Introducing Hearse+ for bereaved people who like to drive themselves

Charles Cowling

Panther Black Ford Galaxy FSJ Release

 

James Hardcastle of The Carriagemaster has enjoyed ‘strong successes’ with his self-drive hearse, a venture to which the teeming team here at the GFG-Batesvile Shard has given its unanimous and enthusiastic backing. No one ever went wrong, we like to say (over and over, the record shows), who sought to find ways to empower the bereaved. What’s more, we’ve met James and we think he is not just a good egg but an unimpeachable egg and a very astute businessperson. 

James has now launched what he calls Hearse+

It’s a Ford Galaxy private ambulance/removal vehicle (pictured above) in which 4 family members can drive their person who’s died on their last journey on Earth. They can spend as long as they want and take any route they want so long as they get to the ceremony venue on time. 

One of James’s people will drive the hearse to the family, give them a short course in driving it, and lob them the keys. 

Fuller detail here: Hearse+ Features and Benefits. The cost is around half that of a conventional hearse driven by someone else. 

If you’ve any questions for James, contact him or, if you would like him to respond publicly, leave a comment below. 

It goes without saying that the GFG has no commercial relationship with The Carriagemaster. 

 

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David Holmes
Guest

I can’t see why anyone would refuse? Business is business.

As for the Galaxy – it really is a cheap vehicle to hire, my local lowest cost car rental company charge more than that daily rate for their smallest car.

Evelyn
Guest
Evelyn

This seems like a spiffing idea to me – I didn’t realise you FDs hired out your vehicles, people and/or premises ad hoc! I feel very encouraged to start helping people to do their own funerals now I am seeing resources like these available.

Tracy Oleary
Guest

Great idea ! Please post some literature to pass on !

Charles
Guest

Certainly not. The GFG is a think tank, not a market place. Please do all deals behind my back.

Andrew Hickson
Guest

With a clear head this morning, and before rather than after a long day’s work, the difference is obvious. James, you are seeing ‘break-even’ as the cost of leasing, whereas I am seeing it as the cost of buying. In your scenario, you need £14K to start with, and at the end of your 3 years you have £8K, but you don’t have a vehicle. In order to keep your business running, you have to spend the money again on another vehicle. In my ‘hypothetical’ business plan above, yes I need £20K to start with, but I want to recoup… Read more »

James Hardcastle
Guest

The maths are laid bare and in the public domain. I can do no more…

Andrew Hickson
Guest

Not cynicism James. As I said above, I think it’s a great idea, I just don’t get the maths.

James Hardcastle
Guest

Your numbers are way off-beam Andrew – I never normally share commercial numbers, but will do to draw a line under the complete cynicism shown to the idea. I can bulk purchase a pre-registered Ford Galaxy for £14,135.08 – which will sit as an asset on the company’s balance sheet for 36 months. After those 36 months, the vehicle will go to auction where strong residuals will see it return circa £8,000. Therefore, the true ‘cost’ of that vehicle is actually £6,135.08 (not the £20k you mentioned) over 36 months – or £2,045.03 per annum. At a daily rental this… Read more »

Andrew Hickson
Guest

The list price of a new Galaxy is £24,800. Let’s say you sweet-talk the salesman and get it down to £20K. At £29 a day, that means it’s got to go out 690 times before it breaks even, and that’s before tax, insurance and all the other nasties that go with a vehicle. As Nick says, it’s difficult to make the maths work.

I too think it’s a great idea, it’s just the “from” I’m not keen on, in a world where we are striving for open pricing.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Why’s everyone getting confused about the price? The simple thing is to ring the telphone number and ask how much to hire it wherever you happen to be. If it’s too expensive, don’t hire it, and if it seems to cheap to be true, it’s not your problem!

May well be in touch in due course, James, I think it’s a brilliant idea and all power to your turbo. Meanwhile, hope your calculators are overheating with finger power!

Jenny Uzzell
Guest

I am also guessing that the £29 is for hire only and that any petrol used is paid for by the client, be it FD or family, which I presume sorts out the problems with the calculator?

Mark Godfrey
Guest
Mark Godfrey

Interesting concept. It’s probably not for everyone, but given the budget conscious nature of consumers, the state of the economy and the high costs associated with a traditional funeral I can definitely see a niche market for this. Plus, driving a Ford is second nature to most people.

I guess the £29 is for the very basic collection and hire of the vehicle from the depot only in the same way traditional private vehicle hire with say Hertz works.

Nick Gandon
Guest

Certainly an excellent idea, and one that will fulfill many a families’ wishes. I have my reservations regarding the price though. To hire a hearse with driver costs around £120 for a couple of hours. To hire a decked Galaxy to a family who might want to take auntie Flo halfway across the country for £29 strikes me as being the bargain of the century. I’m not knocking it in any way. I operate 3 Galaxies, and as Andrew points out, they are cracking vehicles. But, I can’t make the “math” work at £29 per day – and make any… Read more »

James Hardcastle
Guest

Thanks Nick – the calculator is solar-powered which given the weather…

Please do not confuse this with traditional hearse hire. This is a self-drive hire proposition so the only thing we are providing to the family is the Galaxy itself for the £29.

James

Poppy Mardall
Guest

This is a FAB idea!

David Holmes
Guest

Agreed, too cheap! As a flexible friendly FD, my hearse or Mercedes people mover can be rented for in Southern England. Only last week, for £100, I rented a Chapel of Rest for a morning to a Hindu family. Enlightened funeral firms will help families, not just sell them a package funeral.

Andrew Hickson (Kingfisher Funerals)
Guest

Galaxies are brilliant – ours has been a great investment, and we use it for about 60% of the funerals we arrange. They are discreet and flexible. They are perfect for funerals of babies and children because the family can sit either side of the coffin. They work well as hearses for anyone who doesn’t want to parade through the streets. They are very good removal vehicles. The only thing that puts me off is the price. ‘From £29’ looks suspicious to me. As does the 0845 number. The PDF doesn’t give a location (although the website says East Yorkshire),… Read more »

James Hardcastle
Guest

Valid questions Andrew – please let me explain further. The Carriage Master operates nationally and works with both funeral directors and families throughout the country. We are based in Howden and have vehicle holding sites in Baldock, Retford, Huddersfield and Scarborough. There is no need to be ‘suspicious’ of the 0845 number Andrew – it enables us to provide 24/7 support to our customers and makes customer call handling more efficient for all concerned. The daily hire rate for Hearse+ is £29 per calendar day when collected from one of our sites. We deliver and collect vehicles and charge for… Read more »