InvoCare - A description and discussion

    InvoCare is without doubt the largest funeral company in Australia.  As such everyone knows of InvoCare, and talks of them quite regularly.  I have found it is almost impossible to talk for any length about the funeral industry without mentioning InvoCare.

    Despite this not everyone knows much about the company.  In fact many know quite little, even some of InvoCare's own employees.  So I decided to answer a few questions and misconceptions at once in one post.  Here I discuss the company and summarise everything I know and think of InvoCare.

     InvoCare has a rich history which has significantly influenced how others see the company and how the company sees itself and others.  It would be inappropriate to discuss InvoCare without a short summary of its history.  The history below is a summary of a variety of sources, such as books, magazines, discussions and so on.  Specific dates have been avoided as different sources give different dates and I don't have time to verify them.  Plus it does not matter or impact on anything.

     In the 1990s two large American funeral companies came to Australia.  Service Corporate International Australia (SCIA) and Stewart Enterprises.  Both companies bought many Australian funeral homes (mostly in the capital cities), and began to modify them to a more American method.  This caused a back lash, many Australian's did not like the idea of 'foreigners' owning or operating in the funeral industry.  There was also a negativity towards "large corporations owning" the industry.  We see this attitude with many products, but it had almost racist and agressive tones here.  Even to this day books refer to the SCIA's arrival as an invasion, calling SCIA "the raiders".  SCIA focused its efforts in NSW, buying 75% of crematoriums and most of the big name funeral homes within a few years.  Stewart Enterprises focused its efforts on QLD.

    However, within a decade both American funeral homes had gone.  This was because of a change in the international economy and the negativity of foreign funeral homes.  Stewart Enterprises was sold to Queenslanders and became Bledisloe Holdings.  In 2001 SCIA was sold to a consortium (lead by Macquarie Bank), renaming the company to InvoCare in 2003.  Since then it has grown slowly but steadily into the company we know today.

    This is how InvoCare came to be, an odd and controversial history for a funeral company.  InvoCare continues to evolve, always keeping up with changes in society and the industry.  In a few years there might be even more notable history to the company.

    One thing that makes InvoCare different from the rest of the industry is that it is a true corporation, comparable to others such as Woolworth's.  Part of this is that InvoCare has centralised and consolidated a portion of its process.  For example, in Sydney they use three main places to do most of the work.  Just about all the behind the scenes work is carried out at these places.  It is where the cars are kept, the bodys are prepared, and so on.  The lots of little InvoCare funeral homes are mostly shop fronts, displays and interface for the public.

    Some dislike this, but as I explain below the InvoCare system is not really a bad thing in and of itself.  How we see it and use it determines if it is good or bad.  But for the most part InvoCare use it in a good way.  It means they have a more direct control over standards and keeps costs down for the company and the customer.

Paranoia & Secrecy:
    This is something which grips most of the industry.  Many funeral companies are worried about public perception of the company.  Because invoCare was created in such a hospital climate (which still continues) it is slightly more paranoid and secretive than other funeral homes.

    Take for example the numbers for InvoCare.  They are incredibly difficult to get, and InvoCare is the worse source for numbers about the company.  While the company keeps good records it does not release them.  The company is evasive even with their own employees and in their own magazine, Involve (which is a good magazine, but more on that later).  Number change depending on the topic, making them inconsistent when compared and thus impossible to put together to for an image of the company.  Some have argued that InvoCare does this to be deliberately deceptive.  To hide and conceal what they are doing.  I would disagree with this idea, InvoCare is being evasive, but not deceptive.

   These constant attacks and InvoCare's paranoia have shaped the company language and interactions.  The best example is of the Rookwood Gardens Crematorium tour and the Involve magazine.  The Rookwood tour itself was quite good, informative and fun, everyone had a good time.  But it was impersonal, it was a presentation instead of a tour.  InvoCare wanted to open its doors to the public, it wanted to show people how the crematorium operated and what it was.  But then it tried to do so with a sales speech, and not because InvoCare was 'selling' to the public.  The company just doesn't know any other way.  A sales speech is what they do (and they do it well).  This is also present in the Involve magazine InvoCare puts out.  It is a good magazine, a fun read, but not very descriptive of the company.  It feels more like an Ikea catalogue  except instead of furniture it talks about funeral brands.  It uses their community work as validation for why they are good.  I would give this magazine out as part of the sales packages, not as something for employees or those interesting in InvoCare to read.

