The Hearse - In the eyes of the funeral industry

    To those within the industry the hearse is such a significant thing, from a thing of pride to part of identity.  It is a complex thing to the funeral industry, and much more than just a transporter of coffins.

    The hearse is a status symbol for many companies and individuals.  A surprising majority of undertakers that I talk with describe their hearse in terms of personal pride.  Talking about how nice it looks, especially compared to the others.  Focusing on little details like the design of the chrome bars, or the lining in the back where the coffin sits and so on.  Not only do they notice these little details, they are quite enamoured by them.

    They will also explain the special features of their hearse, how doors open, room for storing things and so on.  How functional and practical their hearse is and what a good hearse it is.

    The hearse is a big part of differentiating between companies.  Most go to great lengths to make their hearse unique.  For example, WNBulls bought their chrome bars (used on the roof and inside the back) from overseas so nobody else in Sydney could possibly have similar bars.  Then when they sold an older hearse they deliberately sold it out of state.  Despite the fact that it was an older design for the company.  Another example is of how Elite Funerals have a patent on the design of the roof for their hearse.  So again, nobody else will have a hearse like it.

    These are just a couple of quick examples, but essentially a lot of those within the industry have put considerable effort, time, cost and thought into making their hearse unique.  Furthermore, the hearse is a key way those within the industry tell which company it is.  Say another funeral home pulls into the crematorium in the distance.  The undertakers will look at the hearse to see who it is.  They do not usually look at things like uniforms, or if they do it is in follow up to looking at the hearse.
It is very important in distinguishing and identifying companies it becomes a big part of the company identity.  It is a significant part of theming, how the company presents and markets itself.  And how the company comes to see and understand itself.

    The hearse will match the company image, from the company colours the styles.  For example, Simplicity Funerals uses a plain silver hearse to match their “no fuss” style and light blue and silver colouring.  Then White Lady Funerals uses a white and ornate hearse in keeping with their high end and bright image and feel.  And Guardian Funerals will use a standard black hearse, as they are a traditional style of company. 

    These are just three examples of InvoCare funerals homes to emphasise the point.  How three brands owned by the same company all use such uniquely distinct hearses as part of defining the company.  It would be cheaper and easier to just use the same hearse for all three companies.  Yet they do not, and cannot, as the hearse is a huge part of the company identity.  To use the same hearse would be to blur all three separate brands.

    Many, including myself, look at the number of hearses a company has to get an impression for the size and business.  This is not especially accurate on its own, a company might operate one hearse and another might operate two.  Yet this does not necessarily mean one is twice as big or busy as the other.

    However, the hearse is still a decent indication of company size in a way.  One aspect is that the company with two hearses has the potential to do twice as many funerals in a single day.  More importantly each hearse is rather expensive, to buy and operate.  A hearse can easily cost over $100,000 new and then they need regular servicing, fuel, cleaning, and so on.

    So the more hearses a company has the more it is expecting business.  It is either foolishly buying too many hearses, or the company knows it will be able to justify the cost.  That it will get the business over the next few years to make the extra hearse worth it.  While the hearse is not an accurate indicator of company size or business, it is a good way to get a feel for how “big” the company is.

    It is a significant part of the industry identity, when one thinks of funerals they tend to think of a hearse.  The hearse is just a notable part of the industry that I have seen one at every industry open day.  Even Macquarie Park Cemetery and Crematorium had one at their open day.   And they wanted to deliberately down play funeral homes and emphasise their cemetery and crematorium.  The funeral industry and the hearse go hand in hand, they are just so intertwined with one and other.

    To the funeral industry the hearse is a way of distinguishing and identifying companies, a symbol of personal pride, part of company identity and an integral part of the industry imagery.  Indeed the hearse is a complex and significant thing to those within the funeral industry.



  1. Funeral programs are widely used to supply information to those that want to arrange program for their loved one. This is such a great post for Funeral Services provider in Perth.

  2. Our hearses are the best. End of discussion. Hehehe. Great article.


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