John Yopp

Unlock the Key to Better Funeral Home Lending

John Yopp
Funeral Home Owner
Publisher & Editor of Southern Funeral Director Magazine
Atlanta, Georgia
6 funeral homes and 1 cemetery
Combined Call Volume: 760 calls/year

John Yopp is passionate about the funeral profession. Not only does he publish a third-generation trade publication, Southern Funeral Director Magazine, which has shared valuable funeral information since 1919, but he also helps family-owned funeral homes ensure they stay around for generations.

John needed help with lending to pursue his business goals, but he found the process frustrating.

But when John discovered Funeral Directors Life’s lending service, he was surprised to learn that the process could be enjoyable!

“I was at a dead end before using Funeral Directors Life (FDL). Now, I have the tools to achieve my short-and long-term business goals. We even finalized an acquisition and a refinance in less than 90 days!”

Discover why FDL’s lending service was the right choice for John.

How would you describe your overall experience with FDL’s lending service?

The experience has been very rewarding, and getting started with FDL was easy. I remember thinking the process was almost too easy, as I had been using difficult lending options for so long that I didn’t realize it could be so simple. I appreciate the professionalism and respect that FDL gives me and my businesses. FDL understands my needs and goals as a funeral home owner, and they work with me as a partner.

Can you describe what your lending process looked like before using FDL?

Using other lending services was a headache and extremely time-consuming. We used a couple of SBA lenders and a venture capital group, but the process and the underwriting became painstaking to close the deal. They were always slow to respond to my needs and did not clearly understand the acquisition opportunities we had. It was almost like they wanted to keep my business from growing. Plus, they wanted to know every tiny detail about my business. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they asked me for my third-grade report card.

Ultimately, I feel like I wasted years using those lending services. I worked hard on many deals, made trips to the properties, obtained signed letters of intent, and came away with nothing. It was very frustrating.

What made you decide that FDL was the right choice for you?

FDL treats my relationship with them like a partnership, which made it easy for me to commit to them. FDL also worked with me to develop a winning strategy for everyone, which was like a breath of fresh air. It’s like when you go down several dead-end roads and suddenly see an open highway. The feeling is such a relief. FDL won me over once I realized that their lending team would always go above and beyond for my needs, make the process as easy as possible, look out for my best interests, and genuinely care about me. They are truly helpers of people in many ways.

What stood out to you most during the underwriting process with FDL?

It was so simple and easy! When we began the underwriting process, FDL didn’t ask for a million items that would take me months to find. All I had to do was send over several documents they requested, and we were ready to move forward. Their team simplified things and made the process easy and fast, which I hadn’t experienced before.

How would you describe the FDL lending services staff?

FDL’s lending team has some great people. The first time I talked with Ian Seekins [Director of Funeral Home Lending] and Jason Gazaille [Vice President of Finance], I felt we would all work well together. They understand lending and finance very well, and their knowledge of how that affects funeral homes is unmatched. They know the profession and what makes funeral homes grow and be more profitable.

Their team is also honest with me about whether acquiring a funeral home is the right decision. They’ve never pressured me into making a deal I’m uncomfortable with. They’ve always told me that we never have to make a deal, so their guidance makes me feel confident when they say we should or should not move forward on an opportunity.

How would your business have been impacted had you not partnered with FDL?

I would be no closer to growing my business, and I’m sure I would still have a lot of stress and frustration. Looking back to where I was, I may have just sold my businesses. I certainly didn’t want to do that, but it was such a struggle that I didn’t see a better way. I felt like I was just treading water, but then FDL came into the picture. I hoped a better option would come, and FDL felt like an answered prayer.

You started using FDL for your preneed, too. How has that been?

Before FDL, I used four or five preneed companies over the years. Most of them would sell promises that sounded great but were never delivered. Rarely would one of those preneed providers regularly visit the funeral homes to check in with the preneed counselors, offer training, or suggest marketing strategies and campaigns to help us be more visible and relevant in the community. After a while, it made me feel like my business was not a priority to them.

But FDL is just the opposite. They constantly check in with our staff and offer training sessions to help improve all aspects of our preneed programs. They make you feel very important. FDL understands that preneed is essential for a funeral home’s longevity, so they work hard to ensure you have plenty of future business in the coming years to grow your operations.

What would you say to someone who asked about partnering with FDL?

I would recommend FDL in a heartbeat and tell anyone using other funeral home lending options to stop wasting their time and look into FDL. Sure, you might get financing with another lender, but it will take much longer and be much more expensive. Some companies feel like if they’re lending you money, you owe them, and that’s wrong. FDL isn’t like that. They value their customers and know how to set funeral homes up for success. I wish I had used FDL’s preneed and lending services years ago.

They are definitely the leading provider of service to the funeral profession.

Ready to grow your funeral home?

Request a consultation today! Fill out the form below or click here to learn more about our lending and preneed services.

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