Price Funeral Service, Inc.

Ashley Price had had the goal of owning her own funeral home. She graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in 2006 and during that time worked for a mortuary in Pittsburgh. In 2007, she became a licensed funeral director and received a job at a funeral home in Somerset County. She worked there until 2011, at which point she went to work for Price Funeral Home (no relation) in Meyersdale. She felt that she would have the opportunity to purchase the business someday.

She handled all tasks of funeral work from making the initial call and removals, embalming, making the funeral arrangements, obtaining death certificates, submitting obituaries, conducting the funeral services, and doing follow-up care. She also became very involved in the management of the office: invoicing, paying bills, taking care of bank duties, responding to customer inquiries, etc. In late 2013, Ashley was presented with the opportunity to purchase the funeral home. The owner’s goal was to sell the business by the end of 2014. She was not sure where to turn and discovered the St. Francis University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) through the SBA’s website. She called the office, and they immediately scheduled a meeting with Ashley to discuss the purchase. After the initial meeting, Ashley then attended one of the SBDC’s First Step Workshops in Johnstown.

On February 7, 2014, the SBDC met with Ashley to discuss the potential purchase of the business. At this time, she had the basic parameters of the sale as it was laid out by the owner as well as several years of the business federal income tax returns. Ashley wanted to determine if the asking price was fair and if the business had the ability to service the debt she would be incurring. The owner wanted to continue to draw a salary and have his health insurance paid for through the business. Those two expenses would be about $60,000 annually. Based on the historic numbers, Ashley would not be able to do this and pay the proposed debt service as well. She was able to negotiate with the owner to have him drop this as part of the sales agreement. After this, she met with her attorney to have the details of the sale finalized.

In addition to reviewing and analyzing the past tax returns, the SBDC assisted Ashley in preparing a business plan, three year projected income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flow, and a detailed narrative explaining how she had arrived at the projected figures. Upon completion of her business plan and projected financial statements, she presented them to her bank. She would need money for working capital to cover the business expenses during the ownership transition, while the owner would be financing the purchase price for the real estate and business.

In January 2015, Ashley informed the SBDC that the financing for her project had been approved. The owner financed the sale of the real estate and business and her local bank provided financing to cover the working capital. During the first six month of 2015, the business conducted twenty-one funerals, putting them on pace to surpass initial sales projections. The business’s cremation rate is fourteen percent. The former owner, whose family started the funeral home a hundred years ago, is staying on and providing assistance whenever Ashley needs it.