Guide to affordable cremation services in Philadelphia

Are you are looking to arrange a cremation in Greater Philadelphia on a budget and do not want to spend unnecessarily on funeral costs?  This brief guide to arranging affordable cremation services looks at the different types of cremation options available and compares cremation costs.  Our aim is save families the hassle of shopping around and researching to find an affordable cremation service, especially at a time of great distress.

Cremation is becoming a popular alternative now in Pennsylvania as more families choose cremation as a more affordable funeral option.  Still many families are unsure about what cremation options there are, and how they can save money by opting for a cremation.   Below we have outlined the four main cremation disposition options.

What cremation options are offered by funeral homes in Philadelphia?

A cremation is the disposition process and replaces an earth burial of the body in a casket.  The cremated remains can still be interred in a grave plot if this is what the family wishes.  However, the process of cremation generally eliminates the need for a casket, embalming, a full cemetery plot and a grave liner.  This can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Cremation funeral service

A cremation funeral can proceed just the same as a traditional funeral, with the deceased present during a funeral service, and the cremation is conducted afterwards.   There are other options whereby a cremation can be conducted but no services held with the deceased in attendance.

Cremation memorial service

A cremation memorial service can be held with the cremation remains present.  The funeral home will conduct the cremation and then a service can be held with the cremation urn.  The difference is that you do not necessarily have to have the service at the funeral home.  A service, or life celebration, can be conducted just about anywhere as a cremation urn is easily transportable.

Cremation with a private viewing

There are also options where the cremation proceeds immediately (after the legal 24-hour waiting period) but a private family viewing can be conducted before the cremation.  This is suitable for families who want a no-fuss cremation but would like to say a final goodbye.

Direct Cremation

A direct cremation is where the deceased is cremated, with no services or viewing, and the cremated remains are returned directly to the family. It is the least expensive cremation option – sometimes referred to as a basic or simple cremation.

How much does a cremation cost in Philadelphia?

As I have outlined above, because there are so many different options for cremation, it is not that easy to quote an average cost for cremation in Philadelphia.  It is fair to say a cremation can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,500 depending upon the type of services and the provider you select. It is possible to arrange a simple direct cremation for $999, yet a cremation with a service is likely to cost at least $2,000.

How can I compare cremation costs in Philadelphia?

Comparing cremation costs is an important aspect of ensuring you are getting value for money in your funeral purchase.  It is not the easiest thing to do as many funeral homes do not put prices on their websites, and even calling for prices does not always deliver a simple outline of costs.  To compare cremation costs, it is important to make sure you are comparing like-for-like services.  Some providers offer cremation packages, so just check what IS included.

Finding an affordable cremation provider in Philadelphia

The chart above outlines some of the cremation companies and funeral homes in Philadelphia that specifically offer more affordable cremation services.  Your DFS Memorials provider, a local family-owned business, offers a very competitive direct cremation package.

DFS Memorials – Philadelphia (215) 310-0777 – Call with any questions you may have

Direct Cremation $1,095 – Traditional Funeral $4,450 (inc. casket)

Can I preplan a cremation?

Yes, cremation plans are available and can be arranged through a funeral home.  Do note that the low cost prices are generally an ‘at need’ price and that preplanning even a basic cremation is likely to cost more than this.  You need to speak with a funeral services provider as the cost of a cremation plan can depend upon your age at the time of starting the plan, and how the plan is funded.

Is there any financial assistance with cremation costs in Philadelphia?

In these tough times more families are running into difficulties covering funeral expenses.  Each state and county has its own legislation and budget for financial assistance and indigent burials. There is the $255 Social Security death benefit (if you qualify) and veterans are entitled to some benefits.  You need to check with your county Social or Human Services Department to inquire what assistance may be available to you.  A low cost direct cremation is your best option if you need a funeral on a budget.

Hopefully this information can assist you make an informed decision about which cremation service providers offer the best value cremation service in Philadelphia.

DFS Memorials Philadelphia serves all of Philadelphia county, Delaware County and Center City, South Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, Lower North Philadelphia, Upper North Philadelphia, Bridesburg-Kensington-Richmond, Roxborough-Manayunk, Germantown-Chestnut Hill, Olney-Oak Lane, Near Northeast Philadelphia, & Far Northeast Philadelphia.

