How much does a direct cremation cost?

Cremation Memorial ServiceThe 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.

Average cremation costs 2018Disclosure 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 servicesArrange a cremation online

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

10 thoughts on “How much does a direct cremation cost?

  1. Both me and my husband are on disability and just wanting to get prices and if payment plans now or where in Michigan is cheap for cremation would it be a direct cremation or a another type we can not afford anything really but have to do something, thought or even donating our body but sometimes they do not need you.
    I need to find a cheap place in Michigan I was told by a friend there is one on 13 mile in warren Michigan I believe, can you please let me know, thank you so much

    • Hello Rebecca,
      Typically you can arrange a low-cost direct cremation in the Greater Detroit area for around $700-$800.
      Although body donation can offer the enticement of a ‘free’ cremation or disposition, not all bodies are accepted at the time of death, so you do need a Plan B.

  2. Please provide information RE: Comparing direct cremation costs and reviewing cremation providers in the Las Vegas, NV area.
    Thanks, John

    • Hello John, if you are reviewing cremation service providers in Las Vegas you will find a difference in pricing for direct cremation depending on the provider. A direct cremation can be purchased for around $600 from a couple of funeral homes offering affordable services. La Palmona Funeral Home offers affordable services and is independently-owned. Desert Memorial offers a direct cremation at $545 but I believe this company is corporately-owned. Palm Mortuary are another big player in funeral services in Nevada but they are also a corporate company. Hites Funeral Home is a local family-owned funeral home who offers a direct cremation for around $1,390. So as you can see – prices can vary.

      • Are the prices listed fully inclusive of all basic needs and services. I am looking for a complete cremation and delivery to the U. S. military site in Boulder City, NV. What do you advise for me? Please include contact information in order that I call and visit the Funeral Home.
        Thanks, John

        • John, La Palmona Funeral Home, 5450 Stephanie St, Las Vegas, NV 89122, Phone 702-732-7070. I believe Ryan Bowen is the lead funeral director. Their direct cremation price is $795. The additional charges would be death certificates and transportation of the remains to be interred in Boulder City.

          Hites Funeral Home 438 W Sunset Rd, Henderson, NV 89011, Phone: 702-568-1747. Jim Lee is the owner/funeral director and his charge is $1,380 but this does not include the Cremation Container, Urn, or Death Certificates.

          La Palmona also run a budget direct cremation company named ‘Simple Cremation’ and through this company a basic direct cremation costs $499. They are located at 3620 North Rancho Dr. Suite 101, Las Vegas, NV 89130 Phone : 702-395-0650

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