This is how much it costs to open your own funeral parlour in South Africa

Business Insider SA
  • There are an estimated 10,000 legal funeral operators in South Africa, generating revenue up to R10 billion a year.
  • Business Insider looked at how much it costs to open a funeral parlour in South Africa. 
  • It can cost anything from R600,000 to R3 million, depending on the location and which company you choose. 
  • For more, go to Business Insider SA.

Funerals in South Africa are big business, with around 10,000 legal funeral operators in a market that generates an estimated revenue of up to R10 billion per year.

Although it’s possible to start your own funeral home, there are some compliance boxes you’ll need to check. Not just anyone can legally prepare a dead body, and there are several building regulations you’ll need to abide by, more so if you run a crematorium. It’s a process that can cost several million, and take a couple of years to finalise.

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If you have no prior experience in the funeral world, the easiest entry point is probably to purchase a franchise from an existing brand. There are several franchisors who’ll sell you a turnkey funeral parlour business.

This provides assistance with the admin and training associated with registering deaths, dealing with the Health Department, purchasing graves, arranging religious ceremonies, and even cremations, if your premises allows.

All of this comes at a cost, though. Depending on the site, and which company you choose, you’re looking at a minimum of R600,000 to start your own franchise funeral parlour. Some franchises can cost well over R3 million.

Two of the biggest funeral home franchises in South Africa, Doves and Martin’s Funerals, offer similar propositions for prospective franchisees.

Martins Funerals

Martin’s Funerals has humble beginnings in 1989 as a home business in Randfontein, where the owners built a small cooling facility on a farm to house bodies.

They later formed partnerships with mining groups, insurance companies, and burial societies, which allowed them to further expand the business.

Today, they operate 50 outlets across the country, and they’re looking to expand by taking on new franchisees.

They currently have funeral home franchise opportunities available Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Free State.

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Martin’s Funerals charge an initial franchise fee of just over R100 000. After paying this fee users must pay set up costs of a minimum of R527 000, depending on the location.

They also require the payment of ongoing management fees which total 10%, and are split between management and marketing.

They offer full undertaker training as part of the deal, and are looking for self-motivated business people with “the necessary dedication”. The company is also an accredited member of the Franchise Association of South Africa.


Doves started in 1883, and is one of the largest funeral directing companies in the country.

They have more than 160 branches across all nine provinces, and are accepting applications from new prospective franchisees.

They offer the full ambit of funeral services, from burials and memorials to embalming and cremations.

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The initial franchise fee for their turnkey funeral parlour business offering is R150,000. This includes operation manuals, initial training, support and advice, assistance with site selection, and Doves branding.

The next step requires an investment of between R950,000 and R2.9 million, depending on the site. This includes branding, equipment, shop fitting, furniture, and opening stock.

This article has been updated to accurately reflect the number of branches Martin's funerals has. 

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