Arranging cremation services in Des Moines, Iowa

Want to know how to arrange a dignified funeral in Des Moines at an affordable cost? This short guide will help you through the funeral-planning process and answer questions about the cost of cremation in Des Moines, how to choose a cremation services provider, what you need to know about cremation and how to save money by arranging affordable cremation services.

Why choose cremation services?

cremation-services-des-moinesCremation offers a less expensive and more versatile alternative to a burial service.  Opting for cremation services can save you around 50% (or sometimes more) on the cost of traditional burial services.  No casket is required, or embalming (unless specifically required) and there is no immediate need for a cemetery plot or burial vault.  Eliminating these products and services can save thousands of dollars.

A cremation can offer a more flexible alternative that can accommodate families who have moved away from Iowa, or when a funeral cannot be held straight away.  Cremation also offers a greater range of personalization options with a whole array of ash-scattering ceremony possibilities, and various cremation artifact products.

What different cremation service options do I have?

There are generally three main categories of cremation service options:

cremation-services-des-moines-iaCremation Funeral Service : This is where a cremation is held after the funeral service. The deceased is generally present during the services and transferred to the crematory after the funeral service.

Cremation Memorial Service : This is held after the cremation.  The memorial service can be held with, or without, the cremated remains present.  Often this can take the form of an ash-scattering or cremation urn interment ceremony.

Direct Cremation Service : The cremation is conducted without any service or ceremony and the cremated remains are transferred directly back to the family.

There are variations on these cremation service options, such as options offering a family a private viewing prior to cremation, or enabling family to view (or commence) the cremation process.

How much does a cremation cost?

The cost of a cremation can vary considerably and this will depend upon the type of cremation service you opt for.  A full-service cremation with a ceremony will cost in the region of $4,995, depending upon the length of service held and what kind of casket you purchase or rent.  A direct cremation will cost between $895 and $1,105.

Direct cremation services in Des Moines

If you are working to a budget for your funeral expenses, you may wish to consider a direct cremation.  A direct cremation is the cheapest cremation option and includes everything to take care of the immediate disposition of the deceased but no viewing or services are held.  The deceased is cremated in a simple cremation container and then the cremated remains are made available for the family to collect (or if requested delivered/mailed).  A direct cremation can be arranged online or by phone without any need for you to visit a funeral home.

Comparing cremation costs in Des Moines

All funeral homes have a general price list (GPL) that itemizes all services and charges.  Legally a funeral home must provide you with a copy of their GPL if you request cremation price information, either in person or by phone.

When comparing costs and services check what IS included, especially with a budget direct cremation package.  Is a copy of the death certificate included?  Is the cremation permit an additional cash advance item or included?  What about if an out-of-hours collection is required, or collection from a residential address? Is there an additional daily refrigeration charge if the cremation does not proceed after 48-hours?

What legally do I need to know about arranging a cremation in Des Moines?

cremation-plan-des-moinesThere are a few legal requirements that you need to be aware of if you are considering cremation. Firstly, the legal next-of-kin must all sign the ‘Cremation Authorization Form’ before a cremation can proceed.

In Iowa there is a mandatory 48-hour wait period after death before the cremation can proceed, however, the doctor must sign and fill out the cause of death, and the county health department must issue a permit to cremate.  The deceased will be refrigerated during this period, and longer if required, however you should be aware that many cremation packages will only include refrigeration for up to 5 days and will charge you a daily rate thereon.

In Iowa death certificates cost $20.00 each.  This is often considered a ‘cash advance’ item and not included in a quoted cremation price.  The funeral director will generally obtain the death certificates on your behalf.

Can I preplan a cremation?

Yes you can prearrange a cremation.  Advance planning can help to ensure you get the most appropriate service provider for your needs, and can save surviving family the financial and emotional burden at the time of death.  There are various options open to you to plan ahead so consult with your preferred services provider.

What can we do with the cremated remains?

As mentioned earlier there is a versatility on what you can do with cremated remains.  You can inter a cremation urn in a cemetery plot or niche, keep an urn at home, scatter the remains or create a cremation artifact such as a cremation diamond, glass paperweight, bird bath or memorial reef ball to name but a few!

The deceased had no life insurance – is there any help with cremation costs?