    It is strange, because InvoCare has nothing to hide and yet it is vague and illusive anyway.  I have described how InvoCare operates to people, most do not mind.  Most think it is perfectly fine.  If InvoCare was more honest about how it operated, with descriptions and pictures of the back areas, I think they would lose nothing.  If anything it would alleviate concerns about the company and might even help improve their image.

    InvoCare is secretive because it worries with others think.  It is constantly attacked anyway, letting new information get out might only give others more to attack them with.  So they resort to vagueness,  not to conceal themselves but to protect themselves.

Control over the industry:
    A while ago I write a post on the InvoCare share, how much of the industry InvoCare controls.  Basically I found InvoCare only does about 25% of all funerals across Australia each year.  Even in NSW (their strongest state) the company does about 30% of the funerals each year.  Not exactly as much as many might think.

    InvoCare does own many of the cemeteries and crematoriums in NSW (14 in total) and several around the country.  They also own companies in New Zealand and coffin manufacturers such as LifeArt.  This means that while InvoCare does not do directly as many funerals as many assume, they are still a part of a lot of funerals.  A funeral might not use an InvoCare funeral home, but then uses an Invocare crematorium or coffin.  Furthermore InvoCare is heavily into the pre-paid market, so their share is only set to grow with time.

    If you read into the history of the funeral industry it quickly becomes apparent that companies do not dictate changes.  Society changes and the funeral industry follows.  Yes, the industry influences the perception the public have of it.  But the funeral industry does not dictate or even direct how we see and conduct funerals.  As such InvoCare would not be 'controlling' or 'shaping' society or the industry as many think.  InvoCare might have an influence, but it does not have control.

The Big Three Common Complaints:
    InvoCare is the target of a lot of criticism and for a variety of reasons.  Some of this criticism is quite legitimate, but most of it is off topic and borders on childish.  I have broken the irrelevant criticisms into three main categories so I dan demonstrate why they are illegitimate concerns.

    This is one of the more common issues people have with InvoCare.  It is also the least applicable to other funeral homes.  As far as I can tell InvoCare is Australian, with only about 20% still being owned by SCI.  I question this number, the book I got it from is very bias and anti-foreign and anti-InvoCare.  However all evidence I can find points to InvoCare being owned mostly by Macquarie Bank.  Furthermore while bias in its language the book does stick to truth and sound figures.

    From this I conclude InvoCare is Australian (not that I am sure what that means).  It is more Australian than Kraft (who own Vegemite) or Arnotts.

    But if InvoCare was American it would not matter one bit.  The first complaint people have of InvoCare being American is that all the profits go overseas.  Even if the company profits went to foreign investments this would not matter.  The important thing is where the paycheque goes.  InvoCare employ hundreds of Australians around the country.  These employees then go and buy stuff with their money, from rent to food and thus support and stimulate the economy.  It is employee wage and spending that creates demand and supports the economy.  Big companies like InvoCare might move million in a single go, but the employees distribute more and spread it everywhere.  So even if InvoCare profits go overseas they are helping the economy and employ lots of Australians.  The second issue with InvoCare being foreign is in the procedure.  Many dislike the idea of "foreigners" influencing "our" way of doing things.  This is simply pointless as InvoCare does what it does the way it does regardless of nationality.  American or Australian would not have too much impact on how the company operates here.  More over I honestly think this second issue is rather racist.  To completely dismiss someone on their race is discrimination.  This is no different for a company, to be negative of it just for not being Australian is racist.

