In a recent push for authenticity, the Vermont-based Funeral Consumers Alliance has recommended that all funeral costs be easily available on funeral home websites. Although this is already common practice in some areas, such as California, New England has not yet mandated the practice. Will this be beneficial? You decide.
How Are Funeral Costs Determined?
Funeral costs are typically comprised of three components:
1. Funeral Home Charges. This includes the funeral home rental, preparation of the deceased, and transportation;
2. Merchandise. This includes things such as the casket or urn, memorial books and cards;
3. Cash Advances. This charge covers those necessary for cemetery fees, newspaper. obituary charges, a celebrant and death certificates.
Funeral homes within the same community will usually have similar overall pricing, however the breakdown of costs may not be the same. For example, in one case, you may be paying less in professional fees, but making up the price in higher merchandise costs.
What This Means for You
There is no “right” funeral. Our clients have a variety of unique needs and preferences. Knowing how their choices will be priced may make a significant difference for a family or an individual. Someone who has a particular urn or casket in mind will likely be more invested in merchandise pricing, while others who may be planning a larger, more detailed service may be more interested to know whether the cash advances are marked up by the Funeral Home. In the end, a thorough breakdown of costs will allow an even greater level of personalization and customization.
Transparency is Key
In today’s world, businesses across industries are finding out that their customers care about transparent dealings; it helps create a feeling of trust and instill confidence. Funeral homes are no different, in fact an argument can be made that they have an even greater responsibility to strive for trust and authenticity. When coming to us, customers are facing an extremely challenging time in their life; they want assurance that they are dealing with honest people, and people who truly want to help them.
We have a responsibility to our customers: to provide the best service at a reasonable price and to support them through their tragedy. We can accomplish this goal through a variety of ways, but transparency in how pricing is decided is one important component.
Through all of our digital materials, we strive to provide detailed information on how funeral pricing works and how we can help you make the best decisions for you and your loved ones.