Sadly there is little financial aid that supports those families that find themselves struggling with funeral costs.  Most counties do have a budget for indigent funerals but this is generally for those individuals who truly are indigent.  Some counties do have limited funds to help low-income families with cremation costs but this can vary county by county.  You would need to make inquiries with Polk County Human Services Department to find out if any assistance is available to you.  In these cases often the most basic of funeral services will be supported, with limited control over what happens.  A low cost direct cremation from a budget provider can be arranged for $895.

There is also a $255 lump sum death benefit payment from Social Security (if qualifying) and your funeral director will assist you with submitting this claim.

What is “no-cost cremation”?

Some funeral homes now offer this option.  This is referring to whole body donation whereby after the donation is complete the remains are cremated (free of charge) and then returned to the family or scattered.   Generally funeral homes can get a referral fee from the whole body donation organization, plus they sometimes charge a transportation fee.  So all-in-all they do still recoup their costs.  As we all know, there really is nothing that is truly free!  You should always have a Plan B if you decide you wish to opt for body donation at the time of your death, as not all donors are actually accepted at the time of their donation.

If you have any further questions about arranging a cremation service in Des Moines, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions on (515) 200-2959

Why is Cremation becoming American’s Preferred Funeral Option?

direct-cremationThe National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) wound up its 3 day annual convention in Nashville yesterday where funeral professionals from around the nation, and even from around the globe, had gathered to discuss death. Or should I say death and business?

The NFDA opened the convention with a report on Cremation and Burial containing Research, Statistics and Projections. The most notable finding of this report was that cremation would surpass burial as the nation’s disposition choice by next year (2015). This marks quite a significant change in the once-traditional funeral industry of the U.S.

So why is cremation so popular now?

The report goes on to outline several reasons why we are converting to cremation – “cost, decreased household discretionary income, environmental concerns, fewer religious prohibitions of the practice, a growing preference for simpler, and less ritualized funeral ceremonies”. In a nutshell, we are choosing cremation because it costs less, we have less money and cannot afford expensive funerals anymore, and basically we have less concern about tradition, religion or ritual.

The cost of a cremation is, I believe, the primary reason why we Americans are shifting in our droves to choose this as a death care alternative. Add to this that we have become a nation who seeks out ease of task, convenience and instant gratification – and cremation helps us out – it is so easy to arrange (for a basic, direct cremation you don’t even need to go into a funeral home!), it can be arranged within a day or two, and you don’t need to make a lot of decisions (like what casket do you want? What color lining? What kind of burial vault, plot etc etc).

How many cremations are direct cremations?

What this report from the NFDA does NOT do (and that’s no surprise) is drill down to what percentage of total cremations are direct cremations. Whilst quoting a reason for why we choose cremation as having a growing preference for simple, no-fuss funeral ceremonies, there is no analysis of how direct cremation (the simplest form of cremation available) is in fact experiencing a significant growth in the U.S. right now.

direct-cremation-serviceDirect cremation is the industry term for a very basic cremation where no pre-funeral services are provided. The deceased is simply collected, cremated and the remains returned to the family. Simple, no-fuss, efficient and …..ECONOMICAL! Oh but of course many in the funeral industry are not very fond of direct cremation as it hurts their bottom line. However, there are a growing number of funeral practitioners who are responding to this need for simple, low cost cremation by offering affordable direct cremation packages. These are the smart funeral directors who recognize where the growth in the industry is, and understand that providing customers with what they WANT, is far more important than trying to sell customers something they really don’t want and can’t afford.

What do you need to know about direct cremation?

As mentioned above, this is the simplest cremation service available to you as a funeral consumer. Many funeral homes will not openly suggest it as a funeral service option but it will be on their General Price List (GPL). The cost charged for a direct cremation WILL vary tremendously! Some funeral homes charge $2,000+ for a basic direct cremation, whilst others will offer the exact same direct cremation for $895.

The important thing is to ensure you compare prices (like-for-like). Cremation prices, even for the exact same cremation services, can differ quite significantly in the same area from different funeral service providers.

A direct cremation does not mean you cannot have a funeral service. Many in the industry try and convince us that direct cremation prevents us from grieving properly, that we need a service with the body present in order to begin the healing process. I say baloney! Most families are perfectly capable of managing their own services and dealing with bereavement in their own way. Yes, some people will prefer to use the services of a funeral director, clergy, or celebrant to deliver a service….but some families do not feel this is necessary. And this is okay.

