jake-johnsonWelcome Back!

Hello and welcome to Johnson Consulting Group’s Enewsletter. It’s hard to believe that it is already 2014! At the beginning of the year, it should be a time to reflect on where our business has been, where it is now, and where we would like it to be in the future. That being said, this is the time of year for budgeting and strategic plans. We hope this newsletter provides some insight not only into how Johnson Consulting can help you, but how you can glean from our articles to make your 2014 the best year yet. Enjoy!


Funeral and Cemetery Consultants - Johnson Consulting Group

Short Survey

As with every newsletter, we have put together a short survey and plan to anonymously share it in our next newsletter. (Follow this link to take this survey…Dealing with Price Shoppers)

Last Survey Results

In the last company newsletter, we asked our readers for their input on various questions regarding their thoughts on values now, in the future, and succession planning. Of the respondents, a little over ½ thought they knew what the value of their business was. Interestingly, there was still almost ½ that did not! I find this interesting since the owner and staff in my opinion should have a keen interest on securing the owner’s most valuable asset if not growing it. We always suggest that an owner get, at a minimum, a “limited valuation” once every… to continue reading click 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 bench-marking 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
  • Real Time Reporting
  • Access to Data Anytime

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

We offer the following surverys & Coupon programs:

  • AtNeed Funeral Home Surveying
  • PreNeed Funeral Home Surveying
  • AtNeed Cemetery Surveying
  • PreNeed Cemetery Surveying
  • PreNeed Sales Lead Coupon Program

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 help ensure you pass your Pre-Need licensing courses in the following states:

AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, ND, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, D.C., WI, WV and WY

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

Company News

Johnson Consulting Group’s 2014 Summit

resortJohnson Consulting Group’s influence in funeral service continues to grow as the company’s line of services and products increases as does their client base, which will be evident at the fifth annual Summit conducted at the JW Marriott Resort Desert Ridge in Phoenix, March 2-5, 2014.

“The annual Summit allows our clientele to meet one another, and to share success stories, including projects JCG has assisted them with. We also invite prospective clients as a means of introducing them to our services, but to also collectively refine all of our understanding as to how a modern funeral business should be operated. Accomplishing this is a matter of inviting informed speakers, and an energetic schedule that challenges their thinking.” Jake Johnson, President of Johnson Consulting Group.

Building volume is fundamental to any successful funeral business today as profit margins continue to shrink from cremation and other factors. JCG addresses that challenge on a number of fronts, including Accounting, Customer Surveying, Incentive Compensation Programs, Business Brokering and much more. Many of the over 50 people in attendance have utilized JCG’s services as a means of strengthening their core businesses.

“…The 2013 Summit was another home run for all in attendance…We all know that change is not only coming, it is here and only those who embrace and welcome change and the uncertainty that comes with change have a chance to not only survive, but to thrive. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet new and interesting folks in our business and listen to the various ways they analyze the problem and their solutions. As usual, I was not disappointed with content or presentation. Both were spot on with an interesting mix of folks.” Michael Meierhoffer, Meierhoffer Funeral Home and Crematory, St. Joseph, MO”

The 2014 Summit’s roster of speakers include:

State of the Funeral Industry
Kim Ryan & Mike DiBease
Batesville Casket Company

Branding & Marketing Your Firm
John McQueen
Anderson-McQueen Funeral Homes

Social Media
Neil O’Connor
O’Connor Mortuary

Positioning Your Business For The Future: Is it time to buy or sell?
Jake Johnson
Johnson Consulting Group

2013 Trends & Benchmarks
Al Asta
Johnson Consulting Group

For additional information on Johnson Consulting Group’s services, and for an invitation to future JCG Summit conferences, visit www.johnsonconsulting.com, or telephone JCG at 888-250-7747.

Johnson Consulting Group Becomes member of the Preferred Partner Program of Selected Independent Funeral Homes

Deerfield, IL – Selected Independent Funeral Homes, one of the oldest and most respected professional associations of independent funeral homes, has invited Johnson Consulting Group to become a member of its Preferred Partner Program.

