businesses recognize there is a “war for talent” and those who can secure that talent have a competitive advantage.  Because funeral service is a demanding profession, it is incumbent upon those who work with and for funeral directors to help them attract the best possible people to the field.   In 2007, the Funeral Service Foundation’s Board of Trustees undertook a research project to investigate the factors that keep funeral service from being a destination profession and what might be done to attract bright, talented individuals to the field.

To view this article in it’s entirety and to download the Screening & Hiring Manual, please click here.


Selling Your Funeral Home

Being experts in the field of buying and selling funeral homes and cemeteries, Johnson Consulting Group feels this article, which was in a Mortuary Management publication titled “Selling Your Funeral Home” by Douglas O. Meyer, will be beneficial to our readers.

Douglas Meyer
Douglas O. Meyer – “Selling Your Funeral Home”
Some people approach the sale of their funeral home in an almost casual manner.  They talk to their competitor, the competitor is interested and they agree on a price.  If they’re lucky, the deal works well for both of them.
Very frequently, however, this casual, off-the-cuff approach results in problems: the seller discovers (too late) his firm was worth more than the sale price, or he ends up paying more in taxes than necessary because the deal wasn’t structured properly.  Sometimes the parties later realize they don’t agree on what was actually being sold.  For example, the seller intended to keep the real property, whereas the buyer thought it was included in the sale.

To view this article in it’s entirety, please click here.


Top 10 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

With many of our readers being small business entrepreneurs, I felt that this article “Top 10 Reasons Small Businesses Fail” by Jay Goltz was of importance. Enjoy!

Jay Goltz – “You’re the Boss” at NYTimes.com

One of the least understood aspects of entrepreneurship is why small businesses fail, and there’s a simple reason for the confusion: Most of the evidence comes from the entrepreneurs themselves.
I have had a close-up view of numerous business failures – including a few start-ups of my own. And from my observation, the reasons for failure cited by the owners are frequently off point, which kind of makes sense when you think about it. If the owners really knew what they were doing wrong, they might have been able to fix the problem. Often, it’s simply a matter of denial or of not knowing what you don’t know.

To view this article in it’s entirety, please click here.

Focusing on Upcoming Tax Changes

JCG Capital is Johnson Consulting Group’s registered investment advisor company. JCG Capital has teamed up with Wells Fargo Advisors to offer personal and business investment advice. We felt the following article to be valuable to our readers.

Many significant provisions of the landmark Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001(EGTRRA) are scheduled to “sunset” (expire) at the end of 2012, which would result in significant tax law changes. If it feels as though we’ve been here before, that’s because we have; the same thing was scheduled to occur at the end of 2012, but Congress voted to extend most of the elected provisions. Will it extend them again? Who knows? That’s why you may want to consider taking steps between now and year-end that could dramatically improve your financial picture – regardless of what Congress does.

Please click on the link below to learn more about the ten questions you should consider now.

Focusing on Upcoming Tax Changes

Reflections on the “Ultimate Death Symbol”: Saying Hello on the Pathway to Goodbye

I have seen great articles from Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt. This one came across my desk and I felt it was worth sharing with the readers.

Alan with Dog Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. – Center for Loss & Life Transition

“For the first time in history, the actual presence of the dead at their own funerals has become optional, even undesirable, lest the body break the illusion of a cloudless celebration, spoil the meditative mood, and reveal the truths about grief, life and death that our thinned-out ceremonies cannot bear.”
-Thomas G. Long
I’m sure you have noticed the trend toward more and more body-absent ceremonies, which can seem more like parties than authentic funeral experiences. While historically we understood the essential, universal need to honor and affirm the life of the person who died with the body present throughout the entire funeral process, now the guest of honor is often missing in action.

How many of you frequently hear families say, “Oh, we’ll just remember her the way she was when she was alive…” or “Seeing the body is barbaric and unnecessary”? Yet I submit that there is nothing barbaric about facing the death of someone loved openly and honestly.

To view this article in it’s entirety, please click here.

Quotes & Blogs

“Change allows us to exit the comfortable and enter the improved.” – David Cottrell Monday Morning Mentoring: Ten Lessons to Guide You Up the Ladder

“A culture of accountability makes a good organization great and a great organization unstoppable.” – Henry J. Evens Winning With Accountability: The Secret Language of High-Performing Organizations

“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.” – John F. Kennedy Live With Intention: Rediscovering What We Deeply Know

Cremation Fireworks

Company News

Johnson Consulting Group’s, JCG Capital, partners with Wells Fargo Advisors

Through our Strategic Partnership with Wells Fargo Advisors, JCG Captial is able to open the door to additional levels of service to Johnson Consulting clients.  By offering access to an experienced Financial Consulting Group, backed by one of the nation’s most respected financial institutions, you can feel confident you are getting investment strategies and financial solutions that match your needs and goals.  We believe it all adds up to an exceptional value for our clients!

