Cemetery sales representatives help people make decisions regarding final expenses, whether for themselves or for family members. Final costs include caskets, markers, urns, crematory expenses and burial expenses. Cemetery sales representatives help families make arrangements when their loved ones have died, referred to as at-need sales, and help people plan ahead for their final expenses, referred to as pre-need sales.
Pre-need sales counselors typically work out of the office running sales leads. The counselors either set their own sales leads or the company has a team of employees that set leads for them. Pre-need sales counselors work on a commissions-only based pay structure. At-need sales counselors are those who work in the office, helping families make immediate arrangements for their loved ones who have died. Typically, if the at-need sales counselor does not make a certain level of sales during the week, he is paid an hourly salary in lieu of commissions.
State Laws and Wages
State laws can affect a cemetery sales counselor’s wages, sometimes dramatically. Some states, called noncombination states, have laws that prohibit one company from owning both a funeral home and a cemetery. Other states allow one company to own both a cemetery and funeral home; these are referred to as combination states. The wages for a cemetery sales rep in a combination state may be higher because they can sell funeral products as well as cemetery products.
The average annual salary for sales representatives in the funeral homes, cemeteries and crematories in the United States is $52,499, according to the Economic Research Institute Inc. Salaries ranged from $42,000 to $58,000, according to experience. This number can fluctuate widely depending on whether the state allows combination cemetery-funeral homes and the size of the market in which the cemetery or funeral home is located. Cemetery sales representatives working in larger cities tend to make a higher income than those working in smaller cities.
Commissions and Bonuses
Cemetery sales representatives can often achieve weekly and monthly bonuses based on their sales amounts. Different products and services often come with different commissions. For example, a company may pay 15 percent commission on a pre-need sales contract, but only 5 percent commission on an at-need sales contract. These types of commission structures can also affect the average annual salary for cemetery sales reps.