“I am excited to extend our unique service offerings to associations such as Selected Independent Funeral Homes. With our diverse list of services, we have been able to assist funeral businesses in all phases of the business life cycle” stated company president, Jake Johnson.

Jake Johnson and his family also own two funeral homes which have been members of Selected Independent Funeral Homes since 2008. Jake has also participated in selected sponsorships and speaking engagements at Selected’s popular “NextGen” Gatherings.

Under Jake Johnson’s guidance, JCG has become a total solutions funeral business consulting firm offering diverse services in all areas of funeral home and cemetery management. This is possible only because the firm’s principals, and primary consultants, all have practical funeral home management experience, either in their own family’s businesses or as operational managers with large, acquisition and consolidation companies. JCG services now include:

  • Business Brokering (Representing funeral business buyers and sellers)
  • Business Valuations
  • Loans to finance and refinance funeral businesses
  • Succession Planning
  • Accounting Services & Accounting Consultation
  • Management Consulting
  • Incentive compensation plans and monitoring
  • Customer Surveys/Sales Analysis (www.JCGPerformanceTracker.com)
  • Personal and Business Wealth Management and 401K programs
  • Business cash flow and customer service performance Improvement

To learn more about Johnson Consulting Group, visit www.johnsonconsulting.com or telephone at 888-250-7747.

Johnson Consulting Group’s 2012 Excellence in Customer Service

awardIn mid 2013, Johnson Consulting Group announced its winners of the “JCG 2012 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 2012.

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 2012 Excellence in Customer Service Awards” were categorized according to call volume.

The 2012 Excellence in Customer Service Award Winners

Category One

Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home
North Wilkesboro, NC

Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home
Phoenix, AZ

Solimine Funeral Home
Lynn, MA

Allnutt Funeral Home
Drake Chapel
Fort Collins, CO

Starks Family Funeral Homes
St. Joseph, MI

Menke Funeral Home
Sun City, AZ

Category Two

JT Morriss & Son Funeral Home
Hopewell Chapel
Hopewell, VA

Ellers Mortuary
Kokomo, IN

LaFond-Ardoin Funeral Home
Opelousas, LA

Daniels Family Funeral Services
Socorro Chapel
Socorro, NM

Bauknecht-Altmeyer Funeral Home
Bellaire Chapel
Bellaire, OH

Wilson Funeral Home
Tampa, FL

Category Three

Buie Funeral Home
Rison, AR

Defenbaugh-Wise-Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation Service
Circleville, OH

Bauknecht-Altmeyer Funeral Home
Shadyside Chapel
Shadyside, OH

Schoedinger Linden Memorial Chapel
Columbus, OH

Chapman Funeral Homes
Hurricane, WV

Cantrell Funeral Home
Cantrell, NE

Martin-MacLean-Altmeyer Funeral Home
Calcutta Chapel
Calcutta, 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.

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.

Brian Clary Joins Johnson Consulting Group

brian-claryPhoenix, AZ – Jake Johnson, President of Johnson Consulting Group (JCG) announced that Brian Clary has joined JCG as Vice President of Administration. Brian brings over 25 years of financial experience in the cemetery and funeral industry to the Johnson Consulting team.
Brian is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and has worked with The Loewen Group and most recently Aurora Casket Company on the financial side of the business as well as sales. Brian also served as the Chief Financial Officer of Prime Succession overseeing 150 plus funeral homes and cemetery locations for several years. He also has experience in the…to continue reading click here.

Karen McCurdy Joins Johnson Consulting Team

karen-mccurdyPhoenix, AZ – Mergers and Acquisitions in funeral service is a highly specialized process complicated by the fact that funeral home valuations differ greatly from other businesses. For example, the funeral home property, pre-need and professional staff may be considered an asset in one case and a liability in another. Knowing the difference is how an experienced valuation expert serves the best interest of their clients, whether sellers or buyers.

According to Jake Johnson, President of Johnson Consulting Group, “Of the many people that present themselves as M & A authorities in funeral service, there are only a few that really understand this business. Karen McCurdy, during her seventeen years with Thomas – Pierce & Company conducted hundreds of… to continue reading click here.