  • Mange your company’s 401K
  • Manage your company’s excess cash revenue and get a higher secure return
  • Access to a trusted, prestigious investment provider
  • A nonexclusive program – no commitment or obligation
  • Personalized investment guidance
  • Investment and risk management strategies
  • Diversification tied to the client’s life goals and investment profile
  • Professional money managers
  • Well-known mutual funds (no-load and load-waived)
  • Investment monitoring services and regular updates
  • Access to one of the nation’s most respected financial firms

(Call Jake Johnson today for a free consultation)

Online Insurance Licensing Training

Johnson Consulting offers online insurance licensing training and continuing education. Follow this link to view our online insurance licensing… Online Training & Continuing Education Link, and be sure to use the coupon code “jcg” to receive 10% off.

Performance Analysis Assessment

Our business improvement program involving our comprehensive Business Performance Analysis has proven to be a valuable tool to all our clients regardless of  size by improving each client’s performance in Marketplace, Workplace, Customer Service, and Financial Management. Call today for a complete review of the program.

Recent JCG Business/Clients

-Callahan-Edfast Mortuary & Cremation, Grand Junction, CO (JCG successfully engaged to provide Accounting Services)  

-Ellers Mortuary, Kokomo, IN (JCG successfully engaged to provide Accounting Services)

-J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment, Inc., Petersburg, VA (JCG successfully engaged to provide Accounting Services)

-Muehlebach Funeral Home, Kansas City, MO (JCG successfully engaged to provide Accounting Services)

-Speers Funeral Chapel, Regina, SK (JCG successfully engaged to provide Accounting Services)

-The Signature Group, Houston, TX (JCG successfully engaged to provide Accounting Services)

-Angeleno Mortuaries, North Hollywood, CA (JCG successfully engaged to provide Accounting Services, Management Services, Performance Analysis, Monthly Surveys & Contract Analysis/JCG Performance Tracker™ )

-DeGusipe Funeral Home & Crematory, Maitland, FL (JCG successfully engaged to provide Accounting Services, Management Services, Performance Analysis, Monthly Surveys & Contract Analysis/JCG Performance Tracker™)

-Schoedinger Funeral Homes, Columbus, OH (JCG successfully engaged to provide Accounting Services, Management Services, Performance Analysis, Monthly Surveys & Contract Analysis/JCG Performance Tracker™)

-Springfield Funeral Home, Kelowna, BC (JCG successfully engaged to provide Accounting Services, Management Services, Performance Analysis, Monthly Surveys & Contract Analysis/JCG Performance Tracker™)

-D’Esopo Funeral Chapel, Inc., Wethersfield, CT (JCG successfully engaged to provide Management Services, Monthly Surveys & Contract Analysis/JCG Performance Tracker™)

-Forest Lawn, Glendale, CA (JCG successfully engaged to provide Customer Satisfaction Surveys/JCG Performance Tracker™)

-Gwen Mooney Funeral Home, Cincinnati, OH (JCG successfully engaged to provide JCG successfully engaged to provide Customer Satisfaction Surveys/JCG Performance Tracker™)

Heckart Funeral Home, Sedalia, MO (JCG successfully engaged to provide Customer Satisfaction Surveys/JCG Performance Tracker™)

-Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home & Crematory, Dale City, VA (JCG successfully engaged to provide Customer Satisfaction Surveys/JCG Performance Tracker™)

-Old Bridge Funeral Home, Old Bridge, NJ (JCG successfully engaged to provide Customer Satisfaction Surveys/JCG Performance Tracker™)

-Wm Slater II Funeral Services, Pittsburgh, PA (JCG successfully engaged to provide Customer Satisfaction Surveys/JCG Performance Tracker™)

-Callahan-Edfast Mortuary & Cremation, Grand Junction, CO (JCG successfully represented the buyer)

-Basham Funeral Care, Bakersfield, CA (JCG successfully represented the seller)

-Dickerson Funeral Home, Vanceberg, KY (JCG successfully represented the seller)

-Carlisle Funeral Home, Michigan City, IN (JCG successfully represented the seller)

-Hove-Roberston Funeral Home,  Jerome, ID (JCG successfully represented the seller)

-Alaskan Funeral Homes, Kenai, AK (JCG successfully represented the seller)

-Shives Funeral Home, Columbia, SC (JCG successfully represented the buyer)

-Daniels Family Funeral Services, LLC, Albuquerque, NM (JCG successfully represented the seller)

