Monday, September 8, 2008

Apples and Oranges

For many families, price is one of the most important factors in selecting a funeral home, and in selecting which services they want. Often families call a number of funeral homes at the time of death, or when pre-arranging their funeral services, to find the lowest cost. What can happen, though, is that they may end up comparing apples to oranges, and select a 'discount' firm where their charges could actually be higher than at a full service funeral home.

The advertisement shown above recently ran in my local newspaper, and I'm sure many price shopping families thought that this price of $535 was much lower than the same services would cost at a full service funeral home. However, if you look at the area I highlighted, you'll notice that the $535 does not include the services of the funeral home, or transportation to the crematory. What does the $535 cover? It covers only the charge for the cremation itself, a book that would be free at a full service funeral home and the urn. Our charges for the same urn and service would actually be less. A family who engaged the discounter would still have to find a funeral home to:

Not only that, but upon further investigation, we found that the family would have to pay additional charges to the discounter for transportation to the crematory and transportation of the cremated remains to the cemetery-even if the cemetery was owned by the discounter. These are charges that the full service funeral home would not make if they were in charge of arrangements.

Reputable firms will always tell you what ALL of the costs are before you sign up, discounters may not, so be sure when you compare prices that you compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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Funeral service faces a crisis of relevance, and I am passionate about keeping the best traditions of service alive while adapting to the changing needs of families. Feel free to contact me with questions, or to share your thoughts on funeral service, ritual, and memorialization.


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