What is a direct cremation service? A simple and affordable alternative

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It is common knowledge that the United States is experiencing a cremation trend, but it is perhaps less 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 are 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.

Use our Local Provider Search to find direct cremation prices and DFS Locations near you.

Why Choose a direct cremation service?

Direct cremation cost

There are several reasons to choose a direct cremation service, and we have listed the main advantages below.

1. Cost-effective: Direct cremation is typically more affordable than traditional burial or cremation services. It eliminates the need for expensive caskets, embalming, funeral ceremonies, and other related expenses.

2. Simplicity: Direct cremation offers a simple and straightforward process. It eliminates the need for elaborate funeral arrangements and allows for a more streamlined and efficient handling of the deceased’s remains.

3. Flexibility: With direct cremation, there is no immediate need for a funeral or memorial service. This allows families to have more time to plan and organize a personalized memorial service or celebration of life at a later date, according to their preferences and convenience.

4. Environmental Considerations: Cremation is generally considered to have a lower environmental impact compared to traditional burial, as it does not require land for burial or the use of embalming chemicals.

5. Portability: Cremated remains are portable and can be easily transported or divided among family members. This provides the flexibility to scatter the ashes in a meaningful location or keep them in an urn at home.

6. Cultural and Religious Considerations: Direct cremation may align with certain cultural or religious beliefs that prioritize simplicity and the prompt handling of the deceased’s remains.

It’s essential to consider your individual preferences, cultural practices, and budget when you decide what type of cremation service best suits your needs.

To read more on direct cremation – visit our article on What happens during the cremation process? From the funeral home collecting the deceased to giving the family the cremated remains.

Which funeral service providers offer direct cremation services?

Direct Cremation costs

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 general, still feels that we need the ritual of a funeral service 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 the National Cremation Society 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, which all openly disclose the funeral homes that participate in their network and direct you immediately to the local funeral home.

In contrast to these networks, there are also online portals trying to capitalize on the opportunity to resell cremation services into funeral businesses at a cost without 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 will provide the simplest and most economical disposition method for those who either do not want or cannot afford services. As this market grows, there will be 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.

Sara Marsden

I have been researching and writing about the death care industry for the last fifteen years. End of life services and experiences are something most of us choose not to reflect upon until we are suddenly faced with dealing with it. I have been contributing comprehensive and independent resources for families that explain how the funeral industry operates, and the laws that govern funeral practices. Sara writes for US Funerals Online and DFS Memorials LLC, as well as contributing to other forums and publications for the death care industry. I have a BA in Cultural Studies. This helps my analysis of cultural death care rituals, alongside a career background in Business Management. The death care industry is undergoing an epoch of change and this fascinates me.

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