The Salvation Army’s Salvo Funerals recently launched in Sydney last March following the six-month trial period, news that was very much welcome to the consumer advocates, who believe that customers are in need of more customer-concerned funeral directors in Sydney.
During the six-month trial period, the Salvo Funerals handled funerals from across the city, successfully delivering at least 90 of them. Chief Executive Malcolm Pittendrigh, stated that the purpose of the funeral enterprise was to be a social venture, aimed at helping the community as well as returning money to the not-for-profit.
Executive Pittendrigh had worked as an accountant for the Salvation Army for nearly 2 decades, and decided to suggest the idea of a funeral service to the higher-ups, citing it as an extension of his line of work, which was then approved.
He says that Salvo Funerals was built upon a start-up methodology that was lean, wherein they were set to test the concept of the funeral service to ensure that it was worthwhile, for both the Salvation Army, and the Sydney community.
He states that, with funeral directors in Sydney competing with such big shots, Salvo Funerals had to distinguish itself with lower-cost offerings. He adds that the opportunity in the service was that the market had created a need for people, who need a fairer price model and cheaper funeral services due to socio-economic issues.
For reference, Asic quotes at least $4,000 for a basic, no-service, no-attendance cremation. Salvo Funerals offer the same for about half, costing about $2,180.
Pittendrigh stated that the cheaper rates offered by Salvo Funerals is quite popular, not just for those unable to afford the rates of a normal service, but also for those who don’t want a service.
The cost of funeral services, like any product, varies from instance to instance, but there are reports saying that the average for Sydney hangs at about $10,000.
A lot of reports are saying that the high cost is due to people being unaware of the real cost of funeral services, which Pittendrigh says he wishes to alleviate with Salvo Funerals. He then adds that, unlike a lot of other markets, the funeral service market is very welcoming for non-profit ventures, due to its high tolerance for competition.