Not too long ago I wrote an article 'The InvoCare Share' about how much of the industry InvoCare really owns.  After much research, questionable numbers and a bit of guessing and discussing it with others I came to the conclusion that InvoCare does about 25% of all national funerals.  Not the giants people think them to be.  However InvoCare does about 50,000 SpY (services/funerals per year) while the next biggest company does about 6,000 SpY.  Thus while InvoCare does not own as much of the industry as people think they are by far the biggest single company.

    This then lead to a few questions from people about InvoCare, how good they are, how they treat bodies and funerals as commercial objects and so on.  So I decided to write a little post on what I think of InvoCare.

    To me personally InvoCare is not an evil corporation.  Rather they are a funeral home with its place in our society.  InvoCare offeres packaged, processed and efficient funerals.  You get what you pay for with InvoCare (for the most part, more on that in a moment).  They own several brands and each brand focuses on a certain area.  For example Simplicity focuses on cheap easy funerals, Guardian focuses on fancy and traditional funerals and White Ladys focuses on the gender of staff.  This is just three out of their long line up, but you get the idea.

    In doing this InvoCare does not limit diversity, a big issue many have with InvoCare.  Rather they do the opposite by offering not just funeral but whole funeral homes focused on different things.  Each funeral home has its own colours and theme (eg: Simplicity is blue with silver cars while Guardian is green with black cars).  Each funeral home has its own price ranges and individual services, they have different styles of coffins, different cars, different staff uniforms and so on.

    Now it is true that the staff themselves are interchanged a lot.  The same person might work a Simplicity funeral, then a Guardian funeral all in the same day.  This is the case behind the scenes, that they share things and people do not necessarily get what they pay for.  For example, White Ladys sell their funerals on the premise that all staff are female and wear white.  Despite this the body might be processed and coffined by all male staff as InvoCare use the same processing centers for all bodies.  This means that people might pay for an expensive funeral with White Ladys (they are one of the most expensive funeral homes in Sydney) on the idea they are getting all female staff and high quality staff.  Then behind the scenes the body and coffin are processed by the same people as the Simplicity funerals, a much cheaper funeral home.

    The other thing with InvoCare is they do not focus on the quality of service.  I will be frank here, InvoCare does not care how good a funeral is, they care about how much profit was made.  Now, they do not compromise on quality deliberately, they do not want to do funerals badly.  But their system means training is not up to scratch.  Things are not done perfectly or properly on the funeral.

    An example of this is what I noticed at my grandfathers funeral (which was with Simplicity).  I saw that they did not turn the coffin correctly, they were quite shabby with how they turned it.  A specific thing is that the conductor only used one hand to turn the coffin while not even facing it.  Nor did they turn it with as much reverence as should be expected.

    Here is the important point, only I noticed.  Talking with people afterwards I found nobody else noticed or minded.  Indeed this is the case for those who are not familiar with funeral.  Another more famous example is footage of people carrying Eddie Mabo's coffin.  I notice they carry his coffin head first, which is the wrong way.  A coffin should always travel foot first.  Yet again, despite the footage being famous and people watching it a lot there is no comment of this, nobody noticed or cared at the time or now.

    This is the thing with InvoCare, to those who are not familiar with funeral they do a decent job.  It might not be perfect, but it is decent and good.  This is why I have no issue with InvoCare and would actually recommend them to certain people.  Those who are familiar with funerals and do not want this type of service are generally the ones who already know about funeral homes, and have picked the company they want out or have some idea.  Those who have no idea about funerals (which is most people) will have no problems with the service from InvoCare.

    InvoCare does not offer the best funeral, nor do they really try to (despite what is said).  They aim to do a decent funeral and in that they often succeed.  For those who want a perfect or high quality funeral then InvoCare is not the company to go with, for everyone else it is fine.  As I tell people, InvoCare is the McDonalds of the funeral industry.  What they offer is not amazing, but it is decent value for money (in most cases) and decent enough.

    On a side note; I will also say that InvoCare pushes OH&S like no company I have worked for (or heard of).  They do not just implement OH&S but understand it and more importantly want it.  They want their workers to be safe, not only does it save money but it is their attitude.  InvoCare might fire people or move people coldly without hesitation but they are not mean or cruel.  Everyone I talked with in InvoCare was approachable, nice and a decent person.  Their training sessions are excellent, fun and informative and their Christmas party was a blast.  As a few different people have said, InvoCare actually listens to its staff and they do not care about the cost or difficulties when it comes to OH&S or customer satisfaction.


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