    Another reason I find the 'foreign' issue pointless is we live in an international world.  And we always have.  Many argue that only recently has the world been global, that globalization is a new thing.  This is a superficial and short sighted view.  Perhaps the world was not truly 'global', but it was always international.  Think of the Silk Road, or the Indian Ocean Trade, both are older than the Roman empire and connected many countries.  Chines silk was in Egypt before Britain was created.  Another example is of the humble pencil.  The pencil is an international product, it could not exist without global trade.  The graphite is mined in one country, the wood is cut in a different country and it is assembled in another country then shipped around the world.  International trade is not only old but essential.  The funeral industry should be no exception to this.

    The strangest criticism of InvoCare is to do with their corporate nature.  How the company is only in it for profit, that it does not care for the deceased and how employees are just products, not people.

    Many have a romanticised a nostalgic image of small or past funeral homes, how they were in the industry to do good, to serve the people.  I define nostalgia as a longing for a better past time, place and/or way that never was.  This fits perfectly with how many see the 'old' funeral industry (and where i got my definition from).  Firstly, the funeral home is not an old thing.  Funerals were organised and carried out by family (most of whom were women) before WWI.  The funeral home is a new thing, a twentieth century business created after the Great War (1914).  Funeral homes were created from businesses, not from services, carpenters and other similar businesses decided to focus on funerals.  In other words the funeral home was born of a business.  Designed to improve profits for that business through focusing on a specific and growing market.  To say InvoCare is the only funeral home going for profit, or that past funeral homes did not focus on profit, is absent from reality.  All funeral homes are businesses, and always have been.

    I find no issue with this, the desire for profit.  It is something that comes up in the academic world.  People argue that universities should not 'sell' or "focus on money".  These people think the point of the university is to educate, to enlighten.  But lecturers are not free.  The university sells education, education is a product wrapped up, marketed and sold to customers.  Much like the funeral industry does with funerals.  Let me put it this way, would you work a full-time job without pay?  If not then why expect a funeral home or any other company not to get paid and thus pay the employees.  I have bills to pay and need a paycheque to do so.

    Another part of this 'corporate' criticism is the questionable methods of InvoCare.  I hear many rumours about the things InvoCare get up to.  How they push sales, how they do things on mass and cheaply, and so on.  Many rumours are obviously untrue, just mud throwing by rival undertakers.  But even if true this does not change anything for me.  A corporation makes mistakes, it is too large to monitor everything and thus creates a cold but efficient machine.  I talk more about this below, but for now I will say while some things are bad most things are acceptable.  Actually some of the dirty tactics I hear used are quite impressive and creative.

    People have also said how this corporate system of InvoCare's is getting rid of services, that mourners are suffering as a result.  Again, if anything the opposite is true.  InvoCare keep costs down through their mass-production style system.  InvoCare profit margins are very tight on most funerals (from what people tell me).  They do not make much per funeral in most cases, but do so many funerals regularly that they make a large overall profit.  Funeral costs have risen since InvoCare appeared, and many accuse InvoCare of raising the prices.  But I would question this, perhaps InvoCare has encouraged prices to rise, but they would rise anyway.  Everything costs more now, but we also get paid more.  I posted this funeral bill from the 1981, the total cost of the funeral was only $1062.80.  To directly compare this with modern funeral prices is inaccurate and inconsistant.  There are too many reasons to list why prices have changed.  Costs such as fuel (the funeral industry guzzles a lot of fuel) have risen.  Another possible reason is that the value of the dollar has changed, wages are noticeably higher than in the 1980s.  These are just to quick and simple examples, my point is the blame InvoCare is to only look at a tiny part of the picture.

    At the end of the day all funeral homes are companies.  There is nothing wrong with this, InvoCare might be bigger and sometimes colder than other companies.  But it is not that different from other funeral homes in this regards.

    The final criticism is to do with the dominance of InvoCare.  Many in the industry talk as if only two types of funeral homes exist.  InvoCare owned funeral homes and non-InvoCare owned funeral homes.  Again this is not accurate of the industry.  My research finds InvoCare only does 25% of all funerals in Australia, their highest area is 30% in NSW.  While these numbers are not exact the point is that InvoCare does not do most funerals as many would assume.  However the next single biggest funeral company does less than half of the funerals InvoCare does per year.  This means that InvoCare is by far the largest company in the industry.  But it is not the only company, and not even responsible for most funerals.  We should not view the industry as a dichotomous system, with only 'InvoCare' and 'non-invoCare'.  Rather we should see it as a very diverse and fragmented industry.  There are so many little companies out there doing more between them than InvoCare does.

