Ownership

Washburn & Dorsey Funeral and Cremation Service is owned by Kent Dorsey, who serves as President and Manager...

Funeral Home Ownership Issues...
In an era of people having a mindset so much directed toward "buying local" and using local businesses in some fashion, the funeral business does come into discussion with community members.

The local independently owned funeral home has been a mainstay of Rutherford County firms for a long time. They aren't hard to spot, often any locally owned funeral home on their website will make their ownership very clear in the text. Most of the locally owned funeral homes accept that most families have certain loyalties either through geography or previous use of a certain funeral home. The family is usually well decided on their choice of funeral director much as they would their physician or attorney. In this area, the native funeral directors were born and raised here, they know the community well and have contributed to the area in community service and support for their entire lifetime.

Corporately owned funeral homes usually have several distinguishing characteristics. They seem to thrive and obsess on the "numbers" and volume they do. They rarely make any reference in print advertising or their website as to their ownership - something an independently owned funeral home will make a priority to disclose to the public. Most corporately owned funeral homes advertise heavily and often make a large play for (this isn't bad - just a distinguishing characteristic...) prearranging or prepaying for your funeral. Often, they are in such a rush to gain those "volume" numbers that they will tweak their pricing a bit from family to family - one set of prices for those who pay in good faith - and one set to attract those who drive a bargain for a service. The Federal Trade Commission requires funeral homes to publish their pricing on their General Price List, unfortunately, it does not address the issue of how they might price to two different types of families. Another play some try is inflating prices on merchandise and then say, "Oh yeah, I am going to give YOU a discount!"

In all of my years of the business, a concern I have had and watched closely was insurance companies that sell preneed insurance - one thing is almost for certain - sooner or later the insurance company will sell to another or buy another company. When this happens it is hard to predict what their future business plan will look like or what you can expect from the company.
It is somewhat like that with some of the funeral homes who are corporately owned, sooner or later the possibility exists that an ownership buyout is more likely than any of the independently owned firms. I am not saying corporate ownership is all bad - just that it bears watching as to who actually owns the company and what will their future be? Is is owned by an out of state company? Do they own other firms or cemeteries and what is their reputation? If so, wonder why their advertising or website information would not willingly disclose that ownership?

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