SAIF’s great deal for Independents

A Diamond Partnership

SAIF members have a new tool in their armoury thanks to a new partnership with The Westerleigh Group and Distinct Cremations.

The deal, struck in February by National SAIF Executive members Sean Martin, Jeremy West and SAIF CEO Terry Tennens, secures preferential rates for all SAIF members offering unattended direct cremation packages to families.

This move marks an important fight back against the current rise in online direct cremation companies. The market has been boosted by the restrictions around COVID-19 and the perceived low cost of a ‘direct’ funeral, which last year’s Church of England survey highlighted as the major motivator for consumers.

“Direct Cremation sometimes isn’t right for everybody,” says Sean Martin, Head of Operations at Peasgood & Skeates Funeral Directors. “Families are unaware that with some of the major online companies the deceased gets left in hospital for extended periods before being taken many miles away from their family for cremation. However, just 23% of families opting for unattended Direct Cremation believe that their local funeral director could provide the service – that means 77% of those consumers go straight online and do not give local family funeral companies a chance.”

The Diamond Partnership will offer families a local point of delivery and care from a family owned business that knows their community, but at a comparable price to the large online companies.

“But more importantly, this partnership allows SAIF members to compete on a local level with national online providers at a comparable price point and try to attract the 77% of consumers into their funeral homes to talk about their needs. Sometimes a simple or traditional funeral might be a better option for families,” adds Sean, “but success comes from using the Partnership pricing effectively to compete, and being on the forward foot in letting your community know you offer direct cremation via your website, social media and advertising.”

Westerleigh had initially faced resistance from members at a SAIF Regional Meeting regarding their decision to launch Distinct Cremations, which would have been in competition with Independents. It was on reflecting on that meeting that Westerleigh acknowledged the support Independents had given its group over the years, and that the sector faced a common threat from online direct cremation providers.

“Westerleigh then had the good sense and the probity to come and talk to SAIF in a meaningful and diligent way,” says Sean, “which is why we are where we are now. This is a very, very good outcome for the independent funeral profession and for all SAIF members.”

For full details go to the SAIF members’ area online.

Tags: , , , , , , ,