    Having said this, InvoCare does dominate the industry, but not in the way many think.  It is impossible to discuss the funeral industry and not talk about InvoCare.  This one company completely dominates all discourse of the funeral industry.  Which is why I talk about InvoCare so much more than other funeral homes.  The other funeral homes are interesting, and relative, but I would probably have to talk about InvoCare anyway so I might as well focus on them and save time.

    I should also say a little more on this topic.  InvoCare might not dominate now, but it is big in the pre-paid and insurance side of the industry.  I have not looked into the numbers for pre-paid funeral or funeral insurance.  Yet I suspect InvoCare owns a large portion of this area.  Which means InvoCare is only going to get more and more of all funerals as time goes on.  Also, InvoCare owns more than just funeral homes.  They own cemeteries, crematoriums, coffin manufacturers, and so on.  Some sources say InvoCare owns 75% of crematoriums in NSW (they own 14 according to the InvoCare magazine). Even if a funeral goes through a non-InvoCare funeral home there is a good chance that they still use InvoCare in some other way.

Actual Issues:
    These are three issues I do have with InvoCare.  Some I regards as quite important, but many are trivial concerns.

Cold & Impersonal:
    This is not really InvoCare's fault, although they could do something about it.  But basically InvoCare can be rather cold and impersonal.  It would be difficult for the company to do a personal funeral (but not impossible).

    The company is so large, so efficient, that it loses sight of the individual funeral.  Things become numbers and statistics rather than names and faces.  There is nothing wrong with this in or of itself, but it leads to a cold climate.  I will break this down into two main groups, first staff then customers.

    Staff have commented on how the system is a production line, which makes them feel disconnected. The processing of bodies borders on a mass-production factory according to some.  One even described it to me as "an assembly line".  Then InvoCare use a "shared services model" which involves moving staff about as needed.  For example, staff might be based at the North Sydney branch, but then be told they are working at the Western Sydney one from now on.  I do not know how often staff are moved like this, or how permanent or temporary it is.  But I do know staff do not like it, in discussions they focus on how they feel about it rather than describing it.  Which to me indicates that it is a bit emotional and personal to them.  I also get the impression that staff feel like pawns, moved about on a chessboard at a whim.  Not only are they moved, which might ruin their commute, but they have to learn new people and new systems.  It's like starting a whole new job.  Between this and the production style of InvoCare staff have commented on how impersonal and mechanical it can feel. 

    The next part of this cold nature is the mourners, or 'customers'.  Some mourners have told me how impersonal it all way.  The InvoCare staff were nice, sympathetic, did a good job, and so on, but there was little to no connection.  This is actually the biggest criticism I hear from mourners about InvoCare.  It is a reason some chose to not go back to InvoCare.  One mourner told me how with the first funeral they used an InvoCare brand.  The funeral was fine, but they felt nothing really from the funeral home.  So for the next funeral they deliberately chose a smaller company and were much happier.  I am not saying all small funeral homes are better or more personal.  Just that InvoCare can be impersonal and distant with customers, which does not do them well.

    InvoCare focuses on efficiency and profit, which is fine, but does not do so with quality.  I have seen the staff make mistakes on funerals, obvious things.  The best example is with my grandparents funeral.  At both my grandmother's and grandfather's funeral the staff made obvious and avoidable mistakes.  I am not complaining, overall it was a good funeral and if I wanted to complain I would contact InvoCare by email.  I know they would read it and see what they could do.  I only talk about these mistakes as they are relevant and informative.  I am describing, not complaining.

    My point is that InvoCare staff make mistakes that should not happen.  It is not their fault, the blame should rest with the company and the way staff are trained.  Unfortunately the InvoCare system does not make much room for improving in the quality of staff.  Staff are not rewarded for doing a better job on a funeral.  There is actually no measure for personal improvement within InvoCare that I can find.  As long as you do the job well enough and get the numbers then everything is fine.  Thus there is little encouragement to do better, to improve.

