How do I start a funeral parlour, which organisations must I register with and where can I get franchise finance?

Starting your on funeral parlour business follows the exact same procedure as starting any business, but you will need a Certificate of Competence.

To begin, choose a business entity, i.e. Sole Proprietorship, Closed Corporation or Private Company. Before you start a business you need to register with the South African Revenue Services, Employees tax (PAYE), Value-Added Tax (VAT) and Unemployment insurance fund (UIF). For more details go to our Start-up Registrations section.

The exceptions – a certificate of competence

Government regulations state that a Ccertificate of Competence must be applied for in order to open funeral parlour. Before you submit an application for a Certificate of Competence, you must publish two notices in two different official languages in newspapers that circulate in the area in which such premises are situated. This must be done 21 days before submitting the application.

The applicant makes an application for a Certificate of Competence in writing to the Local Authority in whose area of jurisdiction the funeral undertaker’s premises will be situated.

The application must be accompanied by-

  • A description of the premises and the location
  • A complete ground plan of the proposed construction or of the existing buildings on a scale of 1:100
  • A block plan of the premises on which north is shown indicating which adjacent premises are already occupied by the applicant or other persons and for what purpose such premises are being utilised or are to be utilised
  • Particulars of any person other than the holder or any of his employees who prepares or will prepare corpses on the premises.

Subject to the provisions of regulations R 237 of 8 February 1985, no person is allowed to prepare any corpse except on a funeral undertaker’s premises in respect of which a Certificate of Competence has been issued and is in effect.

Dealing with other issues

As a funeral home owner, you will have to deal with various insurance providers. It is important that you understand how funeral insurance cover works. Your staff must know how to assist the family in claiming the policy. Other matters you must have knowledge of are:

  • Registration of Death
  • Purchasing of Graves
  • Cancelling of Identity Documents
  • Arrangements with Church and Minister
  • Crematorium protocol
  • Health Department documents

Using an existing CC to run the funeral parlour

You can use an existing CC to operate a new business; however, you must inform the Companies and Intellectual Properties Registration Office (Cipro). Complete the CK2A application that allows you to amend the Founding Statement. Download and complete the CK2A online. Go to www.cipro.gov.za for details.

Franchise finance

If finance for a franchise cannot be arranged through commercial banks, you can contact Franchise Finance. They will explain the funding criteria and facilitate the application with their funding partners.

Business Partners, a specialist risk finance company for formal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) may also be able to help you. The Business Partners Umsobomvu Franchise Fund is a public/private sector joint venture between Business Partners Limited and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund initiative of the national government. Business Partners has extensive knowledge of entrepreneurial enterprise in general, and of franchising in particular,

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