-J.T. Morris & Son Funeral Home, Petersburg, VA (JCG successfully represented the seller)

-Elden A. Good Funeral Home, Inc., Cincinnati, OH (JCG successfully represented the buyer)

-Foreman Funeral Home, Inc. – Jefferstontown, KY (JCG successfully represented the seller)

-Shives Funeral Home, Columbia, SC (JCG successfully secured financing)

-Serenity Cemeteries, LLC, Farmington, NM (JCG successfully secured a financing)


“Johnson Consulting diligently researches every phase of an acquisition project which gives the buyer and seller the confidence they need to make a fair and equitable agreement.  Acquisitions would never happen without an intelligent articulation of all the aspects of a complex deal.” – Kevin Daniels, Albuquerque, NM 

“We would like you both to know that we truly appreciate your help and assistance with the sale of our funeral home.  We came to the little town of Manton when I was 21, fresh out of college and married for only a few weeks. We owned the funeral home for almost 43 years so parting with the business was a very big deal to us.  We knew that a funeral director in the area would probably buy the funeral home.  We consider all the neighboring funeral homes and funeral directors to be friends and colleagues and not competitors.  We didn’t want the sale of our business to jeopardize this friendship in any way and Dale did an excellent job of dealing will all interested funeral directors in a professional and friendly way.  He was persistent but not demanding and seemed to work tirelessly through may disappointments and setbacks. We would recommend Dale and Johnson Consulting 100%  and have told several other funeral directors this when asked how our sale went. Every day we are realizing new possibilities that being not tied down to the phone and responsibilities of a job are offering us.  Thank you for your friendship and help to us.” – Fred & Elaine Hall, Manton, MI

“Please accept this expression of my most sincere appreciation to you and your fine staff for the many hours expended on our behalf involving the sale of our 87 year old family firm, Don Grantham Funeral Home. As a funeral home owner and director my experience has obviously been limited to the operation of our business.  It was comforting to know that we entrusted the marketing of our business to an organization that exhibited to us that they cared as much as we did about locating the right purchaser for our business. In the midst of accumulating information, evaluations, screening qualified potential buyers, to compiling all necessary data and most important of all maintaining our desire to locate the right fit for our particular situation, your organization was outstanding in its professionalism our industry strives to achieve. Over the course of our association I never had an unanswered phone call, a question that went unresolved, prompt and prepared responses and a positive, calming attitude that shifted the enormous demands from me to your firm’s expertise. Our decision to entrust Johnson Consulting Co. with the sale of our business was by far the best decision we made.  I have nothing but the highest admiration and esteem for the services extended to our family by your organization.  Thanks for making a “hard decision,  easy.” – Jim Grantham, Duncan, OK

“When my husband, William Ready, died in 2000 I inherited 2/3 of Ready Funeral Services, Inc. and my daughter, Michele, 1/3. The business consisted of three funeral homes and a crematorium. Two years later I built a new state of the art crematorium. Three years ago Michele came to me and said she would like to purchase my shares. I contacted the Johnson Group through the assistance of a good friend, and I was put in touch with Bill Cutter whom I communicated with on a weekly basis by e-mail or telephone. By May of this year Bill had a complete proposal prepared ready to go to market. The end of the story is that my daughter now owns the business and this never would of happened without the hard work of Bill Cutter and the Johnson group. Anyone who would like to talk to me concerning the Johnson group I would be most happy to accommodate.” – Jane Ready, Burlington, VT

“In January 2010, Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes needed to refinance our funeral home in Cincinnati. The loan amount was over $1.5 million and I found in dealing with traditional banks, they do not fully understand the ebbs and tides of funeral home cash flow. After repeated meetings with many large and small banks we turned to Johnson Consulting, a specialist in funeral home financing and consulting. I contacted Kelly Herdt and he began a search for capitol. Kelly “shopped” banks, credit unions and venture capital groups. In 2010, our country was in a very harsh economic environment (needless to say), Kelly found us financing to refinance the deal. It is nice to deal with people such as Johnson Consulting and their wonderful staff, who are familiar with funeral home owner’s needs. Again, thank you for everything.” – Fares J. Radel, Cincinnati, OH

“Perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned through my journey with JCG is knowledge is important and should be gathered from as many sources as possible and on a continuous basis but timing is king. We were fortunate our relationship with JCG started many years before we seriously considered a sale. Having a business valuation performed by professionals, and unencumbered by circumstances that might dictate a quick sale allowed us the luxury to evaluate and become comfortable with every detail of the valuation and our business. Accordingly, we were able to improve business operation and its value.” – Barry Murphy, Oakton, VA