(upbeat hip hop music) – Welcome everybody to
Funeral Nation episode 69. That is Jeff “The Funeral
Commander” Harbeson. I am Ryan Thogmartin and here we are. – Here we are, man (chuckles). – You’re in sunny Arizona where it’s 90 and I’m in Ohio where it’s 20, so lucky you. – Well, we don’t have any
borders around this state, so everybody’s free to
move about as they choose. If you want to stay up there
and freeze your cajones off, that’s your deal. I’ll stay down this way. – You’re smart, you’re smart. What do we got coming
up today on Episode 69? – Hey, we’ve got a great show today. We’re gonna have a owner of a
new mortuary shipping service. Spotlight’s gonna be in Tennessee and our WTF is fresh cut ashes. Anyway, so what’s our buzz out here in the industry, my friend? Oh wait, wait, wait, before we go. – We got a title sponsor, title sponsor. – I got our boys, Jamie and the guys are getting to see them again. Well, we see them in maybe 19 days or so? – Something like that.
– Down in Nashville, yeah. So let’s roll the fast Funding Group, and C&J’s and American Funeral Funding. Let’s roll that video for them. – Hi, I’m Brad Speaks
from Speaks Funeral Home in Independence, Missouri. We’ve used a number of
companies to help us with our insurance assignments. And C&J Financial is really
heads and shoulders above what we’ve been used to in the past. Several reasons why I think
they do such a great job for us. They pay quickly so our
cash flow is much improved and instead of taking
maybe months to get paid, we typically receive our
payment within a day or two. Their website is customer-friendly and they’ve got technological tools that make it easy for our staff to accomplish their work. They do their investigating
before they dive in with a bunch of questions so that they know what
they’re talking about and are very knowledgeable. They’re easy to work with. The people are nice, very pleasant, which is important. But they also have a working knowledge of our business and
all of the ins and outs of the transactions and that’s important. For what they do, their
fee is very reasonable. It’s hard to imagine how we did this on our own without them. But we couldn’t be more pleased with the way that they treat us. – The buzz this week, Jeff, it’s really hasn’t been
a lot of shakeup newswise in the profession. But I think that’ll change soon. But however, we put out
an article this week about some funeral home
investigations in Canada. And Canadian funeral homes are kind of failing to follow rules just like funeral homes here in the US. – Yeah, I don’t get it. It’s interesting that it’s just process. Just follow step by step
process but, for some reason, we have a penchant of wanting
to make up what we believe versus what’s reality. Sooner or later, you pay a fine. The fines have gone up, I think, to over $40,000 dollars
per occurrence in the US. So, you Canadians aye, you need to get your stuff
together up there, too. This week, we’ve got this buzz brought to us by my friend,
Ellory Balcher and Aftercare. How about running that in promo? – [Announcer] Are you a funeral director who just can’t find time (upbeat cheerful melody)
to follow up (upbeat cheerful melody)
with your families? We all know how important Aftercare is, but meeting with families
and running a funeral home doesn’t leave much time for anything else. The Aftercare Card Program
is an automated program that sends out four cards plus a survey to your families during the
first year following a loss. You simply go to www.aftercare.com and enroll your family and you’re done. It literally takes about a minute and the cost is only
$20 dollars per family. Visit www.aftercare.com
today to learn more and get a free sample. (upbeat cheerful music) – Ryan now, I got a questions for you
from The More You Know Minute. This comes from Cindy in Texas, video or photo for Facebook? – Visuals are good. Currently, video gets more organic reach and 75% more engagement than photos. However, you should be
monitoring your analytics and know what your customer
set will engage with. We have some clients
that if we post video, it does not perform as
well as if we post photo. Even though the norm is that video is going
to outperform photo, you still really need
to look at your business and analyze your consumer set and see what they’re
engaging with the most. But if we’re just looking at analytics, video is gonna perform better. – Excellent answer and by the way, we’re showing the graphic
how to reach you there, at www.disruptmedia.co correct? – Yes sir, dot C-O.
