A funeral director’s biggest capital outlay is on vehicles: hearse and limousines for mourners. If that funeral director does only a few funerals a week those vehicles spend a lot of time standing idle.

An enterprising entrepreneur who buys up a cluster of local funeral homes can establish a car pool and work those vehicles to death. He or she can do exclusive deals with suppliers of goods and services and begin to enjoy significant economies of scale. This ought to enable them to undercut boutique independent businesses and keep growing. This is how the supermarkets emptied our high streets.

The really big boys, Co-operative Funeralcare and Dignity Caring Funeral Services, even have central mortuaries where they can operate what amounts to a production line.

And yet the curious thing is that these outfits are among the most expensive in the industry.