Messenger Acquires the Fastest Growing Funding Company in the U.S., Express Funeral Funding

Messenger Acquires the Fastest Growing Funding Company in the U.S., Express Funeral Funding

Express News

AUBURN, IN – Messenger, a leading provider in stationery, funeral service items and personalization solutions, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Express Funeral Funding.

“After careful consideration, we sought the opportunity to acquire one of the fastest growing companies in the funeral profession,” commented Kevin Keane, president of Messenger. “This will allow Messenger to broaden our existing product line and services to funeral homes and cemeteries, while providing innovative solutions for families during their most difficult time of need.”

As the largest privately held and FASTEST. EASIEST.® insurance assignment funding company in the nation, Express Funeral Funding has been providing funeral homes and cemeteries the ultimate funding experience since 2002.

“Our focus from the beginning was to be the best in the industry, not necessarily the biggest,” said Steve Calloway, president and co-founder of Express Funeral Funding. “We strongly believe this acquisition will provide our partnering funeral homes and cemeteries an even greater funding experience.”

Both organizations remain dedicated to continually providing world-class solutions to funeral homes, cemeteries and their families.

“This is great for our customers. We are thrilled to have aligned with an organization which shares our same mission, to provide the funeral profession with unparalleled services,” explained Aaron Calloway, executive vice president and co-founder of Express Funeral Funding. “Our goal has always been to provide leading-edge solutions and total customer satisfaction to our funeral homes and cemeteries, and I am confident this acquisition will achieve this on a greater scale.” Express Funeral Funding utilized Midwest based investment bank Periculum Capital Company as advisor for the sale of the company.

All sales and customer service inquiries will continue to be handled by the respective companies. To reach Messenger, please call 1.800.827.5151 or email messenger@messengerllc.com. To reach Express Funeral Funding, please call 1.812.949.9011 or email contact@expff.com.

Messenger LLC, headquartered in Auburn, Indiana, was founded in 1913 by Frank Messenger who started in the religious calendar business and has since become the leading provider of stationery, funeral service items and personalization services. Focused on being a trusted partner to funeral professionals, Messenger delivers time saving solutions to increase customer satisfaction and add value. Messenger provides quality product and technology solutions with quick lead times and exemplary service, an extensive line-up of well-known brands and licensed artists, exclusive partnerships and one of the most experienced and extensive sales teams in the funeral industry. For more information about Messenger, visit www.messengerllc.com or call 1.800.827.5151.

Express Funeral Funding has been providing funeral homes and cemeteries nationwide the ultimate funding experience since 2002. Express Funeral Funding eliminates the challenges of working with insurance companies by limiting administration, providing immediate payment and advancing complete policy funds. For more information on Express Funeral Funding, please visit www.expressfuneralfunding.com, email contact@expff.com or call 1.812.949.9011.

Contact Information:

Deanna_Dydynski

Deanna Dydynski | Marketing & Public Relations Manager
Express Funeral Funding
deanna.dydynski@expff.com | 812.949.9011 ext 108

 

Tracy Fetters | Marketing & Communications Supervisor
Messenger
tfetters@messengerllc.com |800.827.5151 ext 230

 

Express Funeral Funding becomes the endorsed provider for the Kansas Funeral Director Association

Express News

Express Funeral Funding Becomes the Exclusive Endorsed Insurance Assignment Funding Provider For The Kansas Funeral Director Association

CLARKSVILLE, IN – Express Funeral Funding, the FASTEST. EASIEST.® and largest privately held insurance assignment funding company in the nation is pleased to announced they are the exclusive endorsed insurance assignment funding provider for the Kansas Funeral Director Association (KFDA).

According to Pam Scott, KFDA’s Executive Director, “the KFDA is pleased to announce that it has chosen Express Funeral Funding as the KFDA’s preferred provider of insurance assignment processing and funding. We believe they will handle our members insurance claims in a professional and efficient manner”.

“We are honored to have been selected for the endorsement and are excited for our partnership with the Kansas Funeral Director Association,” said Steve Calloway, President of Express Funeral Funding.

