Behind the Scenes: How Do Cemeteries Make Money?

Cemeteries have long been integral to our communities, Offering a peaceful, eternal resting place for loved ones and a space for reflection and remembrance. However, only some people consider the practicalities behind their operations. This blog aims to uncover the intriguing economic model of these sacred grounds by addressing the question: How do cemeteries make money? From plot sales and maintenance fees to services like cremation and perpetual care funds, we’ll explore the varied revenue streams that keep cemeteries financially viable. Join us as we delve into the lesser-known aspects of this essential industry and learn how do cemeteries make money while preserving their solemn role in society.

Real estate investors like Steve Daria and Joleigh have recognized the unique investment opportunities presented by cemeteries. By diversifying their portfolios to include plots and related services, they tap into a steady, if unconventional, source of revenue. Their approach helps illustrate how cemeteries monetize their operations beyond plot sales, ensuring financial sustainability.

Traditional Revenue Streams for Cemeteries

How do cemeteries make money? Explore their traditional revenue streams:

Plot Sales

One of the primary ways cemeteries earn revenue is through the sale of burial plots. 

These plots can vary in price depending on location, size, and the amenities offered.

  • Premium Plots: These plots are often priced higher due to their desirable location, providing families with the opportunity to secure a tranquil and distinguished memorial spot for their loved ones.
  • Standard Plots: These plots are strategically located throughout the cemetery grounds, ensuring accessibility and providing families with a dignified burial option that meets their financial needs.
  • Family Plots: These plots often offer discounted rates compared to purchasing individual plots separately, making them a cost-effective choice for families wishing to remain together in perpetuity.
how do cemeteries make money

Perpetual Care Funds

Perpetual care funds are crucial for maintaining the aesthetic appeal and operational integrity of cemeteries over time. 

When customers purchase burial plots, a percentage of the sales is allocated to these funds, which are carefully managed and invested. 

The interest or returns generated from these investments are used to cover expenses such as landscaping, groundskeeping, repair of infrastructure, and general upkeep of the cemetery grounds. 

Opening and Closing Fees

Opening and closing fees are essential revenue streams for cemeteries, covering the labor-intensive process of preparing and closing gravesites for burials. 

The cost varies based on factors such as the size of the plot, the depth required for burial, and any additional services requested by the family. 

Cemeteries often employ skilled personnel to ensure the process is conducted respectfully and efficiently, maintaining the cemetery’s reputation for providing dignified final arrangements.

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Diversified Income Sources

How do cemeteries make money? Here are the diversified income sources of cemeteries: 

Cremation Services

With the growing popularity of cremation, many cemeteries have diversified their services to include cremation options. 

This provides an additional revenue stream.

  • Columbarium Niches: These are small spaces within a columbarium where urns containing ashes can be stored.
  • Scattering Gardens: Designated areas in the cemetery reserved for families to scatter the ashes of their beloved departed.
  • Memorial Benches: Customizable benches where ashes can be stored, often placed in scenic spots within the cemetery.

Green Burials

Green burials are a sustainable alternative gaining traction among environmentally conscious individuals seeking eco-friendly end-of-life options. 

These burials prioritize natural decomposition processes, eschewing embalming fluids and non-biodegradable materials typically used in traditional burials. 

Cemeteries that offer green burial options cater to a niche yet expanding market segment, attracting individuals who value environmental sustainability and wish to leave a minimal ecological footprint even after death.

Memorial Products and Services

Cemeteries often sell a variety of memorial products and services, including headstones, plaques, and flower arrangements. 

These items can significantly boost a cemetery’s earnings.

Strategic Investment in Cemeteries

If you’re planning to invest in cemeteries, explore these strategies to maximize returns.

Location Matters

For real estate investors, the location of a cemetery is crucial. 

Proximity to urban areas or historically significant sites can increase the value of burial plots and other services.

Market Demand

Understanding the demographic trends and cultural preferences in the area can help investors gauge the demand for cemetery plots and related services. 

For example, areas with aging populations or specific religious communities may have higher demand.

Long-term Maintenance

Investors should also consider the long-term maintenance costs associated with cemeteries. 

Ensuring that there are sufficient perpetual care funds can prevent future financial issues.

Tips for Property Sellers

Here are essential tips for property sellers:

Highlighting Unique Features

When selling land that could potentially be used for a cemetery, highlighting unique features such as scenic views, historic significance, or existing landscaping can make the property more attractive to buyers.

Zoning and Regulations

Understanding local zoning laws and regulations is important. 

Some areas may have restrictions on the establishment of cemeteries, so it’s important to do thorough research and obtain the necessary permits.

Marketing Strategies

Effective marketing strategies can also play a vital role. 

Using targeted advertisements and leveraging social media can help reach possible buyers who are specifically interested in cemetery properties.

how does a cemetery make money

Frequently Asked Questions

How do cemeteries make money? Explore the most common queries:

What is the average cost of a burial plot?

The cost of a plot can vary widely depending on the location and type of plot. 

On average, plots can range from $1,000 to $4,000.

How do perpetual care funds work?

Perpetual care funds are endowments created to ensure the long-term maintenance of a cemetery. 

A portion of the plot sales is set aside in these funds, which are often managed by a board of trustees.

Are green burials more expensive?

Green burials can be less costly than traditional burials because they avoid costs associated with embalming and elaborate caskets. 

However, the cost can vary depending on the services and products chosen.


Understanding how do cemeteries make money and sustain themselves offers valuable insights for real estate investors, property sellers, and anyone interested in this unique sector. From traditional revenue streams like plot sales and perpetual care funds to diversified income sources such as cremation services and green burials, cemeteries employ a variety of strategies to maintain financial stability.

**NOTICE:  Please note that the content presented in this post is intended solely for informational and educational purposes. It should not be construed as legal or financial advice or relied upon as a replacement for consultation with a qualified attorney or CPA. For specific guidance on legal or financial matters, readers are encouraged to seek professional assistance from an attorney, CPA, or other appropriate professional regarding the subject matter.

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