Most other major purchases we make in our lives, we are always cost-conscious, and will shop around for the best price. A funeral can be a huge expense, but a purchase that until more recent times, a family would not ask upfront about the total cost. It was almost deemed to be undignified to be asking a funeral director ‘how much’?
Now folks are very mindful consumers, and the Internet has provided a wonderful tool with which we can price-shop with some anonymity. What is happening without a shadow of doubt is that families now want to ask ‘how much’ and to compare costs.
Cremation is the new buzz in the death care sector right now, as more and more families decide that cremation is a preferable alternative to an expensive traditional funeral.
So, we have put 5 tips together here to help you understand how best to compare cremation costs between cremation service providers.
#1 Compare like-for-like cremation packages
Ensure you are comparing the same type of cremation service package between different providers. Whether you opt for a cremation memorial or a direct cremation, check that what is included from each provider is exactly the same. Some providers bundle together services and include things like the cremation container, a cremation urn and even death certificates. Whereas other providers may appear to be offering a discount cremation price, but they have not included basic items/services that you will require. Unless you happen to have a cremation container at home, you WILL require the cardboard container for cremating the body, yet some providers charge an additional $50-$100 for this!
#2 Not all funeral service providers are created equal
Understand that different funeral service locations have a different pricing structure. A large traditional funeral home with a fleet of vehicles, a large staff and premises will have a larger overhead that they need to maintain. Corporate funeral locations such as Dignity Memorial and the Neptune Society also tend to have a higher pricing structure for cremation services as they have profit margins and share-holders to appease. You will often find that the small local independent funeral home will be able to offer you more affordable cremation prices and have more flexibility on flexing their prices.
#3 Seek out cremation specialists
As cremation has become more popular in the last few years, some funeral service providers have opted to specialize in the field of cremations. This means they have set up separate cremation businesses focusing solely on cremation, and therefore in many cases, offering more competitive cremation prices. In several states established independent funeral firms have set up a state-wide cremation society to meet the demand for simple and affordable cremation services. Many of these ask a small membership fee to join and access reduced cost cremation packages.
#4 Know the ‘Funeral Rule’ and your right to be given cremation prices
Until quite recently funeral homes really did not like disclosing prices, especially on their websites. On many occasion, I have even phoned a funeral home who have still been reluctant to disclose a price for a cremation. According to federal regulation a funeral home MUST disclose prices from their General Price List (GPL) when you make an inquiry. Whether in person, by phone or by email. If they fail to do so, they are in breach of the Federal Trade Commission’s ‘Funeral Rule’ and you can report them to the FTC. The FTC conducts surveys annually to test compliance and nearly every year they are a number of funeral homes who are fined for non-compliance.
If you do some research and compare cremation prices between 5 funeral homes in an area you may be surprised by what different responses you receive, and how much the cost can vary.
As this is a purchase that is generally made under duress at a difficult time, and often with no prior experience of this type of purchase, we make very vulnerable consumers of death care services.
#5 Use a cremation cost comparison service
There are a few ways that you can do a cremation cost comparison in an area. You can use a service such as Everest Funeral Planning & Concierge Service. However, there is a fee for this service. You can use a service like the DFS Memorials network. At DFS Memorials we researched and compared direct cremation prices in an area to select an affordable cremation provider to represent the network in an area. This means we can quickly connect you with your local, independent funeral home that offers a low-cost cremation service. You will also find today that some independent funeral homes have conducted research in their own area and published a local cremation price comparison chart on their website.
Hopefully these 5 tips will help you understand how best to compare cremation costs whether you are preplanning and considering purchasing a cremation plan, or you have an immediate need for an affordable cremation service.