The cremation trend is quite simply re-carving the landscape of the death care industry in the U.S. right now. Traditional funerals are in decline, and the national cremation rate has increased above forecasts for the last few years, reaching just over 42% in 2012.
Will a cremation cost more, or less, in the future?
This is a good question to ask! For many years funeral homes have procured in millions of dollars in preneed funeral contracts on the basis of families “locking into today’s funeral prices.” Yet with today’s volatile funeral market cremation costs seem to be going down instead of up. I would predict that in many metro areas of the U.S. we will see cremation prices drop somewhat, as opposed to increasing.
Already we have witnessed cremation ‘price wars’ in some key areas such as California, Texas and Florida. One year ago a basic cremation in Houston would cost around $800, today you can buy that same basic cremation for $595.
The cremation trend signifies declining profit margins for funeral homes, and for some the only way to compensate is to develop their cremation market. Yet cremation does not produce quite the profit turnover of a traditional burial, so the only way to keep profitable is to increase sales volume! This has made the market for basic cremations extremely competitive in most areas.
Cremation – A buyer’s Market
The result is that the market is more favorable for the consumer purchasing cremation services today. The competition within the funeral industry for the ‘piece of the pie’ of the cremation market, means that cremation prices and packages can be compared between funeral homes, and some funeral homes are even offering to ‘price match’ an equitable cremation price from their local area.
Shop around and compare cremation costs
This is vitally important to do today! We all do it devotedly for any other significant purchase we make, but somehow folks think it is a tad ‘undignified’ to do when arranging a funeral. Not so! Why should you pay hundreds of dollars for exactly the same service? Unfortunately, the time limitations and distress we are under when faced with a death can cause us to not think rationally and there is a desire to just press on and have things taken care of. I have lost count of the number of times a family has called DFS Memorials when their loved one has already been collected by a funeral home and they are in shock when they have been told it is going to cost them over $2,000 for a simple cremation. Tough as it is, in some cases, the deceased is moved to a DFS Memorials provider as the saving that can be made offsets even the initial fee a funeral home will charge for having collected the deceased from the place of death.
If you want simplicity at a low cost, and want to deal with a local family business – trust DFS Memorials
At DFS Memorials we understand the need for families to quickly connect with a local, reputable funeral home who offer simple, dignified and affordable cremation services. For this reason we established our network and ensure that we have conducted the extensive local cremation price comparison, to be able to help families and local Mom & Pop funeral homes alike.
Whilst some funeral homes are manifesting ostrich-like strategies of thinking that the demand for low cost cremation will pass, or that educating families that they need a funeral director to help them grieve and conduct “personalized” funeral services, we believe differently. We believe that times are a-changing and that the control is shifting back to families. We believe that a family should be able to conduct a dignified funeral at a price they can afford. We know that in every area there is a funeral home that does cater to this market, we seek them out, and then we help families find them!
Preplanning a cremation, Cremation plans and costs preneed vs. at need
So IF cremation costs are potentially likely to remain static, if not decrease, how does this affect the cremation preplanning market? The low cost cremation prices you may see advertised today are generally ‘at need’ cremation prices. This means that the price is available for the immediate purchase of a cremation service. It is not a price available for a cremation plan.
There are cremation providers who DO offer discount cremation plans, but these generally will be 30% or so higher than an at-need cost. That being said I have come across funeral homes that will sell a low cost cremation plan locked in at their current GPL price for a direct cremation.
What is the safest and most economical way to preplan a cremation?
Find a local cremation provider who offers an affordable cremation package. Make note of his price and details. Document your wishes and ensure your family knows what they are, and where to find the paperwork when the time comes. Set up a POD account (Totten Trust) and deposit the amount required to cover your plan at your local provider. Make 2 family members the beneficiaries of this trust so they can carry out the plan when the time comes. Your money always remains in your bank/control, you accrue any interest and you benefit from the low cost at need cremation services available. If cremation prices should fall, or increase, you can amend your deposit accordingly.
Death is not quite the taboo subject it once was, and that is a good thing. The more we talk about death and what our plans and wishes are, the easier it is for families to become informed and make decisions not based on emotions. Death care in America is becoming less and less traditional. Baby Boomers gather at Death Cafes and discuss how they want their sendoff to be simple and ‘different’. Traditionalist or not, there is a growing tendency to not want to overspend on a funeral, and a growing interest in ‘natural’ death care alternatives.
Use the links to the right to locate your nearest DFS Memorials provider.