“In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash”
It was TWENTY YEARS ago and our accounts receivable were under $100,000.000. Wow! We celebrated! That was just like money in the bank. Then someone started noticing that Sears didn?t let us walk out of their store with a pair of shoes or a new shirt without paying. The sad thing was this ? no one expected that of Sears ? but the Funeral Home was supposed to offer at least 90 days to get the estate in order before asking for payment and there would NEVER be a thought of adding interest. If it was added, it was always written off as a gesture of goodwill when the bill was paid five years later ?. After all ? we wanted to serve the family again.
FIFTEEN YEARS ago some of the smaller firms like ours were aghast when the corporations posted signs in the arrangement offices informing ? ?PAYMENT IN FULL IS EXPECTED AT THE END OF THIS INTERVIEW?. For at least another TEN YEARS we were the good guys on the block and considered our ?No Payment Required for 90 Days? policy an asset. We advertised the fact in attempts to increase the business, all the while watching the corporations grow by leaps and bounds around us. Why were people still going to them? FIVE years ago the lights went on. We toyed with the ? tasteful signs in the arrangement office ? idea and had them made up ? but found putting them out difficult.
Problem number one ? we had a hard time getting our heads around the concept of asking for money right away. Were people going to think we?ve fallen on hard times? What about our repeat customers? How much business were we going to lose with this new policy? How were we going to tell people that were going to start operating like every other business in town?
Problem number two – after 40 years of being proud of our $100,000.00 accounts receivable ?nest egg?, how could we live with NO nest egg at all? Always in the past, just when taxes needed to be paid or the hearse needed a new transmission ? some lawyer would settle an estate and pay a big account ?. Ah yes ? what a concept ? accounts receivable equals nest egg. NOT!
That style of thinking was definitely a hold over from the Depression of the 1930?s. Then the funeral director accepted whatever the family had to offer in payment and was glad for the opportunity to serve. In those days ?bad debt write-offs? were taken for granted. Today?s style still nods toward benevolence, but today?s reality remains ? you will not be in business next year if you don?t get paid for your services.
What were the comments of those we dealt with after our policy fell into line with the rest of the world? In the first month, twenty customers never even noticed ? another twenty never said a thing ? five asked for an extra day ? one asked for an extra week and one complained. The revealing statement was this ? after receiving her receipt, one widow said, ?It is so nice to get this part finalized and besides, Jimmy didn?t like me charging things. Some funeral homes drag it on and on and think they are doing a favour when actually ? it is just the opposite.?
Accounts receivable ? $0.00 ?
Nest egg from accounts receivable ? $0.00 ?
Cash in Bank $$$ ? PRICELE$$ ?$$$