    InvoCare just cannot focus on quality funerals as they are now.  Which is a shame as they do not need to be perfect, or even better.  Just have more encouragement and reward for better performance.

    The White Lady Funerals facebook page. would question my criticism of the cold and impersonal nature, and the quality of the company.  The page is filled with comments about how nice and caring the company and staff were.  This does not refute or even contradict what I said as I maintain that InvoCare do good funerals in many cases.

Lack of Information:
    I must admit this is possibly more a research complaint than legitimate critique.  But InvoCare is incredibly difficult to get to know.  Yes, I know more about InvoCare than other funeral homes, but it has taken so much work and time.  It took the better part of two weeks to work out roughly how many funerals InvoCare does compared with the rest of the Industry.  In contrast Lady Anne told me they do about 200SpY, quite openly and outright.  There was no hesitation, no vagueness like I get with InvoCare.

    Because the company is so difficult to learn about this only adds to the cold and impersonal issue.  InvoCare is a decent company, which I outline in detail just below.  But it is hard to know this, hard to understand the company.  In just a few days I got a better feel for Lady Anne than I have currently for InvoCare.  And I worked for InvoCare as well as spent almost a year studying them casually.

    InvoCare must have some amazing manuals and information buried within the company.  I have heard rumours about the stuff they have, and with their quality training I do not doubt these rumours.  If InvoCare would share this information with others everyone would be better for it.  I would love to see Involve include a 'how to & tips' section on the funeral industry.  Things like how to drive a mourning car, or tips for doing a certain religion's funeral.

    Information and knowledge should not be hoarded to oneself.  That is a part of why I started the blog, to share what I learnt about the industry with others.  The funeral industry needs to read more game theory and help each other out more.  Through mutual-collaboration everyone could achieve a lot more.

    InvoCare has a strong online profile, except with its cemeteries and crematoriums.  The funeral home websites are good, informative and useful for getting a feel for the company.  However the cemetery/crematorium websites (except for Northern Suburbs) are quite lacking.  In my 'An Inside Look' series I describe the InvoCare cemeteries/crematoriums than their own website.  Take the Pinegrove one for example.  There are no pictures or descriptions of Pinegrove on the actual website.  I had someone tell me they never knew there was even a crematorium there.

    This is an issue with the rest of the industry as well.  They might have a decent website, but don't realise the point of the website.  It should be a virtual shop front and book all in one.  A place to learn about the company, what they offer, what they are like, how to contact them and so on.  You learn little of this with the Pinegrove website, which could be fixed by something simple, like a photo gallery of the grounds.

Positives About InvoCare:
    I do like some things about InvoCare, they are not all bad and actually have a lot going for them.  So here are four things I like about the company, and why I recommend them to others (including my own family and friends).

Decisive & Proactive:
    I would not describe InvoCare as a 'wait and see' type of company.  They are not reckless, but they do things, they do not just debate and discuss but actually put things into motion.  InvoCare is a company which gets things done, and I respect them for it.  While many sit and wait InvoCare tries.  It is a company always progressing forwards.  As can be seen by their strong online presence and unique marketing.  Other funeral homes have been hesitant to market, instead InvoCare is taking advantage of the changing culture.  Which is inadvertently bringing funerals and death to a public sphere, something I really support.  Bringing these things back to the public will only improve the industry for everyone.  It might not be InvoCare's goal, but they are accidentally doing a bit of good though being so proactive.

Safety, Training & Harassment/Discrimination:
    Without doubt InvoCare has the best OH&S of anywhere I have ever worked.  This company takes safety seriously, not just preaching but also practicing.  They have spent serious money on things which were not necessary.  All to make it just a little safer for staff.

