Letters From the Dead: A New Business Idea
By Steve Gillman
This page presents a simple money making idea, which I call
"letters from the dead." A business based on this would
mail out letter cards and more for people--after they have died.
As far as I know there is no existing business doing this, so
any mention of profit potential is purely hypothetical. I don't
even have any additional resources at the end of the page for
Scenario: Every year you send that birthday card to your grandson,
but what about after you are gone? He will miss you thoughtful
and kind words, but only if the cards stop coming. What if you
could send a letter to a friend or family member years after
you have passed on? You can, with Letters From the Dead...
Okay, you'll have to work on that sales pitch, and the name
may not be the best for the business, but you are probably getting
the idea. In your marketing you'll want to get people excited
by the "immortality" aspect. They can have letters,
cards, video and more delivered to family and friends many years
after they pass on. Your customer might be able to offer advice
to a child at different stages of her life, or encourage a friend
from time to time--even ten years after dying.
Your customer supplies the letters, cards, recordings or videos--or
you might help with these for an additional fee. Letters would
have to be within the weight allowed for a single first class
stamp, or charged extra. Cards and letters would be tagged somehow
to indicate when it will be sent, which might be a set number
of days after death, or on a recurring date, like one letter
each birthday or on the anniversary of the death.
How Much Can You Make?
You would probably want to offer various packages. A standard
one might be 100 letters mailed out for $250. Naturally your
pricing has to allow for possible postage rate increases. You
have no way to know when a customer will die and a first class
stamp may cost three times as much when it happens. Limiting
the mailings to up to ten years after death, with a renewal charge
after that could reduce this risk, or you might charge according
to how far out the mailings are planned, with a substantial premium
for those which are planned for five years or more past the date
If your company eventually sold 10 "standard plans"
daily, five days per week, at $250 each, the gross annual revenue
of $650,000 should cover overhead and postage and leave a couple
hundred thousand in profits.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
You might sell letters, cards and other supplies for additional
revenue. Delivery of small packages or even flowers are possibilities
as well. (Advertising: "Flowers From The Dead: send your
love from the grave.") "Emails from the grave"
could be largely automated and with a very low cost, but you
can't guarantee deliverability of course, due to changing their
email addresses and spam filters.
There is one major problem to be solved here (okay, perhaps
a few). How do you efficiently track clients so you know when
they die. You might send an email that they have to respond to
twice per year. Regular and systematic Google searches of client
names could pull up online obituaries. It is important to have
a system that can be mostly automated to keep the costs down.
You might be holding those letters and keeping track of a client
for forty years or more.
Qualifications / Requirements
It will help if you have the ability to use the shock and
humor value for free publicity while still maintaining the seriousness
of the business and sensitivity in dealing with dying people
(they will be some of your customers).
Ask around and see if anyone would pay for this, or what parts
of the service they would pay for (videos might be the most popular).