It is common knowledge that we are experiencing a cremation trend in the United States but maybe not as readily acknowledged that there has also been a growing demand for direct cremation services.
A direct cremation is a simple cremation without any ceremony or additional services being offered by the funeral services provider.
Some funeral service providers refer to it as a “direct cremation with no ceremonial services”. The deceased is collected from the place of death, transferred to a crematory and/or funeral home, all the legal documentation is completed and then the deceased is cremated and the cremated remains returned directly to the family.
The growing demand for this type of cremation service is largely due to the need for more affordable and simple disposition services. More families either cannot afford an expensive funeral service, or simply do not want to spend unnecessarily on funeral costs. Aside from the cost factor, more families do not want fussy traditional funeral rituals and more families are dispersed than living together in a state or city, so a simple cremation can provide an effective and efficient means to take care of the remains of a loved one.
Which funeral service providers offer direct cremation services?
I believe it is fair to say that nearly all funeral service locations offer a “direct cremation” service on their General Price List. It is often towards the bottom of the price list. It can be the lowest cost cremation service on a price list as it involves the most minimal services from the funeral location. Historically it has not been promoted as a service offering as many funeral directors feel it does not reflect the level of service they would prefer to offer a family. And, of course, there is not the same level of profit in a direct cremation!
The funeral profession, in the main, still feel that we need the ritual of a funeral service in order to have closure on a death. Although I can acknowledge that this is very important to some individuals, some families today do not feel that an immediate ritual is necessary.
Some funeral providers have opted to focus on cremation, and sometimes indeed direct cremation, as the core of their funeral businesses. These providers will clearly promote their direct cremation packages and prices.
Independent Cremation Societies have emerged offering a variety of cremation services, including direct cremation. Service Corporation International has its cremation brands with National Cremation and Neptune Society. A number of online cremation networks or portals have emerged that help you arrange a direct cremation online at a lower cost. These vary between networks of independent funeral homes such as DFS Memorials, Parting.com and Cremation.com who all openly disclose the funeral homes that participate in their network and direct you immediately to the local funeral home.
In difference to these networks there are also online portals trying to capitalize on the opportunity to resell cremation services into funeral businesses at a cost and not disclosing which funeral company you would be dealing with. Heritage Cremation Provider, Legacy Cremation Services and Simple Cremation Online are examples of such portals.
Direct cremation is going to provide the simplest and most economical disposition method for those who either do not want any services, or cannot afford services. As this market grows there will be more and more competition between funeral service providers, and it will be imperative to ensure you compare prices and inclusive services and check exactly WHO you are dealing with.