    I participated in a one-day training session while working for InvoCare.  It was such a great day, fun and actually useful.  Often company training days are kind of pointless, they feel more like the company is ticking boxes and not actually teaching staff.  The InvoCare training was nothing like this, it was actually useful and I came away much better for attending.  InvoCare should open this training day (and others) up to others.  Other funeral staff and the general public could benefit from their training.  While other funeral staff might know what they are doing an alternative perspective couldn't hurt.  They might pick up something useful or interesting.  It would also be good for others outside the industry to be more involved and learn about it.  To learn how things are actually done and see the industry outside a 'grief' or 'death' framework.  I had so much fun and learnt so much in just one day.  And I got to meet other InvoCare staff which was nice.

    InvoCare takes harassment and discrimination seriously.  People have told me how complaints of this nature are not ignored or avoided.  InvoCare will listen to everyone and take action.  InvoCare is not prejudice against anything like gender, sexuality, race, religion, etc.  They would not limit or fire an employee for something like this.  With this regard InvoCare is quite open and tolerant.  However, and this is a decent however, InvoCare can border on the ageist.  This is very typical of the rest of the industry as I have found so far.  Funeral homes (and senior staff) regards 'young' people as "not as mature" or "not as sensitive" as older people.  Almost everyone I talked with who is under 30 has faced notable ageist attitudes or outright discrimination.  This is not confined to InvoCare, so I do not hold it against InvoCare.  It is an industry wide issue, not a specific company.  Yet the individual companies make up the industry.  And again, InvoCare might not actually discriminate against everyone just because they are "young".  The company employed and trained me after all, treating me as an equal employee.  Despite their view that older people are preferable to younger ones.

    I'm not saying harassment and discrimination never happen at InvoCare.  Just that InvoCare has a very good system in place to deal with these issues and takes them seriously.  InvoCare is very approachable (for staff and customers) in many ways.

    Unfortunately i do not name names on the blog or to others.  But if I could I would have a whole post about the InvoCare management.  They are genuinely good people, worthy of a compliment.  Not only do they do their job very well, but they care.  A big reason InvoCare has such good standards and OH&S is due to the management.  They care about the company and the staff and have spent both time and money looking after them.

    I have heard stories from a few ex-Invocare employees about how the upper-management helped them personally.  They had an issue with something, and the upper-management actually listened to them.  At the company christmas party I was surprised by how many 'high ups' knew my name and about me.  I might have felt like just a number to InvoCare, but I never felt this way with the management.  They always acknowledged me as an individual.

    The upper-management is not perfect, I have heard some negative things about them.  Yet this was the best corporate management I have interacted with.  They are good people who really do care about the staff, company and customers.

    InvoCare meet and exceed every law and regulation in place.  They employ a very strict and decent standard throughout the back area.  The back areas to InvoCare are always in good order, and the procedures (which are followed) are good.  The tree images below are a good illustration of this.

    These pictures were taken at the Rookwood Gardens Crematorium tour of the back areas.  I have seen this place during a regular work day, and it is just as clean as during the tour.  Maybe they tidied up a bit, as in put away some tools.  But they did not clean up for the tour, it is always this clean.  This goes for their mortuaries, they are clean and organised.  The last image is of bins, which are all clean and shiny.  Clean bins is usually a good indication as it is something many overlook but use regularly.  Bins get used regularly but are very rarely cleaned.  To see clean bins is generally a very good indication of an actually clean place.

    The standard behind the scenes at Invocare is high, and constant.  It means I will never worry about or doubt the back area of InvoCare.  Which is a big reason why I recommend the company.  I know what I am getting in every funeral home or crematorium they own.  Which was great for a funeral in another state.  I know almost nothing about the QLD funeral industry, I had no idea which funeral home to pick or why.  So I recommended InvoCare as I knew what I would get and what to expect.  InvoCare might not be perfect, or even 'as good' as other funeral homes.  But they are decent, respectable and consistent, even behind the scenes.

    This is the magazine InvoCare put out regularly.  It has a section for each major funeral brand (including LifeArt and the crematoriums).  I think it is a decent magazine, well worth a read for anyone interested in the industry.  It's on my regular reading list.  Reading Involve is a great way to see how the company has developed and changed over the years.

