Daniel Mercer. his wife Nicky, sisters in-law Maria and Noulla or other trusted family members. But it will usually be Daniel, unless he’s out on a funeral. This is very much his ‘baby’, he opened the doors of his company at Baring Road in November 2017, after learning his trade working for both independent and corporate funeral companies and realising he wanted to offer the people of the area the service he felt they deserved.
Daniel’s route into the world of funerals was perhaps an unusual one – he had worked in the Public sector for many years before first beginning part-time funeral work alongside another colleague on their days off. The previously unknown world of undertaking was fascinating to him though, and when he decided for personal reasons to change careers, he began working full time for a large London funeral company.
Daniel became skilled in all aspects of funeral arranging and directing, and went on to work for other funeral directors in the area before eventually deciding to go it alone. He spent months looking for suitable premises in which to establish his own company, and when he found Baring Road shop vacant with the essential rear access he required, he set about designing and creating the light attractive setting he wanted for his business.
The smart grey exterior paintwork complements the grey brickwork, and the glass door and large picture windows with discrete frosting enable passers-by to see Daniel seated at his small desk in the corner and the attractive silver wallpaper on the internals wall as they walk past – it’s very indicative of the openness of Daniel’s approach to his work.
“I want people to be able to see in and to see there’s nothing intimidating in here,” he says. This transparency extends to his pricing policy – all prices are easy to find on the home page of the website, and he offers either a ‘Simplicity Funeral’ direct cremation service, or three different traditional funeral options, all clearly laid out with the varying costs and services explained. Unlike some other companies, there are no restrictions on dates or times according to the amount a family pays for a funeral– Daniel feels strongly that this is immoral. “We are being paid to carry out a service for a family,” he says, “Who are we to dictate when it will take place?”
A standard coffin is included in each of the Daniel Mercer traditional funeral options, as is collecting the person who died from the place of death, embalming (if required), dressing and preparing them, spending time in the chapel of rest, and a choice of either a grey or black hearse, enabling families to have a clear understanding of the full cost of the service and products they are selecting, without additional costs being added on for various elements. This was something that Daniel found difficult to understand when working for previous employers, and he was determined to be completely straightforward when pricing his own services. His prices are very good value for the personal service you will receive, and he charges fairly without adding a large mark up to additional services such as horse drawn hearses or alternative coffins.
Daniel’s approach is to treat each family as he would want to be treated himself, and he goes above and beyond what you might expect from a funeral director. He listens carefully when finding out about the person who has died, and can often make suggestions that help families tailor the day to make it entirely personal and memorable. One example of this was when he found out that he was carrying out a funeral for someone who was a regular in a local pub, he suggested that the funeral procession went past the pub on the way to the ceremony, which the family were delighted to agree to. Unbeknown to the family though, Daniel then went and spoke to the landlord and arranged for everyone at the pub on the day of the funeral to be waiting outside to raise their glasses in a toast as the funeral cars drove by. A more personal and touching moment can hardly be imagined, and it cost nothing.
Daniels’s thoughtfulness extends to not charging a fee to families who call him during the night or at weekends to come and collect the person who has died. He feels strongly that this should be included as part of his service, “after all, it’s not the family’s fault that their relative died at that time”.
As part of his service, Daniel always goes to see each family a couple of days before the funeral to listen to how they feel about the approaching event and to ensure any last-minute changes are attended to. He also gives each family a little candle in a glass candle-holder that they can light in memory of the person who has died whenever they feel the need.
Daniel is determined to ensure that families choosing his Simplicity Funeral service feel that their relative is treated with the same dignity and respect as any other person in his care, and he offers them the opportunity to come and spend time in the chapel of rest the day before the cremation to say a personal goodbye. The family will also have the option of coming to the premises to see the coffin being placed in the hearse and paged away from the building by Daniel as it is taken to the crematorium on the day of the cremation. “I always take Families loved ones to the crematorium in a hearse,” he says. “I believe that’s the right thing to do whether there is a ceremony taking place or not.”
Wholly personal service from a man with huge integrity and a real sense of what is the right thing to do. A dedication to providing bereaved families with the best possible experience, and a willingness to think creatively of ways to express individuality without adding to the burden of cost. Daniel is a strongly principled man who values transparency and openness in all aspects of his work, and this makes this small company stand out from other funeral directors.
Care and respect, both for the person who has died and is in Daniel’s care, and for the family who have engaged him to help with the funeral. Daniel has put a huge amount of work into getting his business exactly the way he wanted it to be, and he has the highest of standards. His premises are lovely, the vehicles and staff he uses are superb, and he attends to every detail of every funeral himself.
It is probably Daniel himself – his previous career has embedded the need for integrity in every aspect of his work and he brings this same approach of being totally upright and honorable to his work as a funeral director.
He has a good eye for detail too, his premises are decorated beautifully with tasteful grey Farrow and Ball paint and complementing silver flock wall paper on feature walls in the arranging room and the spacious chapel of rest, and he has had charcoal coloured velvet covers made for his wheeled biers. The immaculate kitchen area is accessible from the chapel of rest, so families can make refreshments as needed when spending time with their relative, and an alternative small room can be used as a chapel if visitors have restricted mobility (there is a small step leading up to the main chapel of rest area). His mortuary is impeccable, and he employs a skilled embalmer when required, using only the best embalming materials.
This is a fine new business established in South East London. Daniel has learned his trade from some excellent funeral directors, and he has also learned how not to be with bereaved families from some others! He has blended this knowledge to create a transparently good funeral company with personal service embedded in its ethos.
Daniel’s refreshing approach to pricing, his standards for every funeral and his determination to treat each family as he would his own bodes well for his future success, and we wish him all the very best. We are delighted to add Daniel Mercer Family Funeral Directors Ltd to our list of recommended funeral directors.