The Race to the Bottom: Is Price the Only Consideration When Choosing a Funeral Home or Cremation Provider?

Knowledge, quality, service, personalization, legally compliant, going above and beyond, time spent with the family – these are the qualities that people take for granted that they will receive when choosing a funeral home or crematory.  However, there appears to be a race to the bottom in the funeral industry that is negatively impacting the ability of funeral homes and crematories or cremation providers to meet these expectations and many families are walking away from the burial or cremation of a loved one – disappointed.

With on-line options touting cheap cremations and some funeral homes BOLDLY UNDERLINING IN ITALICIZED CAPS THAT THEY WILL PRICE MATCH,  it is clear that the funeral industry incorrectly believes that the number one priority to someone shopping for a funeral home or crematory is price.   And by trying to be the cheapest, many in the funeral industry have initiated a race to the bottom by cutting corners.  Some families tell stories of illegal solicitation efforts, of being offered “Factory Second” urns, being rushed through their initial meeting, receiving the cremated remains of their loved one in the mail, or not being provided options for a service or help with insurance or the option to purchase death certificates, just to name a few.

The final disposition following a death is just that – final.  Families only have one opportunity to have it done right.  There are no do-overs.  So while consumers and funeral homes have been trained to buy and sell solely on price, the race to the bottom, to be the cheapest, has the potential to leave a family bereft and unhappy with how the final disposition of their loved one has been handled.

What can you do to ensure that your expectations are met?  When shopping for a funeral home, crematory, or cremation provider, look beyond the price.  Ask yourself, what am I giving up by going with the cheapest option?  Am I missing out on using a local business who hires locals and volunteers time and money to the community?  Am I missing out on knowledge, or quality, or service?  Am I using a funeral home that engages in shady or illegal practices or finds other ways to cut corners?  And if a funeral home is visibly cutting corners, how might they be cutting corners with my loved one when I am not in the room?  Am I missing out by using a funeral home or cremation provider that really cares and is going to take time with me and help me build a positive foundation for grief?  Am I using a middleman who is going to ship my loved one hours away to be cremated?

In other words, look beyond price and ask questions about what makes a funeral home or crematory or cremation provider different and ask questions about things that are important to you.

You can no longer expect a certain level of service when contracting a funeral or cremation – the race to the bottom, to be the cheapest, has created an environment in which funeral homes and cremation providers are doing whatever they can to cut costs, doing whatever they can to provide a consumer with the cheapest funeral or cremation out there, when maybe what the consumer really wants is for their loved one’s funeral or cremation done well and done right.

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Tyler Meredith
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Tyler Meredith

I like that you mention how families only have one opportunity to have a funeral done right. It makes sense that a funeral can act as a very important step in the grieving process for some people and making sure it’s done properly is important to that. This could be helpful to remember for my mom because I’m sure she’d want us to choose a quality home that will ensure the event is held correctly and that there aren’t any mishaps that cause problems.

Tammie H.
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Tammie H.

My father passed away and I agree with you that when looking for a cremation provider and/or funeral home, that one should ask about things that are important to the family when selecting a funeral home or crematory so that there will be no unpleasant surprises later. Thanks for posting this!

Michael
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Michael

Wow tons of fantastic advice!

Jenna L.
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Jenna L.

Very good facts. Thank you!

Jordan Miner
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Jordan Miner

My sister in law was talking to us about finding some funeral services for her grandfather. I’m glad you talked about being able to make sure your expectations are met by making sure you’re not just going with the cheapest option. I’m going to have to look for some different possibilities for her, and see what we can find!

Tony
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Tony

I wish I had read this first. I contracted with an inexpensive provider for my mom only to find at our time of need that they would not come and pick her up and we had to spend hours on the phone trying to find a transportation service. We were so angry. It took more time, stress, anger and even money in the end then it would have had we spent more time researching our options and looking beyond price. Take my advice – you get what you pay for.

Archer Jones
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Archer Jones

Before reading this post, I never really thought about the community involvement perspective. That is very important to me and I would love to see a post about how you are giving back in 2018.

Roy l
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Roy l

good blog

Al
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Al

This web site provides helpful information and a great perspective – keep it up.

Ashley Maxwell
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Ashley Maxwell

I appreciate your tip to consider cremation because that is what you truly want that for your loved one. Thanks for mentioning how whatever ceremony you have should leave people with peace of mind as they say goodbye to a friend or family member. My husband’s grandfather is very ill, and we are looking into cremation services because that’s what he wants.

Laura
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Laura

Yes! Sadly hospice only gave us a list of funeral homes and prices. We chose what we thought was the cheapest and wound up paying more as my grampy was a large man, more for the transport, and more for this and that. The people who picked up grampy showed absolutely no respect when they came in smacking gum and talking about a recent hookup and pulled him onto their gurney. Swiped our credit card. It was just a bad experience. The box of my grampy’s cremated remains was delivered to my mom’s front door. We came home, found it,… Read more »

Delores
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Delores

TY! Great info

James Anderson
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James Anderson

I totally agree when you say that one should look beyond price and ask questions to know what makes a funeral home or crematory or cremation provider different. The father of my friend is a veteran and she wants to prepare for the memorial service as early as now. I’ll mention this to her so that she can use this as her basis in choosing who will deliver the veteran memorial services that she wants in case the inevitable happens.

Derek Dewitt
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Derek Dewitt

I have a friend who recently lost his mother and so I have become more aware of funerals and funeral homes. I like your point about choosing a funeral home based on more than just price. My family and I live in Illinois and when it is my parent’s time, I will be sure to find a funeral home that focuses on the family and their needs. Thank you for providing more clarity into funeral homes.

Regan S.
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Regan S.

I have wondered and now I know. Thank you!

Renee
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Renee

This is an interesting perspective, gives me something to think about. Thank you.

Al S.
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Al S.

Thank you for writing about this. I couldn’t agree more.

Mel
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Mel

This is really useful, thanks.

Jay Winkel
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Jay Winkel

Thanks, this article is very informative

Ken Hwan
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Ken Hwan

I totally agree that a funeral should give people the place to accept the passing of their loved one, especially for their family and friends. My wife and I have been put in charge of planning our grandmother’s funeral, and she decided that she wanted to be cremated to be more environmentally friendly. Thank you for providing us insight into selecting the right funeral home for our family.

richard
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richard

I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written and spot-on!