Since 2002 Express Funeral Funding has been providing funeral homes and cemeteries nationwide, the FASTEST. EASIEST.® administration of life insurance assignments by eliminating the challenges of working with insurance companies, providing immediate payment and advancing complete policy funds.

For more information on Express Funeral Funding, please visit www.expressfuneralfunding.com or call 812.949.9011.

 

 

Larry McCracken receives Supplier of the Year from the Southern Texas Funeral Director Association

Larry McCracken receives Supplier of the Year from the Southern Texas Funeral Director Association

Express News

Express Funeral Funding is beyond excited and proud to announce, Larry McCracken, national account manager, received Supplier of the Year from the Southern Texas Funeral Director Association.

Larry McCracken, proud Texan and the most interesting man in the funeral profession has been serving families, funeral homes and cemeteries since 1971.

McCracken has over 17 years of funeral home ownership, 22 years managing one the nation’s most successful pre-need sales teams and over 10 years as a pillar in insurance assignment funding, currently serving as a lead national account manager for Express Funeral Funding.

A man of integrity and sincerity, with the spirit of a 21- year-old, Larry is an expert sailor, wonderful husband, father, grandfather, colleague and friend to many.

Dedicating his passion for funeral service, McCracken has been a spearhead and influential leader in the funeral profession for nearly 50 years, with no intentions of slowing down.

The #Social Media Guide | 10 Tips to Learning Social Media Language & Culture

The #Social Media Guide | 10 Tips to Learning Social Media Language & Culture

Publications

Featured in the Funeral Business Advisor: May- June 2019

By: Deanna Dydynski, marketing & public relations manager

Have you ever read something on Facebook and been completely perplexed or heard an employee or coworker say something and you have absolutely no clue what it means? If you answered yes to either of these, then this is the guide for you.

Undoubtedly, social media is changing the way we communicate, socialize and interact as humans. The English language is evolving every day, from acronyms (LOL) and abbreviations (Totes) to the #hashtags, Emojis 😉 and new Oxford Dictionary recognized words like: Selfie, Tweet, Gif and Photobomb. We have social media to thank for all of these changes and if you do not wake up in the morning and immediately check your notifications, know how to “Dougie” or do not feel #blessed, then you are missing out on a serious culture movement.

As a marketing professional, understanding social media is absolutely necessary and I will admit, I have an upper hand in this arena, because I had a Myspace (2003 social media platform which is essentially obsolete) and am a part of a generation that grew up interacting on many of the first online social media platforms.

Business consultants stress the importance of utilizing social media in your marketing efforts and present how likes, shares, tweets and comments can help brand your business and gain you clientele, however they rarely provide an informational guide on what any of it means.

Understanding the sometimes-complex language and culture of social media can be confusing but if you want to stay engaged in your children’s, nephew’s, wife’s or your current/potential customer base, it is important to learn social media language and these ten tips will help.

1. Get a Smartphone

While it sounds extremely basic, and some enjoy living the “simple life,” getting a Smartphone is probably the most important tool needed in your quest for understanding social media. Afterall, nearly all of the social media applications, known as “Apps,” such as Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are mobile friendly and can be viewed anywhere your phone has internet access, which is also key when maintaining a consistent social media presence.

2. Learn the QUAD

We are not talking quadrangles, groups of four people or an architectural structure with four sides. We are talking about the power-four, quad of social media networking sites, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. These four are the essential and bare necessity social media platforms to learn.

 Facebook, the largest social media platform and allows you to connect with friends, family and acquaintances across the world.

 YouTube, the largest and most popular video sharing platform which allows for sharing music, videos and live streaming content.

 Twitter, a platform allowing users to communicate with 280 characters or less and also home to the first use of the #hashtag.

 Instagram, now owned by Facebook is a social media platform allowing users to share photos, videos and live streaming footage with              unique image #filters.