– That’s it. And we’ll both be at ICCFA for any of those penetrating
questions people have, correct?
– (laughs) That’s right, Penetrating, yes.
– Penetrating, yeah. So speaking of which, our guest today is Matt Smith, the founder of Homeward Bound Shipping. Matt’s a friend and Matt is also a guy who runs Embalmers
Who Care Facebook page. So let’s roll that interview with Matt at Homeward Bound Shipping. Matt, welcome to the
Funeral Nation TV show. – Thank you. – Alright, so I can hear you there. Hey look, tell us a little about yourself and what you do in the funeral profession. – Someone should not be telling them, the world, what they do. This should be left up to somebody else, but I’ll give my best shot. I go around, I meet people, I shake hands, I create relationships, have friends. Mostly what I do, people know me for is the seminars that I give and the clinicals and
the hands-on training. So, I kind of travel the world doing that. That’s kind of fun for me ’cause it’s not too many people get to have that title. I get to go around and
see different countries. So I’m blessed along those lines, I’m enjoying that part of it. As a matter of fact,
I’m flying out to Mexico later this afternoon to
do a training program down in Guadalajara, not near the beach, I wish it were, but I know there’s gonna be a nice pool there normally
somewhere (chuckles) and get out of this misery.
– Yeah. – I’m looking at snow right now outside my office (chuckles). – Hey well, you can tell
I’m in the sun, too bad. My hands are different
colors from playing golf. – Yeah, I do that and I’m a consultant for Frigid Fluid Company. Plus, I’m an advisor, I’m on
the advisory board of a couple, well Malcolm X College in Chicago and then also consultants
for Piedmont Tech College down in South Carolina. I run a trade service in Detroit, we do right around 90 calls a month on the embalming site of things. And I’m a sales person for Frigid. And I own www.morbid.com, that’s the online e-commerce
store for funeral supplies and all that jazz. Plus I now, most recently, have started Homeward Bound Shipping, which is the national shipping company. – Yeah, wow, well you’re pretty busy. So tell us about Homeward Bound. – Homeward Bound is like the next greatest big thing for bringing loved ones back home where they need to be, that kind of in the name, Homeward Bound. We’re a national shipping company and now recently are more international. We’ve handled probably a dozen, maybe not quite a dozen, international calls since we opened. We launched at the NFDA last October and took our first call
basically November 1st. It was like midnight October 31st.
– Of course (chuckles). – And we’ve just been full steam ahead since.
– Good. – Rock and rolling. – So tell us what sets
apart Homeward Bound from your competitors. – As I’ve always said, anybody can take the death
certificate information, anybody can take the
death call over the phone. What separates us is our logo, basically in it says because quality embalming matters. And I vet all of our agents, I know them either personally,
I know their work personally or they come highly recommended from someone I know very personally. And it’s the embalmment. We have a very strong requirement through our case report
and our embalming checklist that all of our embalmers
have to go through. For each case of the embalmment, they have to go through
these basic standards, my basic standards of embalming, which I believe should be
everybody’s basic standards to be quite honest.
– I gotcha. – You know that we’ve all
experienced those shipments that come in, I’m like,
“Well who embalmed this, “the grocery clerk?” (chuckles) – Right, exactly. Yeah, it was somebody works
over in the vegetable section. So, how do people reach you, Matt, to find out more about
Homeward Bound Shipping? – They can reach me on
Facebook, of course, Matt Smith. They can reach me through
Homeward Bound Shipping LLC. online and on Facebook. They can also visit our website
which is still being built. It’s gonna be a dynamic
website, by the way. It’s gonna be fantastic. – This live action here. – That was my wife right there bringing me my passport.
– Good, she’s famous now, good for you. – She’s bringing me my
passport, which I forgot today. Homeward Bound Shipping dot com. It’s still under construction so you’re gonna get a, “Sorry,
we’re under construction.” – Sure. They can call me toll
free, I have an 800 number, if you want that, I can give it.