Thomas-Pierce & Company merges with Johnson Consulting Group

Phoenix, AZ – Thomas – Pierce & Co., who has assisted hundreds of family owned funeral homes and cemeteries with valuations, succession planning, mergers and acquisitions over the past three decades has agreed to merge with Johnson Consulting Group. “The recent death of founder Jon Thomas represents a loss of an industry visionary and icon, as well as a valuable resource for funeral and cemetery owners,” Jake Johnson, President of Johnson Consulting Group. “We look forward to continuing his legacy in the newly combined company.”

Although Johnson Consulting Group (JCG) has expanded its services to include...to continue reading click here.

Press Releases

Students Awarded Memorial Classic Golf Tournament Scholarships to Pursue Careers in Funeral Service

BROOKFIELD, Wis. — The Funeral Service Foundation (FSF) has awarded Memorial Classic scholarships worth a total of $2,000 to Lisa Jacobson and Lauren Nelson to help with educational resources as they pursue mortuary science degrees.

Lisa Jacobson, of Washington, D.C., is slated to complete her Associate of Applied Science degree in Mortuary Science from the University of the District of Columbia Community College next year. “The desire to be of service to others has always been at the center of my career decisions,” said Jacobson. “But after the deaths of two loved ones… to continue reading click here.

Screening and Hiring Manual

Research – Funeral Service Foundation

groupJohnson Consulting Group company president Jake Johnson 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.

The Funeral Service Foundation, in partnership with the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC), is proud to announce the launch of an exciting consumer education campaign, Have the Talk of a LifetimeSM.

This national grassroots initiative was made possible, in part, through a major gift from The Funeral Service Foundation, whose mission is… to continue reading click here.


Discount Funeral Businesses

Source:Glenn Gould
Chief Executive Officer
MKJ Marketing

Whenever a business model is based upon delivering a similar product or service at a reduced price, there is a question as to what factors of the full priced model must be preserved, and what can be eliminated or substituted. Although lower prices are important, it is critical that the discount funeral service operator appreciate the priority families place on a meaningful funeral service; in fact, this is the critical difference between cremation society customers and families that patronize discount funeral businesses.

Demographic research studies indicate families preferring minimal service cremation providers (cremation societies) are well educated and sufficiently affluent to afford whatever death care services they want. However, most cremation society customers place no value on service, personalization or memorialization. In contrast, families preferring discount funeral businesses place a very high priority on… to continue reading click here.

Jake Johnson- Interview with Funeral Business Advisor

Jake Johnson was interviewed by the Funeral Business Advisor regarding budgeting and cost control.

1. First, what are some of the fixed and variable costs directors have?
Assuming Directors means owners, here are my thoughts:

Payroll: Unfortunate as it may be in the payroll arena those costs such as health benefits, 401K, employee group life insurance, clothing (suits, dry-cleaning), employee recognition parties, Christmas parties, training, are all of, course, variable BUT in my opinion should be considered fixed when wanting to attract good help at a funeral home, but may not be feasible for all to do. What is interesting is that utilizing outside contractors can introduce a variable expense based on only utilizing those contractors when the need arises (removal services, embalming services, and even directing funerals), however making sure they represent your firm well is important. We typically see the payroll expense section as… to continue reading click here.

Quotes & Blogs

“When we listen with the intent to understand others, rather than with the intent to reply, we begin true communication and relationship building. Opportunities to then speak openly and to be understood come much more naturally and easily.” -Stephen Covey

“Cooperation gets teams pulling together. Staying focused on the organization’s mission ensures they pull in the right direction.” -Eric Harvey

“In all things, be willing to listen to people around you. None of us is really smart enough to go it alone.” -John Clendenin

