Own business: how to open a crematorium


In Russia, the number of people who want to be cremated after death is gradually growing. There is also a demand for pet cremation services. What do you need to open a crematorium in Russia?

The funeral business is considered one of the most profitable, so it is not surprising that the competition in this segment is huge. However, most entrepreneurs are interested in organizing traditional funerals. But, in addition to the burial of the remains in the ground, the cremation procedure is also quite widespread.

Cremation is common in many parts of the world. For example, there are over 1,500 crematoria operating in the US alone, and more than 350 crematoria have been built in the UK. Among the countries where cremation is preferred to traditional burial are Japan and China (about 98% of all deceased are cremated), the Czech Republic (95%), the UK (70%), Denmark (68%) and Sweden (65%).

Number of crematoria in different countries of the world

United Kingdom35669%
Czech Republic8095%

In our country, by 2018, there are only 24 operating crematoria. Most of them belong to the state. It should be noted right away that according to the current law “On Burial and Funeral Affairs” (N122-FZ), there are no clearly defined legal grounds for the functioning of private crematoria, therefore private crematoria exist de facto, not de jure. The share of cremation in Russia as a whole is low and amounts to only 10%. However, in those Russian cities where crematoria already exist, the percentage of cremation can reach up to 70% (Moscow, Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg) and even up to 95% (Norilsk).

What is a crematorium? In simple terms, a crematorium is a specially equipped building where the burning of the dead is carried out. As a rule, this building has two main rooms: in one, relatives say goodbye to the deceased, and the other is the so-called cremation hall. It is worth noting that the cremation procedure does not contradict the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church and Orthodox canons, although it is not welcomed by church hierarchs. Crematoria may even allow the procedure for the funeral of the dead.

During cremation, combustible coffins are used. During the cremation process, the temperature inside the seal is between 870 and 1090 degrees Celsius. Under the influence of such high temperatures, tissues and bones are destroyed into small fragments. The duration of this procedure depends on the model of the cremator. As a rule, the cremation of the body of an adult of average build takes from one and a half to two hours.

After the remains have cooled down, they are moved to a temporary container, where they are thoroughly crushed. In the future, they are poured into an urn made of wood, ceramics or bronze and transferred to the relatives or friends of the deceased. Sometimes the ashes in the urn are placed in a columbarium, buried in the ground, or scattered in a specially designated area.

Columbarium in Surgut

So, the need for the services of such a funeral institution is quite large, including in Russia. However, opening a crematorium requires a large start-up capital. Although such a project is highly profitable, it still pays off for a long time. Before you start looking for a site to build, carefully analyze the situation with funeral companies in your area, study the demand, population and death rate.

The three main problems faced by entrepreneurs planning such a business are: a large start-up capital (purchase of land for construction, expensive equipment, execution of all necessary documents) and the search for a land plot that would meet all the requirements and high competition with the traditional method of burial.

How and where to open a crematorium

Opening a crematorium in a small town with a population of less than 700 thousand people does not make sense – you simply will not recoup your costs. Experts recommend working for the region, but only in densely populated regions. In this case, the correct choice of the location of the crematorium is of great importance, so that it is convenient to get to it from various settlements. In cities with a population of over 700 thousand people, it will be profitable to open a crematorium only if there are no competitors. Funeral homes and ritual agencies are your indirect competitors.

Before construction begins, it is necessary to develop an architectural design for the future crematorium and obtain a large number of permits from local authorities. There are firms in Moscow that offer services for obtaining all the necessary documents. They act as intermediaries and deal with paperwork, including in other cities.

There are certain requirements for the location of the crematorium. It must comply with all regulatory requirements, be located in a specially designated area outside the city, in order to minimize the harmful impact on the environment. In some cases, in agreement with the municipal authorities, it is possible to open a crematorium within the city (but it must be located at least three kilometers from residential buildings). As a rule, the territory of the city cemetery is chosen for its placement.

The construction of a brick crematorium will be quite expensive and take a long time. Therefore, often the owners of crematoria try to save on construction, giving preference not to capital brick walls, but to buildings made of metal structures. The use of lightweight structures in the construction makes it possible to erect a complex of buildings from prefabricated elements in a short time.

