I’ve always had an affinity for cemeteries. I love to explore them on long walks, enjoying the peaceful setting, admiring the artistry of the memorials, sculptures, and landscaping… even imagining the stories of the “residents.”
Sometimes on my cemetery walks, I feel sad when I see a neglected family plot or dirty, damaged, or unreadable headstones. It’s probably not that no one cares. These days, a lot of people don’t live in the same area where they grew up, let alone where their ancestors lived. So there’s no one left locally to care for their little piece of family history.
Cemeteries usually offer basic lawn care, essentially a quick pass with the mower and weed-whacker. But if you have an emotional attachment to your family resting place, you might want something more personalized. And wherever there’s a niche, there’s a smart entrepreneur who will find a way to monetize it!
Who needs this service?
Potential clients include family members who live too far away to maintain the graves themselves. Or they may live close by but aren’t physically able or don’t have the time to take care of it themselves. And some people just aren’t comfortable hanging around in cemeteries!
Your #1 selling point is in the extra services you offer – not just lawn care, but personalized cleaning and beautification. This usually includes:
- Light cleaning and polishing of the memorial.
- Light gardening work.
- Removal of debris and leaves, old plants, and obsolete decorations.
- Cleaning flower vases or planters.
- Reporting any damage to the cemetery office.
- Taking before-and-after photos for the client.
You can also boost your income by adding other products and services to the basic site care; for example, planting live flowers or placing cut flowers or wreaths at the gravesite. Another option is delivery of floral tributes and decorations for special dates like birthdays, anniversaries, or veterans’ tributes, or installing military or religious symbols.
And if you want to work year round, you can bring in extra income during the off-season by placing fresh or artificial poinsettias, Christmas wreaths, or grave blankets for the holidays.
This is a business with a very short learning curve. No formal training is needed, but it’s helpful to check out websites of other gravesite care companies to get a feel for the setup and how they do business.
It doesn’t require a lot of preparation to launch your business. Before you hang out your shingle, you should:
- Get to know the staff and the rules and regulations of your local cemeteries.
- Learn about the proper professional way to clean and polish memorials (easy to find online).
- Collect the tools you’ll need: Pruning shears, rake, small shovel, trowel, bucket, gloves, rags, spray bottles, and soft brushes for cleaning stones. You’ll also need a digital camera or camera phone for before-and-after pictures.
- Have a reliable vehicle
So with no training required, minimal upfront investment, and a lot of flexibility, a gravesite care business is ideal for someone who likes gardening and working outdoors (or maybe – like me – someone who just loves cemeteries!). It’s also an opportunity to profit by helping others, honoring their dear departed by beautifying their final resting place.