American consumers are obsessed with finding value, however, they oftentimes confuse value with price or affordability. We are bombarded with prices everywhere we turn, as quite frankly, a price is so much easier to communicate than a value. Warren Buffet defines the two by stating that “Price is what you pay and value is what you get.”
So let’s think about that. You can brew your own coffee in a pot for roughly 30 cents a cup, or you can opt for more convenience and spend more on a Keurig and pods for almost 70 cents a cup, or you can run by a coffee shop and grab a cup for around $3.00 a cup. The cup of coffee in the pot is the cheapest, but it does not provide the convenience or sense of community that many people value in a more expensive cup of coffee.
And yes, in this era of doing it yourself, you can absolutely build and stain a dining room table made from a piece of 4×8 plywood at a fraction of the cost of either buying one to put together or buying one already assembled and delivered to your door. Many people find value in choosing the last option as they simply do not have the time or tools to select the wood, measure it, cut it, sand it, and stain it and having to start over if they don’t measure correctly or use too much stain. And sanding alone is monotonous and physically exhausting.
The same can be said of value or affordable cremation. What exactly does that mean? If we look at price alone, all that says is that the price range for cremation is variable. So, does that mean that you will get the same value between the lower and higher priced cremations? Absolutely not.
Cremation can be cheap for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the Funeral Home does not own their own crematory and contracts out to a third-party cremation mill for and does not have to pay the overhead associated with running a crematory. Perhaps the Funeral Home or crematory is a cremation mill and cremated several decedents a year (bulk cremation), which begs the question of whether they have invested in sufficient refrigeration as required by law as well as to the integrity of their quality control and identification procedures. Perhaps the Funeral Home charges more for transportation, refrigeration, or weight of the decedent, which increases the final price. Perhaps the Funeral Home does not aid with the obituary, veteran’s benefits, social security, and death certificates. Perhaps it only provides cookie cutter service options or none at all.
Cremation can be priced higher for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the Funeral Home owns their own crematory and only cremates for their client families, thus ensuring the integrity of their quality control and identification procedures. Perhaps the Funeral Home invests in on-site refrigeration to comply with Texas law while also investing in training to better enable their Funeral Directors to empower the consumer and help them build a positive foundation for grief. Perhaps the Funeral Home includes additional services in its cremation price, such as transportation to and from a wider area, refrigeration, obituary writing, assisting with veteran’s benefits and death certificates, and service personalization options.
When it comes to cremation, just asking for a price will do nothing but give you a number. In order to find a Funeral Home or cremation provider that offers value, you will have to ask them what they offer for the quoted price. Too often people base their decision on price and then wind up having to learn how to file for veteran’s benefits and death certificates or publish an obituary or create service folders or tribute videos at a very emotional time in their life when they might have been better off spending more to receive professional and timely results and reduce anxiety.
So whether you are looking at coffee, dining room tables, or even cremation, it is important to understand the value of the services provided and not just the price.
Written by Jessamyn Putnam, Funeral Director at Putnam Funeral Home and Crematory, Cremation Advocates by Putnam, and Bertram Funeral Home, serving Llano, Tow, Kingsland, Buchanan Dam, Horseshoe Bay, Cottonwood Shores, Marble Falls, Meadowlakes, Granite Shoals, Highland Haven, Spicewood, Round Mountain, Johnson City, Blanco, Spicewood, Bee Caves, Lakeway, Westlake, Austin, Burnet, Bertram, Oatmeal, Liberty Hill, Smithwick, and the surrounding areas.