Building a brick crematorium

The crematorium complex usually consists of one-story ritual and technical buildings, as well as a gallery that connects them. The ritual building includes a hall of farewells, a vestibule, a first-aid post, utility rooms. The technical building consists of a cremation hall, amenity, utility and technical rooms. You will also need to take care of parking for cars.

When a crematorium is opened by a company that already has its own funeral business, it can reduce costs by building only a cremation hall. As a place of farewell to relatives of the deceased, you can use the premises in an existing building (usually near a cemetery). On the territory of the crematorium, tiled paving is laid, benches are installed, lawns and flower beds are laid out.

What equipment is needed to open a crematorium

As equipment for the cremation room, you will need special furnaces. In most cases, they consist of two chambers. In the largest chamber, the body is cremated with a coffin. In its second section, all combustion products (harmful impurities, solid smoke-forming particles) are burned out of the exhaust gases. Thus, only heated air comes out of the furnace pipes without traces of smoke and burning and an unpleasant odor. The coffin is loaded into the oven using hydraulic trolleys of various models or automated trolleys with a railroad track (for large capacity cremation ovens).

In addition to ovens, you will need a cold store where bodies are stored awaiting cremation, and a cremator, which first removes unburned metal objects (for example, dentures) from the cremated remains using a trap magnet, and then grinds the ashes. The best cremation equipment that meets the most stringent environmental requirements is made in the USA, the Czech Republic and Germany. It is durable enough. On average, such machines require major repairs after 5-6 thousand cremations (about 3-5 years of operation). The repair consists in replacing the refractory materials of the hearth and roof of the main cremation chamber, the refractory materials of the afterburner chamber, the exhaust gas outlet and the lining of the burners. You can carry out major repairs on your own or call a specialist from abroad.

The list of additional equipment includes stainless steel and aluminum ash trays, temporary plastic or cardboard containers for ashes, signs to attach to these containers or urns, hand-held magnets for removing metal objects from the ashes, brushes for removing ashes from the oven, tools for maintenance of cremation equipment.

For the personnel of the crematorium, overalls are ordered, which consist of a mask, goggles, respirators, work overalls, gloves, and aprons. The form can also be a jumpsuit made of dense cotton fabric, stockings for shoes and a hood. It protects against dust and dirt, and specialized aprons with aluminum inserts and protective sleeves are used when removing ashes and cleaning the oven to protect against burns.

Equipment needed to open a crematorium

The cremation process takes, as mentioned above, more than an hour. From the ritual building, the coffin, mounted on a manual transfer cart, is transported along the covered gallery to the technical building – to the cremation hall. Then it is transferred to the loading window, through which it is loaded onto the hearth of the furnace. Upon completion of the cremation, the products of combustion are collected in a special container in the unloading window, and then they enter the grinding area. After that, they are poured into the urn, which is stored in the technical building until it is issued to the client. The natural gas consumption of one furnace is about 25 m3/hour.

The cheapest equipment for cremation will cost from 5 to 10 million rubles. High-quality equipment that meets all the requirements costs two to two and a half times more. It will take at least 25-30 million rubles to open a crematorium. This amount includes the purchase of furnaces and other equipment, the purchase or lease of land, the construction of a crematorium, and the wage fund. The average payback period of the enterprise is at least 4-5 years.

Although the cost of cremation is about 4-5 thousand rubles (according to data for Moscow and St. Petersburg), ritual accessories are additionally paid: a coffin, a bed and a pillow in the coffin, a mourning blanket, etc., transportation, decoration of the farewell hall, musical accompaniment, etc. .d. As a result, in order to cremate the deceased, a minimum of 15-20 thousand rubles is required, and VIP services can cost almost 200 thousand rubles. The organizational structure of such an enterprise includes managers (director), accountant, mechanic, locksmith, furnace operator (at least 6-8 people), manager and watchman.

