As more persons take up craft, gravestone makers see flat sales-A A +A
Saturday, November 3, 2012
THERE was no significant difference in the sales of tombstones this year compared to the previous year, according to a maker.
“Labor is becoming inexpensive at present because many are learning the craft. It would only take a couple of months to master the skill. Even bystanders are already interested in engraving,” said Jomar Tampon in Bisaya. The 28-year-old makes gravestones outside the Carreta Public Cemetery in Cebu City.
Tampon observed that sales rates differ every year but compared to last year, this year yielded lower.
Prices of materials like granite, marble and stainless have gone up.
For a year now, Tampon has worked for his uncle Albert V. Saga, 54, who’s been in the headstone business for over 30 years. Saga is also the president of a local organization of gravestone makers.
Tampon said it would cost at least P20,000 to start such a venture.
Takes 4 hours to make
A single gravestone has a standard measurement of 24 by 12 by four inches. Depending on the design, these are priced from P500 up to P10,000. Of that, about one-fourth goes to the maker as profit. Orders are made by piece or in bulk, and some of Cebu’s tombstones are taken all the way to Mindanao.
According to Tampon, customers prefer to buy in Cebu because of the lower prices and
the craftsmen’s skill.
Carreta is the center of the gravestone trade in Cebu, which also includes Mandaue and Calamba.
It takes about four hours to finish one gravestone. Tampon can make three to four pieces a day. Orders that are shipped reach buyers in five to seven days. Overnight requests cost more. For instance, an item that usually goes for P2,500 is priced at P3,500, if ordered overnight.
Tampon pointed out that their output is based on the demands of clients. They’re lucky if they can sell three pieces in a week on regular days. But in October and November, which are their peak seasons, their sales can reach an estimated P8,000 to P10,000 a day. They didn’t increase prices this year, though.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 03, 2012.