– Yeah. – Alright.
– Let us know. – Alright, eight six six, what is it, 866-699-7447. – Got it, yeah.
– Eight six six, six nine nine, seven four four seven. – Matt, we’re gonna close up here ’cause I know you gotta go and we gotta go find Ryan. He took off somewhere. (Matt chuckles) You started the Embalmers Who Care, so I want you to give it
a shout out to our crew which is not only informational, but quite entertaining
with that crowd in there (Matt chuckles) with the whole characters of the members. If you could change one thing about our profession right now, what would it be? – Ah, that’s a good question, that’s a really good question. Hands down, hands down, our attention to embalming. Right now, we have too
many of our professionals, and I just call it the
way it is, I really do, that care more about the dollar than the way the body looks. And the reason why I can say that is because I travel the country. I go into funeral homes
from California to New York to Michigan to Texas, and I see it consistently where the apprentices are the
ones left alone to upgrow, and they’re not being trained properly. And I’m looking at these bodies that we’re turning out, and there’s no doubt in my
mind why cremation rates and the median cremation
rates are skyrocketing. It’s because the body looks
better in the hospital dead and with their mouth opened uncleaned than they do resting inside the casket. – Wow, I don’t disagree with you and I think that we’re our
worst enemies in the business. I’ve been in thousands of
arrangements and in training and funeral directors aren’t
even suggesting to families that embalming be done before cremation. So, we’ve gotta change our mindset and go a different direction. – I will say that for those of you that, you mentioned Embalmers Who Care, for those of you that are listening that aren’t familiar
with Embalmers Who Care, it’s a closed Facebook group for embalming and funeral
director professionals only. And if you’re not a member, look us up. There’s a great networking, it’s a great way to meet
professionals like yourself. And you get on there and learn
something or teach something, because it really is fantastic. You’re right, there’s a
lot of characters on there. – There’s a lot of
entertainment too, come on now. There’s some fun stuff up in there. – There’s a ton of entertainment. And I do wanna give a shout out to one of our admins, Melissa. She does a great job
being the admin on that, so I definitely wanna
give a shout out to her. – And I have to tell ya, Melissa, you make the funeral
profession look good, girl. (Matt laughs)
I’m just saying. Anyway, thanks Matt, travel safe. We appreciate you being on here today. – Thank you guys, I appreciate you guys taking the time.
– Take care, outta here. – Great interview segment, and our interview
segment’s made possible by the great people out at Sich Caskets. They will be out at ICCFA as well, so make sure you check them out. Let’s roll that promo. – [Announcer] Funeral Nation
is sponsored by Sich Casket. Finally, funeral homes don’t have to wait to choose between premium quality and higher margins. (bouncy hip hop music) Is it a Sich Casket or one
of the top U.S. brands? Only your account can tell the difference. Visit Sich Casket or contact
your Sich Distributor. – Jeff, mister commander, this is one of our favorite segments where we really get to
highlight something great that’s happening in the profession. Can you tell us who the spotlight’s gonna shine on today? – Yes sir, our spotlight
is going down to Tennessee. And this week, we shine it on R. Bernard Funeral Services in Memphis. This is a new funeral home. Ryan Bernard bought an old bank building in southeast Memphis, and made it unusual used to keep it aesthetically correct. And he’s using drive-thru window. And you know what? I think that’s a great idea. Guest can drive through,
they can see the body, we’ve got a picture of it there. And frankly, I think, “Why not?” If you don’t like it, then
don’t drive through it. But if you do, we’re all convenient. I think it’s kind of a cool idea. – I think it comes down to whatever the consumer wants, right? And if the consumer is gonna utilize it and it’s easier for them to show respects by driving through a viewing window because they can’t make
it to calling hours, then who are we to say that it’s wrong. – That’s true. And maybe that little tube
that you send stuff through, you can send flowers up through there.
– There we go, there we go.
