The price for a direct cremation ranges between $399 and $3,000. Yes, I know that seems a staggering disparity of price for the same service, but a direct cremation can significantly range in price depending upon whom you employ to deliver a direct cremation. Where the cremation rate is higher (certainly on the West Coast and Pacific), the competition for the cremation market has driven down the price for direct cremation, and some companies can even operate as Direct Disposers, reducing their overhead to such a minimum that they can reduce their price offering to their customers. With no expensive funeral home, staff, vehicles and embalming equipment to maintain – operational costs are much lower.
In parts of Nevada, you can purchase a direct cremation for as little as $399 complete. In most states and metro areas of the U.S. a direct cremation will cost between $700 and $1,000, so still, a very reasonable cost to arrange a complete disposition. In some areas such as the Southeast and New England, a direct cremation tends to be nearer to the $1,500 price mark.
Visit this article on Cremation Costs in 2019 that has a direct cremation price comparison of a direct cremation in the top 20 U.S. cities.
Are there any hidden extras for a direct cremation package?
If you are purchasing a “complete direct cremation package” then there should generally only be cash disbursements that may be an extra cost. Cash disbursements that the funeral home will ask you to pay separately for will include such things as the death certificate and cremation permits. These vary in price by state and county. A death certificate can be anything between $6 and $30, and a cremation permit can be charged at anything from $10 to $300, so it is important to establish this when you speak to the funeral home about direct cremation.
Disclosure of direct cremation prices
The funeral industry has long resisted openly disclosing prices. Some claim it is because “no two funerals are the same”, but it is also generally accepted that this is because the funeral business can be BIG business with large profits. It has been reported by the industry that they can up-sell to 60% of families that request a ‘simple cremation’. This means that when you approach a funeral home and say that you desire a ‘simple cremation’ they will often aim to encourage you to select incremental products or services to maximize their revenue.
Direct cremation should be listed on the General Price List (GPL)
The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule means that a funeral home MUST disclose prices. They must have a GPL and provide this to you on request. A direct cremation is usually listed towards the end of the GPL, almost as the ‘poor cousin’ of funeral services.
Some progressive funeral homes and cremation providers are recognizing the demand, if need, to deliver to customers what they want. They will openly display cremation prices and offer a simple and transparent direct cremation package.
If you come across a funeral home that is openly disclosing their prices, this will generally mean they understand the demand for affordability and transparency. If a funeral home does not disclose prices on their website or advertising, and may not openly share a cremation price over the phone, this should probably ring alarm bells and signify that they have to justify their service charges.
Comparing like-for-like in direct cremation services
It is important to stipulate that what is considered a ‘complete’ direct cremation charge can vary.
You MUST ensure that you compare like-for-like direct cremation packages and prices. As I mentioned above the price for a direct cremation can vary significantly, so you must check EXACTLY what is included in any direct cremation price.
Some funeral homes quote a direct cremation price which seems fair but they have excluded the crematory fee, especially if they do not have their own crematory and consider the crematory fee as a separate cash disbursement. It has also been known for funeral homes to exclude the fee for the ‘alternative container’ required for the cremation, and this can be added as an extra for between $50 and $300. It is quite typical for death certificates and cremation permits to be an additional cash disbursement cost, although funeral homes sometimes include one death certificate in a direct cremation package cost.
Do be aware that economies of scale do not seem to work the same in the funeral industry as they do with most corporate models. The corporate-owned funeral establishments generally offer the more expensive direct cremations. Therefore, it is very wise to compare prices for a direct cremation between several cremation service providers before signing a contract.
Understanding Direct Cremation – Part 3 : Comparing direct cremation costs and reviewing cremation providers