3. Create social media accounts

Obviously, if you want to learn and communicate the language of social media you will need to have access to them, which will require you to create accounts. Start by going to the “App Store” on your smart device and downloading for FREE, the QUAD and creating user accounts for each social media.

4. Interact on social media

Learning requires a conscious effort and interacting on social media is required in order to learn the language and culture. Each social media platform has “its own thing.”

Facebook the originator of the “LIKE” allows you to post images, videos and text. You can share posts and it offers the ability to interact with other’s posts with a thumbs up, heart, laughing face, wow face, sad tear drop face, mad face, or you can leave a comment.

Instagram is known for the infamous “double tap,” which allows you to ❤️ (love) a post. On Instagram you can share 24-hour lasting live streams, share photos and videos with a large selection of appearance filters such as Rise, Hudson, Lo-fi and my personal favorite Mayfair.

Twitter you can ❤️ (love), comment, retweet or TWEET your own content, images, GIFS or videos.

It is important to note that while these capabilities are available now, each social media platform has evolved and changed overtime. They have added and taken away specific features, so it is important to “update” your Apps when recommended on your smartphone to keep up-to-date with the latest changes.

5. Learn your Emojis

Emojis are digital icons used to express an idea or emotion. At this point in time, Emojis have surpassed social media platforms and have become a crucial tool in everyday communication. There are even toys and a movie made about Emojis. Most smartphones now automatically include the Emoji keyboard as an option to use when sending any written communication, so use them. There over 3,000 Emojis and according to Brandwatch and Twitter some of the world’s most popular include:

  1. Face with tears of joy/laughter 😂
  2. Loud crying face 😭
  3. Smiling face with heart eyes 😍
  4. Red heart ❤️
  5. Backhand index pointing finger 👉

6. Use MEMES and GIFS to communicate

They say laugher is the best medicine and at times nothing can be funnier than a well-crafted MEME. MEMES are essentially captioned photos intended to be funny and play a large role in today’s communicative culture and comedic relief. Anyone can make a meme now with the multiple MEME creators available online. To create you simply use a picture and write content in the standard MEME white-block letter font, Impact. A couple well-known and commonly repeated MEME subjects you may know would be Grumpy Cat or The Success Kid, see MEMES below:

   

GIFS, vary in their meaning and are essentially expressive, short, soundless videos used to communicate a range of emotions. Myself, my friends, family and coworkers all use GIFS to communicate with each other. GIFS can often communicate a thought or feeling much better than a standard text or Emoji and smartphones have added a GIF option as well on your keyboard when texting.

As the world becomes more embedded in their smart devices, MEMES and GIFS help to create a sense of animation you may have if you were communicating in-person and are essential in social media culture and language.

7. Use online translation systems and dictionaries

As mentioned before abbreviations and acronyms have played a large role in today’s everyday communication and it can be difficult to keep up with the daily creations. Some standard abbreviations and acronyms are:

TTYL: Talk to you Later

Totes: Totally

DM: Direct message

LOL: Laugh out loud

B4: Before

BRB: Be right back

Obvi: Obviously

Cray: Crazy

NBD: No big deal

Jelly: Jealous

Fab: Fabulous

F2F: Face to face

Redic: Ridiculous

The best thing you can do if unsure of an acronym or abbreviation is GOOGLE the meaning, use Urban Dictionary or ask a friend.

8. Speak the language

When learning a new language, any linguistics professional will tell you to practice and try to use what you have learned in everyday communication. The same goes with social media language. It may feel weird to step outside your comfort zone and use acronyms or abbreviations to communicate, however it may be how your next family communicates and you may seem unrelatable and totes redic.

9. Create your own hashtags or phrases

Your funeral home or cemetery staff may have a common phrase you use amongst each other, use it in your next social media post or create a new hashtag and keep using it.  You can make anything a hashtag and it could be the next viral sensation.

10. Appreciate social media and its ability to connect others

Social media has altered our lives and changed our culture in many ways. Some feel it is ridiculous, a waste of time and is ruining human interaction. In some degree these feelings are true, however social media can bring people together and it has proven to do so. Something so simple as a post of a dress in 2015, brought the world together in an ongoing debate. Is the dress black and blue or white and gold?