Recent JCG Business / Clients

JCG Completed Transactions in the last 12 Months
Schmidt Funeral Home (TX)
Garden Oaks Funeral Home (TX)
Poole-Larson Funeral Home (OR)
Donald Barber Funeral Home (NY)
Nelsen Funeral Homes & Crematory (VA)
Jim Rush Funeral Homes (TN)
Haven of Rest Funeral Home, Cemetery & Crematory (WA)
Desert Memorial and Sunrise Cremation (NV)
Wheeler & Woodlief Funeral Home (NC)
Lowe Funeral Home (NC)
McHenry Funeral Home & Cremation Services (OR)
Quattlebaum Funeral and Cremation Services (FL)
Reardon Funeral Home (CA)
Anderson Funeral Home (MN)
Bower-Rose Funeral Home (MI)
Douglas and Zook Funeral Home (CA)
Brown-Butz-Diedring Funeral Home (IN)
Crawford Mortuary (CA)
Ingold Funeral Chapel (CA)
Warren-McElwain Mortuary & Cremation Services (KS)

JCG New Accounting, Management, and/or Survey Clients

Miller-Jones Mortuary (CA)
Gwen Mooney Funeral Home (OH)
Forest Lawn Mortuaries & Cemeteries (CA)
Hansen Mortuaries (AZ)
Broussard’s Mortuary (TX)
Green Hills Memorial Park (CA)
Twiford Funeral Homes (NC)
Andrews Mortuary (NC)
Coxe and Graziano Funeral Home (NY)
Stauffer Funeral Homes (MD)
Reardon Simi Valley Funeral Home (CA)
Ingold Funeral Chapel (CA)
Brown-Butz-Diedring Funeral Home (IN)
Mahn Family Funeral Home (MN)
Davis Funeral Home and Memorial Park (NV)
Phillips Funeral Home (OH)
O’Connor Mortuary (CA)
Schneider Funeral Homes (KS)
Warren-McElwain Mortuary & Cremation Services (KS)
A.M. Gamby Funeral Home (CA)
Hadley-Marcom Funeral Chapel (CA)
Thomas-Robinson Funeral Home (CA)
Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service & Crematory (IN)
Basham Funeral Care (CA)
Roberson Funeral Homes (MO)
Powell Funeral Homes (AR)
Bailey’s Funeral Home (Canada)


“Selling our company after 120 years of family ownership was a very difficult decision. Having developed a relationship with both Tom and Jake Johnson over the years made me much more comfortable in discussing my concerns openly. Their advice and counsel were invaluable in helping me reach my decision. Johnson Consulting Group’s disciplined and structured processes resulted in several very serious offers and maximized the value we received. I had been involved in both acquisitions and sales in the past, Tom and Jake proved to me the value of having knowledgeable, dedicated advisors in such an important transaction. Tom helped me put aside the emotional part of the decision and to recognize every business is faced with transition of ownership at some point. There was never any pressure for me to sell, Tom and Jake were sincere in wanting to help me reach a decision, whatever it might be. Tom made me realize he was more than a broker, he was a trusted advisor and friend, with my best interests at heart. JCG helped secure my family’s future and we are forever grateful.” – Blair Nelsen, Nelsen Family Funeral Services, Inc

“We are an extremely satisfied JCG client and have been for several years. We utilize JCG to the fullest from “Performance tracking to Accounting”. Naturally, we like to see high scores, return rates and praise, however, every so often, a family will voice displeasure. One of many ways we utilize the JCG Performance Tracker is when we give immediate attention to a red flagged survey. Families are appreciative of our sense of urgency and that we care enough to reach out and listen. This enhances our reputation of being a family owned firm who cares. This is just one way the JCG Performance Tracker has proven priceless.” – Anthony P. Guerra, Guerra Gutierrez Mortuaries

“Thank you so much for all of your help in the sale. I know these last couple of days were hectic for everyone, especially you, and we really appreciate everything you did to get this deal closed. We truly enjoyed working with you and getting to know you. Needless to say, my father is ecstatic!” – Charles S. Cho, Garden Oaks Funeral Home

If you haven’t already, be sure to join our social media sites as well. Click on these links below to go to our FaceBook, Linkedin, and Twitter company pages. We routinely update these sites with interesting articles and company news!

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Jake Johnson
Johnson Consulting Group

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