Maintenance Q&As

What are common maintenance programs needed for managing a large cemetery?

Answered August 22 2019

Cemetery maintenance is a very specific subset of the wider maintenance industry. It involves the general upkeep of cemeteries, as well as preparing new gravesites and providing visitor amenities.

cemetery maintenance, upkeep, cmms

Why do cemetery maintenance?

Cemetery maintenance is not typically thought of as something that needs to be taken care of, but is very important nonetheless. Cemeteries can carry a negative connotation, sometimes stirring up sad memories for people. However, cemeteries can be very sentimental places for a lot of people.

Cemetery maintenance personnel are therefore responsible for creating and maintaining a unique space – one that is welcoming, clean, and organized.

What kinds of tasks are included?

The Cemetery Services industry is surprisingly large. With nearly 38,000 employees, there are 7,500 for profit cemeteries and over 17,000 municipal, military, religious, or non-profit cemeteries in the U.S.

Maintaining nearly 25,000 cemeteries nationwide involves a lot of different types of work, but the most common are lawn maintenance, amenities, and adding gravesites.

Lawn Maintenance

The most apparent task that cemetery maintenance entails is lawn maintenance. Since grass spans most cemeteries, regular mowing and tree maintenance are crucial.

In addition to mowing, cemetery maintenance personnel also must perform seasonal clean-ups, irrigation, soil testing and fertilizing, and pest control.

Amenities Upkeep

Cemeteries act as both a place of rest for the deceased and as a place of visitation for sorrowful family members. Adding amenities such as trashcans, benches, pathways, etc. make transform a cemetery into a visitor-friendly and welcoming location.

Amenities are also important for instances where the cemetery is a historic site. Proper maintenance of historic burial sites will preserve these cemetery landscapes and any monuments within them.

Adding Gravesites

Preparing the grounds for additional gravesites is also a responsibility that often falls to the cemetery maintenance crew. It is important here for maintenance staff to have a strong understanding of the cemetery as they continue to expand the number and location of grave sites in an organized way.

Who pays for cemetery maintenance?

Cemeteries often face funding issues. They sell plots, but take care of the property forever. Many maintenance funds don’t generate enough income to cover all of the expenses that cemeteries necessitate.

Under-funding is common across cemetery types, but public cemeteries, such as national, municipal, and military cemeteries, are particularly subject to this finance struggle. As cemeteries become full, no more plots can be sold. Thus, cash flow drops significantly.

Historical sites and large enough cemeteries can facilitate tours as an additional source of income. Other cemeteries, on the other hand, simply rely on external sources of funding.

Trusts, investments, and donations all determine the type of preventive maintenance program that a cemetery is able to sustain.

Asset Management Questions & Answers