Archive of past issues:

This is the most current issue, not listed in the archives yet:

InvoCare & the Blog:
    At the Rookwood open day someone asked what InvoCare thought of my blog.  I had never even considered they knew about it, let alone had an opinion.  I don't think InvoCare is aware of this blog, there is no evidence to say they know about it, they certainly haven't contacted me in any way.  Having said that I would not be surprised to find they are well aware of it and check it regularly.  Invocare is on the ball and very proactive (something I like) and they are paranoid of exposure (which I described at the start).  So I suspect they have found the blog and keep an eye on it, I do talk about the company a lot.

    Either way I am not concerned.  If InvoCare does know about it they have not contacted me, which indicates they have no issue with what I say.  Or that they have no reason to complain or compliment.  After all, everything I say is honest, I do not exaggerate anything.  But if InvoCare (or anyone else) does take issue with something I say, simply contact me!

    Another reason I am not concerned is that InvoCare is use to attention and is very progressive.  Older companies might feel uncomfortable with internet attention.  Many older funeral homes actively avoid the internet (such as WNBull) as though to touch it would hurt the company.  InvoCare is very different, it has a strong internet profile and makes many things publicly available.  The company is also use to the attention as anyone and everyone studying the industry will look at them at some point.  For example the book 'Funeral Rights' by Larkins describes the Australian funeral industry and InvoCare.  It never talks of any other funeral homes except InvoCare and Bledisloe.  InvoCare is constantly under media and individual scrutiny.  So they are more use to things like this than other companies.

    I can also say unequivocally that InvoCare (or anyone else) have no influence in what I say.  No organisation, official or otherwise, influence this blog.  Some have asked if I am positive of InvoCare because they support me.  This is not the case at all.  I am simply honest about what I think and see.  If I say good things then I think and see good things.  InvoCare might not be perfect, but they are not that bad.

Working With InvoCare:
    I have not contacted InvoCare to see if they would let me work with them.  I seriously doubt they would say yes and asking might put them in an awkward position.  So I have avoided direct or official interactions.  But I would LOVE to work with them.  InvoCare has some of the best resources on the funeral industry and is such a relevant company.  They have accredited training staff, they have manuals and and books, they have a national influence and are into every piece of the industry.  To work with them would be a dream come true.  But for now I will study InvoCare from the distance, and maybe contact them next year.

    Interestingly many funeral homes I called suggested I contact InvoCare for a study.  They said how it would have more information and room to do a study, plus that it was a good company to study.  I found this interesting and odd.

Would You Use InvoCare?
    Yes, they are still on my recommended funeral homes list, and they are there for a good reason.  Other funeral homes might do a 'better' job than InvoCare, as InvoCare is not the 'best' in the industry.  Others might also give better value and/or cheaper prices.  But I know the minimum with InvoCare will be good enough, at their worst they are still a decent company.  So I am confidant and comfortable with what I will get from InvoCare.  Which is great when planning a funeral outside of Sydney.  I know little to nothing about the industry out of Sydnen, but I know what InvoCare is like nation wide (and in New Zealand now).

    So yes, I would use InvoCare even though there are better alternatives, because I know what I will get and am comfortable with what I know.  Plus I remember how well the company treated me as an employee.

Summary & Final Thoughts:
    InvoCare is not perfect, they have many faults (which I briefly go into above).  But overall the company is solid, with a high standard nation wide, a good upper-management, great OH&S, excellent training, and more.  I might not always 'like' InvoCare but I have always respected them.

    I also find myself feeling sorry for InvoCare the more I study them or the industry.  So many others just dismiss and belittle the company for being InvoCare.  To me this is like disliking an avocado for being an avocado.  It is not an actual reason, it is barely an excuse.  Yet invoCare chugs along anyway, doing what it does and not slandering or criticising others.

    If anyone has the ability to change the industry for the better and to bring funerals to the public sphere it is InvoCare.  With a solid national footing and a good budget nobody else can compare with their media power.  I hope InvoCare will use this to their advantage, and as a happy accident help bring funerals to a more accepting mainframe.  InvoCare is possibly the only company which could push for better national standards and regulations.  Something the industry is lacking.


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