– (laughing) That comes from your buddy of mine, I was sharing that with him yesterday. Well hats off and a
good job, Ryan Bernard, and good luck, we wish you the best, and hey, cool idea. We’ll follow up and find
out how that turned out. – Absolutely great spotlight segment and our spotlight segments
on a funeral director was brought to us today
by Pierce Chemicals. Roll that promo. – [Announcer] Pierce is an
embalmer’s choice for fluids in over 18 hundred different
prep room supplies and stock. Visit us at Pierce Chemical dot com to learn more about Pierce. – Hey commander, you hinted at this. It’s our WTF segment. It’s where we take a humorous look at something that’s happening
or something that we see in the funeral profession. It’s really gonna make you
say, “What the funeral?” And it’s gonna be the
talk of the water cooler, talk of the funeral home. Saw this headline, Jeff, and said, “What the funeral?” – Hey dude, I’m kinda digging it a little bit. What’s getting me is
somebody is really good about putting little light. It looks like a light’s on in there. – Yeah, something. So this guy was a bigtime smoker and they was important to him, so he has a ashtray and it looks like his brand of Marlboro. – Those are Camels. The cigarette’s Marlboro
– Oh are they? – in a Camel ashtray, so he was a conflicted smoker. – Yeah the dude’s got it all going on. So that’s probably give Mrs. Commander an idea of what to do when I’m outta here. (both chuckling) Big old cigar. Gosh, I can think of some of the things that can be made out of flowers. But anyway, we’ll leave it.
– There we go, there we go. Alright, WTF segment is brought to us by the United Community Bank. We’ve got a brand new
promo video for them, so let’s roll that. – [Announcer] Shifting
trends in family choices. Expanding corporate ownership. Rising costs. The funeral and death
care industry is changing with each new year. At United Community Bank, our team of funeral and death
care lending specialists understand the need for capital, for acquisitions, expansions, renovations, equipment upgrades and more. And we make the loan application process as quick and easy as possible. – We really are a community bank at heart and we really are the
bank that service built. We do have many products that are specifically
designed for small business. And that really is a big focus of the bank and that’s an area that we
want to continue to focus on that we bring these unique solutions to small businesses. – [Announcer] United Community Bank has the industry knowledge, resources and the team in place to help make your goals a reality. (upbeat cheerful tones) – That raps up episode 69. We will be moving on to 60, no. – No, it’s 70 is after that, dude. Come on. (chuckles)
– 70 comes after 69. So, what do we have coming up next week? – You know, it’s always
gonna be something new. We’ll have a really interesting interview. And next week, we may have a
guy, I’m hoping to get him on, that’s a playwright funeral director. – Interesting, interesting. – How about that? The guy’s putting on a play, so I hope to hear back from him. And he’s an articulate,
well-spoken young man and I think that’d be kind of cool, somebody doing something different out of our business. But we’ll always have a WTF, I’ll find stuff and people send it to me I’m always encouraging, I want everybody to send me to make sure and send me positive stories. That’s the hardest part about this show is trying to get people
to share good stuff. – That’s right. – Do it, ya know?
– Excellent. – Alright so, this is the end, we’re on our way. – We’re on our way.
– And we’ll be together in a couple of weeks too, right? – Yes we will, we will be at ICCFA. You will be in your booth, I’ll be in mine and then our paths will cross as we meander around the exhibit hall. – That’s right, I will not be
in the camp ground, though. – I will be standing at the camp ground. – You’ve gotta take videos, I might show up just for the heck of it, ya know.
– Ahh. – It’ll be like going to
a museum or something. – Something.
– Yeah. – It’ll be something, that’s for sure, so. – Yeah, I think camping is like staying in an Econo Lodge with small soap and
cheap towels (chuckles). – Well, you haven’t seen my camper. – Look, with your crew, those girls, I’m sure it’s a Taj Mah Hall. – It’s glamping at best, glamping.
– (chuckles) Yeah, wow. – Well thank you, it’s another great show. – You got it. Until next time, have a great f’ing week. – We’re outta here. (upbeat hip hop music)