Millions of people voted and spoke on their belief of the dress’s colors, including scientists, psychologists, newspapers, radio hosts, television shows, news stations, online blogs and social media platforms, and all because of a post on Reddit, which is a social media American news aggregation. The dress proved to be black and blue after finding an actual listing of the dress online, however this started a worldly debate. If you are not familiar with the dress then maybe the #IceBucketChallenge rings a bell, which brought tremendous awareness to ALS, all because of a Facebook post of a gentleman dumping a bucket of ice water on his head. By the end of 2016 the social media sensation, Ice Bucket Challenge raised over 115 million for ALS research.

Say what you will about social media but it is here now and will probably exist, grow and thrive throughout our lifetime. Embrace this cultural change and expand your knowledge on its language and you may find it extremely useful in the future.

Kevin Smith Joins Express Funeral Funding as a National Account Manager

Kevin Smith Joins Express Funeral Funding as a National Account Manager

Express News

Kevin Smith Joins Express Funeral Funding as a National Account Manger

CLARKSVILLE, IN – Express Funeral Funding, the nation’s FASTEST, EASIEST® and largest privately-owned insurance assignment funding company is excited to welcome Kevin Smith as a national account manager.

Smith will develop and maintain relationships with funeral homes and cemeteries nationwide to promote Express Funeral Funding’s fast and easy insurance assignment funding.

“We are excited to have Kevin join the Express family. He brings expert industry knowledge along with several long-standing relationships with funeral homes and cemeteries,” said Steve Calloway, president of Express Funeral Funding.

Smith comes to Express Funeral Funding, having over 20 years in the funeral profession, of which he spent in insurance assignment funding, providing invaluable experience.

“I am very excited to join forces with Express Funeral Funding. They are the fastest, easiest, friendliest funding company on the planet. I want all my past clients and future customers to try us out on your next assignment,” said Smith.

Express Funeral Funding has been providing funeral homes and cemeteries nationwide the ultimate funding experience since 2002. Express Funeral Funding eliminated the challenges of working with insurance companies by limiting administration, providing immediate payment and advancing complete policy funds.

For more information on Express Funeral Funding, please visit www.expressfuneralfunding.com or call 812.949.9011.

Kevin Smith
Hidden Costs of Accounts Receivables. How waiting for your money is costing you money.

Hidden Costs of Accounts Receivables. How waiting for your money is costing you money.

Publications

Featured in American Funeral Director, Financial Touch Point: September 2018

By: Deanna Dydynski, marketing & public relations manager

Accounts Receivable Department:  “Hi Jim, we have your order, but we will not be able to ship it to you until you pay for your last three orders.”

Jim: “I can’t wait that long, cancel the order.”

I figured a bit of accounting humor would lighten the mood for this not-so-laughing matter of accounts receivables. At one point or another you have probably encountered a similar situation as above. Whether you are a supplier, funeral home owner or outside-industry businessperson, most likely hearing “accounts receivables” makes you cringe just a little. If you are not cringing now you may be after reading the next several paragraphs unfolding all of the additional costs associated with receivables.

We all know the number one business killer is having no cash, as you cannot meet financial obligations, explore growth opportunities or even have a business. You may have the best services and funeral director staff in town, but if you cannot collect payment for those services then your business will ultimately struggle. Before we dive into how accounts receivables are crippling your business, we must identify if you have an accounts receivable problem and why it is there in the first place.

You may have accounts receivable problem if…

  • You call past due accounts when you need to make payroll You stop trying to collect after 90 days
  • You are waiting 30, 60, 90 days or beyond for insurance company payment
  • You have no idea what your Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) is
  • You have to increase your credit terms in order to reduce DSO
  • You have more accounts receivables over 30 days than current

Some funeral home/cemetery owners simply have poor accounts receivables because of bad paying customers.  Many funeral professionals go to great lengths to extend payment leeway for struggling families, but in the end, this has severe consequences on their business. Additionally, insurance companies are posing multiple challenges to funeral professionals, including delay of payment. Funeral homes are often waiting 30, 60, 90 days or beyond for payment on services, and sometimes getting shorted on payment or not receiving payment at all.

