Did you know that the funeral industry in Australia is a multibillion dollar business controlled by only a few major players?
There are approximately 1,000 funeral homes in Australia generating $1.5bn revenues each year. Though there may appear to be a range of funeral providers in your state, most are owned by only a few companies – leaving consumers with limited options, despite the illusion of choice (much like the retail groups who own many major chain stores you see in shopping malls).
According to eziFunerals Founder, Peter Erceg, 'when a loved one dies, it’s not only expensive but highly emotional and stressful. The commercialism and monopolisation of death overtook a previously community and religious service, leaving many of us organising a funeral vulnerable to price gouging or misleading practices’, he says.
Who owns the majority of funeral homes in Australia?
Consumers need to be aware that the majority of funeral homes in Australia are owned by a single corporation called InvoCare.
InvoCare, who own well known funeral home brands such as White Lady Funerals, Guardian Funerals and Simplicity Funerals, is a public listed company on the ASX, and has more than 34% overall share of funeral markets in which it operates – which means that if you’ve ever searched for a funeral director, you’ve probably come across one of their funeral brands. Although the names on signs outside funeral homes are well known, the revenues and profits from them flow to corporate shareholders.
InvoCare major shareholders include:
- Mondrian Investment Partners Limited
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia
- Macquarie Group Limited and its controlled bodies
- HSBC Custody Nominees (Australia)
- JP Morgan Nominees Australia Limited
Who are InvoCare Brands?
InvoCare is the largest funeral operator in Australia and New Zealand and currently operate over 290 locations and 16 cemeteries and crematoria. InvoCare has 3 national funeral brands in Australia (White Lady Funerals; Simplicity Funerals; and Value Funerals) and over 33 regional funeral home brands in different states across Australia.
InvoCare National Brands
InvoCare Brands by State
New South Wales & Australian Capital Territory
- Allan Drew Funerals
- Ann Wilson Funerals
- Boland Funerals a Guardian Funeral Provider
- David Lloyd a Guardian Funeral Provider
- Grafton & District Funerals
- Guardian Funerals
- Hansen & Cole a Guardian Funeral Provider
- Hastings District Funeral & Cremation Service
- Lester & Son Funeral Directors
- Liberty Funerals
- Southern Highlands Funerals
- Tobin Brothers a Guardian Funeral Provider
- Universal Chung Wah Funeral Directors
- WN Bull Funerals
- Burkin Svendsens Funerals
- City Funerals
- Drysdale Funerals
- Gatton Laidley Lowood Funeral Services
- George Hartnett Metropolitan Funerals
- Hiram Philp Funerals
- Mackay Funerals
- Somerville Funerals
- Blackwell Funerals
- English Rose Funerals
- J. A. Dunn Funeral Directors
- Turnbull Funerals
- Charles Crawford & Sons
- Le Pine Funerals
- Lester & Son Funeral Directors
- Southern Cross Funerals
- Tuckers Funeral & Bereavement Service
- W.D. Rose & Joseph Allison Funerals
Independent Funeral Homes v Corporate Funeral Brands
Although most consumers will pick a funeral home brand based on expensive marketing campaigns, it pays to shop around. We wouldn’t consider buying a car or paying for a wedding without learning everything we can about the product or service. The same decision making process should also apply to funerals!
'Funeral directors working for large corporate funeral companies are driven by profits and share prices. They work for shareholders, not consumers - and can be encouraged to use hard sell tactics on vulnerable families, trying to push added extras to increase the cost of a funeral', says Erceg.
Choosing between a large corporate funeral brand or smaller independent funeral home is a personal question. Large corporate funeral homes owned by InvoCare are often able to charge a premium due to brand recognition and the belief that their services will be of a higher professional quality. On the other hand, smaller independent funeral homes in Australia are often more connected with the communities they serve and their staff have more freedom to tailor funerals to reflect the wishes of the family.
- InvoCare expands its funeral footprint
- How to avoid expensive funeral packages
- ASX listed funeral companies fight for market share
Avoid a R.I.P Off: Make informed funeral choices
If a more personalised service and a fair funeral price is important to you, you should ask who owns and operates the funeral home you are considering. By choosing to use the services of a smaller independent funeral director, you are selecting the help of a locally owned and trusted professional – who can help you anywhere, anytime. Independent funeral homes are not distracted or bound by large company rules handed down from head office and can be flexible and responsive to individual needs, providing a highly personal and compassionate service, at a fair price.
eziFunerals is a free consumer advocacy and funeral planning platform that supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company, and are not a subsidiary of any other corporation. We are not part of any other funeral company. Founded by consumers frustrated by how difficult it was to get independent information, eziFunerals supports consumers plan a funeral, compare prices and select the right funeral director anywhere, anytime.
eziFunerals is an online consumer advocate that supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company. We are not part of any other funeral company. Founded by consumers frustrated by how difficult it was to get independent information, eziFunerals supports consumers plan a funeral, compare prices and select the right funeral director anywhere, anytime.