“Personalization” is another term the industry is fond of today. I agree that the ability to personalize a funeral ritual to the deceased is imperative, but I do not agree that only funeral directors understand how to do this. US Funerals Online has published numerous articles to help families with ideas on how to memorialize their loved one. We understand that whilst 58% of families (NFDA) may associate a cremation with a memorial service, more families today feel that they would prefer to deliver the memorial service themselves.

save_money_cremationHow much does a cremation cost? And what is included in this?

As cremation becomes more popular – more Americans are asking questions about cremation. The 2 most prevalent questions are “how much is a cremation going to cost” and “what is included in this cremation cost?”   As I have already mentioned, not all cremations are created equal, and the price for a cremation service can differ depending on the service provider and the area.

As a rough guide – more often than not – corporate means more expensive. Cremations offered by Dignity Memorial funeral locations (owned by SCI) generally come in around the $2,200 – $3,000 bracket. Independent funeral homes can still be expensive, if they have elaborate premises and livery, chances are they will charge a higher price for their cremation services, although this is not always the case.

There is a new breed of funeral company on the block, one that caters primarily to the demand for low cost cremation. These are the guys to seek out if you want to find an inexpensive cremation package. DFS Memorials works with a network of these providers, local family-owned funeral businesses that offer a simple, fixed price, inclusive direct cremation package. All providers in the DFS Memorials network offer a direct cremation for between $600 and $1,395 (depending on the location). To find out the cost of a direct cremation near you, click on your state and select your nearest town or city.

According to the NFDA projections by 2020 at least 39 states will be cremating more bodies than they bury, with an expectation that the cremation rate will hit 70% by 2030. This is a staggering change for a once-traditional funeral industry to embrace! If you are a consumer considering cremation, either right now as a death is imminent or has occurred, or you are researching cremation to preplan, you will find many resources here to assist you. Click on your state on the right-hand navigation to find a low cost cremation provider near you, or use the Category sections to check out more articles about cremation.

Comparing direct cremation costs and reviewing cremation providers

As I mentioned in Understanding Direct Cremation , the cost of a direct cremation can vary quite significantly, so it would be wise to compare direct cremation service packages from more than one cremation provider.  Many within the industry are skeptical of “discount cremation providers” suggesting that they are offering an “inferior” service.  This can be attributed to the fact that the industry (as a whole) is resistive of the trend towards cremation, and even more so the trend for direct cremation.  Why?  Simply because it is reducing the ‘value’ of the funeral service industry.

Comparing direct cremation packages

compare-cremation-costsI explained in How much does a direct cremation cost how to ensure you are comparing like-for-like in direct cremation packages.  Not all funeral home direct cremation packages are the same, and it is essential you check EXACTLY what is being included in a quoted or advertised price.  As many more funeral homes are competing for their share of the cremation market, some are employing marketing tactics such as advertising low prices for a direct cremation that do not even include the cremation fee!

It can be a good idea to check if the funeral home actually has their own crematory or cremation equipment.  If a funeral home is contracting their cremations out, the crematory fee can often be a fixed additional cash disbursement added to the fee they quote you for their services.   More funeral homes are adding cremation equipment to their premises in order to be able to have more flexibility in what they can offer families.  This also means a funeral home can have more ‘play’ with their pricing structure for cremation.

Not all Budget, Discount or Low Cost Cremation Providers are ‘bad’

In fact many traditional funeral homes today are operating a budget cremation arm, and your direct cremation could be performed by your local full service third generation funeral home.  The Internet has offered many funeral businesses the opportunity to market their low cost cremation services on a much wider scale.  And being that no services are required for a direct cremation, a funeral home can travel a much wider radius to serve families.  A number of our DFS Memorials providers will actually cover their whole state for their basic direct cremation package, enabling families in rural areas (with maybe only one traditional funeral home) to access more competitive cremation prices.

Reviewing direct cremation providers

Funeral home reputation had generally been something passed along by word of mouth.  Today we have become a nation of reviewers, self-publishers and social network junkies where we share all and sundry online.

This has opened up the funeral industry to real-time feedback, and you can review a funeral home on sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Superpages, Yahoo Local and Google if you so desire.  Unfortunately feedback for a funeral home is of a rather sensitive nature, and I have more often witnessed families’ leave negative feedback after a bad experience, than families who leave glowing reports of how well XXX funeral home laid Auntie Betty to rest.  As with all other services or products that we seek out reviews on, you need to take a balanced approach.

dfs-memorials-reviewsFuneral Consultants even offer ‘reputation management’ these days because the issue of reviews can be so pertinent to a funeral home’s success today.

