Social Media and Marketing Manager, Funeral Director

August Heinz: "Parting Pro makes things go smoothly for my families"

Without it, his life would be "a whole lot more stressful than it already is!"

August Heinz is the Owner/Operator of Heinz Funeral Home.  August is also the owner of  Family Care Cremation I sat down with August to talk about how Parting Pro has made his life and the lives of his families much easier. Watch or read our conversation below. 

 

August Heinz:
My name is August Heinz. I graduated Mortuary Science School in 2015. The family business Heinz funeral home has been operating since 1854. I’m a fifth generation field director, but I didn’t become licensed until I was about 31 to direct a cremation business. My father told me not to do it, and my other mentor Anthony Gravania who is the local funeral director in the town next door – he owns three funeral homes - he’s always been a guy that when I had questions, I’d bounce them off of him. He said, “No, don’t do it. You’re going to end up being too busy or you’re going to cut your legs off or your own cremation price at your funeral home.” I got that off the ground – I was thinking, maybe if I got 15 calls, I’d be fine with that. That will cover everything I’ve put into it, that much overhead.

I operate out of my brick and mortar funeral home that’s already here. I think in the first year, I got close to 50 or 60 calls and it kind of blew me away. In that first year is when I partnered with Parting Pro. I got with Albert and Will. Those guys adjusted things how I wanted it. I have a button on my website, you just click there and then the families are off and running. I always tell families, if they have questions or they don’t understand what they’re doing online, to call me. Very seldom do they call me! They usually text me and say, “We’ve got everything done. Payment has been submitted.” Then I review it to see if they entered all the information correctly. That’s basically the history in a nutshell of how I got together with Parting Pro.

Parting Pro:
What would you say is your favorite feature of Parting Pro?

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August Heinz:
Probably the ease of access to the families. It’s literally one click, and then it walks them through the whole system. There have even been families with the traditional funeral homes where they might be out of town, prior to coming in to town for the service. Also, the online forms and the e-signature is really helpful. A lot of people don’t have a fax machine anymore. If they need to fax something, they have to go to a UPS center or something like that. I think they’re still around, I don’t even know! But a lot of people don’t have access to a fax. The e-signature and those forms just to get the obituary work sheet and everything that I need to have completed before I can get a cremation completed, it literally can take days off the process.

Parting Pro:
I like what you said about not having access to a fax machine. I think the other thing we have to be honest with ourselves about as funeral directors is that our families have just experienced a loss. Sometimes it’s a prolonged loss, sometimes it’s an immediate loss. But regardless, if you had just experienced that, do you want to get yourself up the next morning and get dressed and go meet with someone you don’t know? No! You want to be at home. You want to be in a place of comfort where you can do this from a clear mindset, with your other family around you. You don’t want to have to do that. You want to be where you feel you can gain some strength. I think that’s another advantage that we offer. People can be comfortable making funeral arrangements, for the first time ever.

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August Heinz:
Yes. That, and yes, there are families that are just surprised on how quick and easy it is. Along those lines, the families I serve with the direct cremation business – that’s the clientele that Parting Pro is perfect for. They just want basically the simplest thing they can get. Some of them don’t have the means to pay for anything elaborate. Some of them do, but they are thrifty and they don’t want to throw 5 or 10 thousand dollars on a funeral. Those are also the clients that… I won’t say that they just want it to be over and done with quickly, but they do just want it to be run real smoothly. I always tell families that there is really nothing I can do for the pain of a loss, but I’m just here to try to make the process go smoothly. When they choose to use the online process, that just helps it go even more smoothly for them. I can’t say enough good things about it. If I didn’t have it, it would make my life a whole lot more stressful than it already is. 

Parting Pro:
Tell me how often you find yourself handling documentations or arrangements by email via your smart phone while you’re on your way to another obligation?

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August Heinz:
I would say close to half of my week is probably spent in my vehicle driving from one place to another. Either meeting family, or going to my crematory which is 12 miles down the road. So yeah, from my phone it’s real easy. If I were smart enough to carry a tablet with me, it would probably be even easier. But it’s hard to work on a tablet while you’re driving. But yeah, sending the forms out – I probably do that half the time from my phone. 

