Funeral Homes must make money in order to provide 24/7/365 service to their clients. The Federal Trade Commission attempted to standardize pricing in the mid 1980’s. This allows the funeral home to itemize their service fees, merchandise and miscellaneous items from third party providers. Simply put, the greatest amount of instruction we could provide you won’t help you nearly as much as a 15 minute review and oversight from your Family Care Planner. In general there are three insights to keep in mind.
Funeral homes with higher than average service fees and lower than average merchandise fees, tend to see their role as guiding living through early loss and want you to assess them based on how they care for you and your family.
Funeral Homes with lower than average service fees and higher than average merchandise fees (caskets, vaults, keepsakes, urns) tend to rely on their ability to sell you more stuff.
Funeral homes or discount providers with service fees much lower than average tend to do only the minimum required to care for the decedent and to fulfill the legal obligations your engagement requires. Often, but not always, they have much lower service fees, and much higher merchandise fees.
At the funeral home, avoid any funeral director who walks in the casket room with you to describe the “value” of one casket versus another. They are selling you, not serving you. Regardless of how a funeral director represents their products of burial, the functional purpose of these items are as receptacles of interment. Any claims of the protecting or unprotecting qualities of either the casket or vaults is misleading at best and manipulative at worst. Everything eventually breaks down to its base elements the only variable is time. Buy what you are comfortable with and aligns with your values.