Personally I would recommend that you do attempt to validate any online direct cremation company you come across.  Key things to check are whether they are a local, family-owned funeral business.  Do they clearly state WHO they are?  Do they provide a business location?  As stated above – you may find that the cheap direct cremation offered by XXX Affordable Cremations is actually being operated by a reputable funeral home anyway!

The DFS Memorials network providers are all licensed, family-owned funeral companies that serve their local community offering affordable cremation and funeral services.  We only work with cremation providers who are reputable and can deliver the best value direct cremation package.  Our aim is to assist families by helping to connect them with their nearest low cost cremation provider, taking away the hassle of making multiple inquiries to find out cremation prices and inclusive direct cremation deals.

We aim to work with funeral homes, who not only offer an affordable direct cremation package, but who can also assist you if you require additional services such as a viewing, transportation or a affordable traditional funeral.  Our aim is to ensure your family are cared for by a local family!

Part 4 : Memorializing after the direct cremation

[Sara Marsden] Google+

Funeral Home Reviews – where can you find them & are they helpful?

Reviewing has become part of our culture today.  It is a social activity that allows us to feel we can share our experiences within our community.  With the ability for anyone to go online and have a voice, more people have become active reviewers.

We review hotels, restaurants, books, movies and numerous other products and services.  And as consumers, we like to check out what other people’s experiences have been with a product or service before we commit to buy.

Funeral home reviews had not been something so generally in the public domain.  Word-of-mouth recommendations were the valuable commodity of the funeral director, and the hoards of glowing testimonial and letters from families served adorning walls. Funeral homes may even electively choose to publish testimonials on their website, although consumers digest this as a rather slanted perspective.

Where can you find funeral home reviews?                                                                But now funeral homes are being dragged (sometimes kicking and screaming) into the 21st century.  The ‘review revolution’ means that people are using tools on the Internet to now openly review funeral homes.  Google is even helping direct consumers to where they can access these reviews as you will see from the example here.

If you use a directory site now to locate and compare funeral homes, you will notice that many of these sites have published reviews – Yellow Pages, Yelp, Superpages Citysearch, and Yahoo Local to name but a few.  The only problem with this kind of unvalidated reviewing system is that it is open to abuse.  Whilst we would hope that most reviewers post genuine feedback, a bad experience can lead to a bad review, and unfortunately we are too often spurred to leave feedback after a bad experience.  This can generally be managed by a business when there is one main public site that people use to review services, such as Trip Adviser, so it is a central forum and allows for business manager to respond to reviews.  But how does a business like a funeral home keep abreast of the multiple review forums it now appears on?  And what happens when reviews are published by unverified “anonymous google users”?  Is this a review to be trusted?

Social Media as a ‘space’ to interact                                                                                Many funeral homes have also been convinced to step into the world of social media and have set up Facebook pages.  Funeral marketing consultants have advised funeral homes that the answer to their marketing dilemma is to engage with their customers and communities in the forums they use – such as Facebook.

As a funeral consumer would you go to Facebook to find a funeral home?  Would you choose to interact with a funeral home on Facebook – maybe place a review?

Several new innovations within the funeral industry in recent months and years have sought to address the issue of price comparison.  The other online revolution that we as consumers seek out the tools for on the Internet.  Seeing this as the directive by which many funeral consumers today structure their purchasing process, even offering funeral home price comparison surveys.

Reviews vs. price comparison                                                                                              So what dictates your purchasing decisions?  Do you want to read reviews about a funeral home, do you want to compare prices, or do you just want someone to steer you to your local family-owned funeral home that can deliver a quality service at a low price?

At DFS Memorials we believe that everyone has the right to a simple and fair-priced funeral or cremation, handled by a local funeral professional who is not entirely governed by profit.  We believe in transparency of ownership and price, so when you visit DFS Memorials and locate a funeral or cremation provider, we disclose their price and who they are.  We ONLY work with local, family-owned funeral homes.  We often work with the little guy in a community who doesn’t have the marketing budget or tech-savvy staff to drive his online presence, but he will serve his community with the best offering of service and price.

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