Parting Pro:
That’s awesome to hear. I think again, going back to family preferences – because ultimately it is what the family wants. If the families spent half of their time doing things from their smart phones too, as a business, you’ve been keen enough to recognize that need from your families and that preference from your families. So well done on that.

August Heinz:
I could look at my Google ad words and tell you, I think it’s about 80% or more of the views on my website are from mobile devices. 

Parting Pro:
Wow, that’s staggering. You said 80%?

August Heinz:
I think, easily. There’s a lot of families where I’ll say, “Hey, are you computer savvy?” And they’ll be like, “Well I don’t even have a computer!” “Oh okay, but you have a smart phone, right?” “Well yeah, I got a smart phone.” Obviously they’re just not putting two and two together. But everybody has a computer in their pocket, pretty much.

Parting Pro:
Exactly. I think, to that point, a lot of people say they don’t have a computer or a fax machine. And yet here it is, in the palm of your hand. Everywhere that we go, everybody has a phone and almost everybody has a smart phone. So that’s incredible to hear, I’m still stuck on the 80%. That’s a mind blowing number. Actual families telling you about how easy this is for them to use. 

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August Heinz:
I haven’t had one family say, “Oh, this was confusing. I didn’t understand how to do this.” I tell most of them to call me if they run into something that they can’t figure out. Pretty much none of them ever do. If I can make a death one tenth of a percent easier on a person, then I feel like I’ve done my job. You can’t make it easy, you can just try to make it less stressful and make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Parting Pro:
Exactly. I think to that point, as a director, you can’t assume what a family wants. You can’t assume what experience they want to have. So by presenting this as an option, as a tool that you can use to smooth whatever their choice is – for me as a director it’s like, why would you not do that? Why would you not make something easier for a family, whatever their choices or preferences are? We are there to serve them, and hopefully we can give them that experience. 

August Heinz:
The older model of a funeral home is, you have to get them in the door so you can show them all of the options. Families that want direct cremation know exactly what they want. They don’t want to go through that whole sales pitch. Honestly, I don’t ever enjoy giving that sales pitch.

Parting Pro:
And how you were saying earlier, you said you spend about half of your week in the car? 

August Heinz:
Yes, pretty much!

Parting Pro:
I saw a commercial for something now where you can buy an entire car online, and they deliver it to your house the same day. If there was ever something that had like a thousand options and complications to it, it’s buying a car. So in my mind I’m going, “If somebody can sit at home in their pajamas and buy a car and have it delivered to their home on the same day, and we’re still scratching our heads in the funeral industry going ‘How can we do that? How is that possible?’” People are doing it! What do you wish other firms knew about Parting Pro? What would you have told yourself before you found Parting Pro? 

You really have nothing to lose. The benefits far out weighs the cost.

August Heinz:
I’ve had several funeral directors call me and I always tell them, just give it a shot. You really have nothing to lose. The benefits far out weighs the cost. Again, you can adjust your price to encapsulate what the charges are. Basically, your time is valuable as a funeral director. If you can find something that you find value in, that takes just a little bit of stress off your shoulders and takes you less time and paperwork – because I have this many for the next couple days, and the paper work – if you have a secretary, great. But if you don’t, it gets stacked up. The more you can get online, the better. Basically, it’s one of those things where there is no down side. 

Parting Pro:
That’s awesome to hear, I love hearing that. 

August Heinz:
Also, this is the way that the business is going if you don’t realize it and get ahead of it – you’re just putting your head in the sand and you’re going to fall behind. Parting Pro in year 2 helped me expand up to 130. I’m in year 3 right now, I think I’m sitting at the first quarter I’m at 42 services. So it’s turning upward. 

Parting Pro:
I think the numbers speak for themselves. If people are hesitant about the concepts of Parting Pro, I always point to the numbers. Look at what’s right in front of you. If you are still disagreeing with the numbers, then maybe you have another problem to address, besides what we’re talking about!

August Heinz:
Denial is not just a river in Egypt!

 

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Tagged: Why Parting Pro, Testimonials

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