Sadly, many funeral home/cemetery owners are unaware they have an account receivable “problem” as they may have year-round business consistency, which is the ultimate goal. If you have enough money to cover overhead expenses, payroll, and your suppliers then you are set, right? Technically yes, however many funeral home owners who remain uninvolved in their business’s finances may not be aware there are outstanding receivables or room for improvement.

Whether you know you have an accounts receivables problem or are in the dark on your business’s finances, realizing the hidden costs involved in outstanding receivables will provide you the knowledge to improve your receivables, cash flow and bottom line.

Based on a study done by the Harvard Business review, the most common hidden costs of receivables are:

1. Time of Cost

The cost of carrying receivables is often equated with time of cost. Believe it or not time of cost can be estimated by your accountant and is calculated using discounted cash flow (DCF), which is a valuation method used to estimate investment and cash flow opportunities. While “time is money,” this is only one of six cost elements affecting your receivables.

2. Administrative Costs:

Telephone calls, follow-up letters, record keeping and general collection processes are cost intensive and only grow larger the older the age of the receivable. You may have a rock star accounts receivable team but sometimes even Janice, your MVP cannot even collect from families, creating additional administrative cost when she has to turn the bill over to a collection agency.

3. Bad Debt

The cost of debt relates directly with the age of the receivables. The longer a receivable ages, the more unlikely the full amount will be covered, ultimately costing your funeral home money.

4. Financing Cost

If your business is having difficulty collecting receivables to pay for general overhead and business expenses you may need to finance and borrow money until you are able to collect from your own customers.

5. Predictability

Without a consistency of collections, it is difficult for a business to forecast financing. This factor is especially pressing in the funeral profession where seasonality and death rates can make business unpredictable.

6. Opportunity

When your money is tied up in accounts receivables you have no potential funding for expansion, marketing, investments or the opportunity to take advantage of supplier promotions and discounts.

The 2009 Harvard Business Review Cost Elements of Accounts Receivables Analysis:

Though this study is nearly 10 years old the valuation method to determine the cost of each element is current.

Factoring in each cost element, this chart reveals if you were to have a $5,000 invoice outstanding for 60 days, you are losing an additional $450, and $1,350 for 120 days overdue. Are you cringing now?

You are probably wondering what solutions are available to improve your accounts receivables.

1. Payment Terms

While this profession is unique in practice, how you are paid should not be. You should set clear payment policies/terms and provide services only after receiving valid forms of payment.

2. Offer Multiple Payment Methods

With an average funeral cost of $7,000 (NFDA, 2016) and 63% of Americans without $500 in their savings to cover an emergency (Forbes, 2016), families are looking for alternative options for funeral payment. Allow your families to pay with life insurance policies but be certain to outsource to a reputable insurance assignment funding company. Funeral homes processing life insurance assignments in-house are experiencing multiple challenges and are waiting extensive periods of time to get paid for services, which effects your accounts receivables. Utilizing a funding company can help free your receivables and help you maintain consistent cash flow.

3. Consider Hiring An Accounting Company

As a business owner it is important to know when to outsource. As a funeral professional you are responsible for multiple roles, you are grief counselors, event planners, embalmers, florists, caretakers and beyond. One aspect of your business you definitely want to manage properly is your accounting. Money keeps the business going and hiring a team of number-savvy professionals will allow you to focus on what matters most, running your funeral home/cemetery.

As a business owner, positive cash flow management is essential for your firm’s long-term survival and not managing your accounts receivables properly can have severe effects on your business. Communicate with your staff and develop solutions to improve your accounts receivables, your business will thank you.

References: Tom Green, AmerAssist AR Solutions, Inc., (2014). Harvard Business Review (2009).