How to Start a Funeral Business in South Africa
There is a need for the services of the mortuary business to store dead bodies until the agreed date for burial or cremation arrives. Starting your own funeral business follows the same procedure as starting any business, but you will need a Certificate of Competence. To begin, choose a business entity, i.e., Sole Proprietorship, Closed Corporation, or Private Company.
Mortuary is one of the most lucrative businesses in South Africa, and the high-yielding financial gain from the business might have been compelling enough to prompt you to set up a mortuary business, but you don’t know how to go about it, so this article will guide you provide you with detailed information on how to start a funeral business in South Africa.
So, we implore you to read on because this article discusses the information needed to guide you on how to start a mortuary business in South Africa.
Choosing the mortuary business path is a business choice that you will never regret venturing into. The chapters that follow are detailed information on starting a funeral business in South Africa.
Certificate of Competence:
Government regulations state that a Certificate of Competence must be applied to open a funeral business. Before you apply for a Certificate of Competence, you must publish two notices in two different official languages in newspapers that circulate in the area in which such premises are situated.
What you need to start a funeral business in South Africa
The following list is the basic requirements that must be met before starting your mortuary business in South Africa:
Business Plan, Market Research & Advertising
Write a good and workable business plan that covers all the elements that are part of your mortuary business.
A business will be the determining factor of your success or failure in the field of mortuary business, so a well-structured business plan will be a requirement to start your funeral business in South Africa.
This is why you have to do research into the market, speak to funeral home owners, and ask questions such as how many mortuaries are in the area. What is the cremation rate versus burials? The most important step to take is to write your business plan.
In doing research, you need to study the market in the area in which you are planning to operate your business. Services offered must be geared towards the needs of the community. Figure out what your competitive advantage is over the other funeral homes. This will help you prepare your marketing strategy, which is necessary for every business plan.
Business cards, flyers, and local and online newspapers are some of the advertising platforms that can help you sell your funeral business to the South African public.
Your research should have the ability to present you with detailed data that can help you decide on the right location to set up your business, know the available target market, and many other mortuary business-related matters.
Target Market & Location
Your choice of which target market you choose to serve will be determined by how big or small you can start.
Therefore, always choose a target market that is within your financial ability to serve.
Find a good location that is easy to find and accessible to customers, make sure the location chosen to set up your mortuary business has less competition and suits the funeral business
Zoning & Raise Structure
After you acquire a good piece of land for your mortuary business, contact the zoning department to zone your land, which will help you decide how best to erect your mortuary structure and if the chosen location suits the mortuary business.
After the zoning department approves your application to establish a mortuary at your chosen location, raise your mortuary structure in a preferred way you can afford and want to operate with.
Business Name & Business Registration
Choose a good business name that suits your mortuary business.
Always make sure that your choice of name has the potential to define the services provided by your mortuary business by the mention of it.
Apply for a certificate of competence with the local authority.
To open a new crematorium business, you would need to apply for a license through your local municipality. There is no fee, but the application requires a great deal of work and preparation on your part. Further, you will also need to contact the Cemetery Board of the local municipality as well as the Department of Environmental Health to gain permission.
Before submitting your application to the local authority, please ensure that a publication has been published in two (2) different languages in the newspapers circulating in the chosen place to establish your funeral business.
For tax registration, contact the South African Revenue Service (SARS), register for Employee Tax (PATE), Value Added Tax (VAT), and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)
As a funeral home owner, you will have to deal with various insurance providers. You must understand how funeral insurance coverage works. Your staff must know how to assist the family in claiming the policy. Other matters you must know are:
- Registration of Death.
- Purchasing of Graves.
- Canceling of Identity Documents.
- Arrangements with Church and Minister.
- Crematorium protocol.
- Health Department documents.
Hearse & Undertaker – Start a Funeral Business
Your funeral business will need a hearse that will carry out the services of transporting bodies in and out of the mortuary facility.
Hire a qualified undertaker who can keep your funeral business running at all times.
How much does it cost to start a funeral business in South Africa?
The cost of setting up a mortuary business in South Africa differs depending on how large or small you intend to operate, your choice of the target market, and many other factors.
Mortuary business can be very capital intensive to start, operate and manage which could cost in the range of R800,000 – R3 million.
Is the mortuary business profitable in South Africa?
Find out how much capital you will need and determine what infrastructure is required can only be established through research. There is no fixed formula that will tell you how much money you need to set up a business.
The amount needed to establish a funeral home depends on what you intend to offer: viewings, professional charges, and transportation expenses. Other charges may be required for cremation, graveside funerals, obituary announcements, online memorial programs, assistance in the procurement of mandatory paperwork such as death certificate permits, and so on. Every funeral home should have an itemized price list.
The Mortuary business is very lucrative when the right location and price range of services are chosen for the business to operate.
The mortuary business can produce 40-70% of invested capital within 12 months of business operation.
Best Places to Start a Funeral Business in South Africa
The following are some of the best places to set up a funeral business in South Africa:
- Close to main roads
- Near high roads
- Places far from a settlement
- Places with power supply
- An easy-to-locate and easily accessible area should be chosen for your mortuary business
How to make a successful funeral business in South Africa
Below are some of the factors to consider to help operate a successful funeral business in South Africa:
- Create a welcoming environment for the deceased family and the corpse
- Good payment plan schedule for the undertaker
- The price range of affordable services has to create a strategy so that clients return every time they need your services
Challenges in the mortuary business in South Africa
The following lists are some of the challenges facing the mortuary business in South Africa:
- High cost of mortuary business management
- The business may be capital intensive to start
Benefits of setting up a funeral business in South Africa
The following are some of the benefits gained by setting up a mortuary business in South Africa:
- Generate revenue for the government through taxes
- Creation of employment for professionals such as security personnel, undertakers, etc.
- Funeral business owners and employees benefit from the financial gains that come with the business.
- It has sustained the funeral industry
How to Start a Funeral Business in South Africa