Cremation services for animals

Opening a crematorium is a very difficult, albeit profitable business. Due to the need to have a large start-up capital or attract investors to open it, entrepreneurs are trying to find niches that are still empty and less expensive. These include, for example, a crematorium for pets. This is a very promising area, because Russian law prohibits burying the bodies of pets in the ground. Moreover, they can not be thrown into the trash.

Meanwhile, there are no specialized pet cemeteries in most Russian cities. Therefore, cremation is the best option for the disposal of the remains. In the West  , animal crematoria  are quite widespread. They offer not only services for the disposal of the remains, but also for the storage of their ashes and even the manufacture of various memorable “souvenirs” (pendants with dust particles, special jugs and urns, etc.). Gradually, such enterprises began to appear in Russian cities. Now they exist in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tomsk, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and other large cities of the country.

Opening a crematorium for pets is much easier and cheaper than a regular one. Since animal cremation is a veterinary activity, it does not require licensing. True, you cannot buy special equipment for cremation in our country. Furnaces and everything else will have to be ordered in Europe (Germany, Great Britain). But even in this case, they will cost an order of magnitude less than equipment for conventional crematoria. And you can be sure of the quality of the equipment and its compliance with all environmental standards and requirements.

Cremation services for animals

In addition, the seller will send all the certificates and certificates for the equipment. The cost of animal cremation equipment depends on the capacity and volume of the furnace. A furnace with a capacity of 100 kilograms, two meters long and one wide costs about 400-500 thousand rubles. The requirements for the premises are the same as for conventional crematoria. At first, you can do without the columbarium (storage urns with ashes). For such a crematorium, there is no need for a ritual building, so it is combined with a technical one. In the future, it will be possible to expand the area and offer additional services to customers.

Animal crematoria offer two options for animal cremation: regular procedure and individual. The latter differs from the usual one in that the oven is thoroughly cleaned before cremation to prevent the remains from mixing with the ashes of other animals. The body of the animal is placed in a cardboard box wrapped inside with polyethylene.

Then the box is either sent to the freezer if you need to postpone the procedure, or immediately to the oven. The oven heats up very quickly, the box burns first at 600 degrees Celsius, and then the temperature doubles. The smoke that is emitted during combustion is burnt with additional gas. The output is carbon monoxide and a handful of ash, which is collected in a special plastic container and then given to the owner.

If desired, for an additional fee, you can replace the plastic container with a special urn. The whole procedure of cremation from ignition of the oven to its complete cooling takes about six hours. The body completely turns to ashes in three hours, the same amount will be required for the furnace to cool completely, since its walls are about ten centimeters thick.

In the West, the production and sale of author’s urns for storing ashes is an additional source of income for crematoria. However, Russian customers, as a rule, prefer not to keep the ashes of a four-legged pet at home, but bury it in the ground, which does not contradict Russian laws and sanitary standards.

Urns for Animal Ashes

The services of crematoria for pets are in great demand, but advertising is still indispensable. First of all, it is necessary to place ads in veterinary clinics of the city. As practice shows, it is there that owners of deceased animals first of all turn to with questions about where they can bury their pet. Many companies actively use the Internet to promote their services. For example, the Tomsk crematorium for pets offers a special “virtual memory” service on its website: owners of dead animals can place an obituary with a photo of their pet in the electronic gallery.

The cost of cremation is, on average, about 1000-2000 rubles, depending on the weight of the animal, or one and a half times more when it comes to individual cremation. Burning the body of a small animal (for example, a cat) costs about 500 rubles, a small rodent – about 300 rubles.

Opening a crematorium for animals pays off within 1-2 years, depending on the region, cost of services and demand. It would seem that this business does not depend on the seasonality factor in any way, since animals die of old age or disease throughout the year. However, the owners of such companies note that their services are most in demand in the period from late autumn to mid-spring, and in the warm season there is a significant decline. It is connected with the fact that, despite strict prohibitions, the owners of cats and dogs still prefer to bury dead animals in the ground and turn to the services of crematoria only in the cold season, when the ground freezes and it becomes impossible to dig a grave. One of the directions for expanding such a business is the organization of a plant for the disposal of biological waste.


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