Things to watch out for:
Cremation services that advertise $495 or a similar number. Problem: These prices tend not to include the retrieval of the body, something that adds significantly to the price. Another issue often connected with this sort of price is a longer than expected waiting period for the return of the ashes to the family, three weeks or longer is not uncommon. If one does wish the return of the cremated remains within a timely manner, a week or so, there is often an additional fee levied for this service. Finally, urns are not usually included in these cut-rate prices.
Advice: Make sure you get a narrow price range for retrieving the body, they will need to know where the body is to give you that number but they should be able to come close to what the final cost will be with that information. One also should ask if there is an extra fee in connection with getting the cremated remains within a week. Ask about the price range for urns sold by the cremation service and if one is required to purchase an urn from the service in connection with the "bargain" fee.
Packages that do not fit your needs. Problem: Packages can vary in how much real savings they provide to families. "Bargain" packages in particular can be troublesome if one chooses a package and then changes a few items. Most people do not realize that you are now paying the a la carte pricing for everything that was previously discounted under the package. The bottom line is that one ends up paying a substantially higher price for modifying a few elements of the package.
Advice: Shop around to find a place that has a package that will suit your needs at a reasonable price. Of course, one does tailor a funeral for each person, but make sure to find out which things can be changed without "breaking" the pricing structure of the package. Some mortuaries may have prices already set so low that packages are merely a convenient method to inform the family of the typical items that make up a funeral service. In this case there is no package pricing to break so changes can made without fear of losing a good price.
Bundling. Problem: Bundling occurs when mortuaries advertise prices that seem substantially lower than surrounding competitors are, but then require that the casket and vault be purchased through them at a considerable markup. If one purchases either a casket or a vault from someone else, a higher pricing scheme is introduced.
Advice: Make sure when getting quotes from funeral homes that you find out if the price they are telling you requires that you purchase the casket and vault from them. With so many casket stores offering discount pricing for caskets and vaults it can be an advantage to find a funeral home that does not require you to purchase either item from them.
The average cost of funeral services: The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) performed a survey of the mortuaries general price lists for 2006. This survey revealed a national average of $7,323 for services consisting of:
- Non-declinable basic services fee
- Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home
- Other preparation of the body
- Use of facilities/staff for viewing
- Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony
- Service car/van
- Basic memorial printed package (e.g., memorial cards, register book, etc.)
- Metal casket
- Vault (Required by some cemeteries)
Note: This price does not include cemetery, monument or marker costs, or miscellaneous cash-advance charges, such as flowers or obituaries. As this is a national average, you may find the prices in your region above or below this figure. Also take note that the prices in this survey are from 2006.To see New Options' prices please click here.
- A place to meet and make arrangements with the family.
- A room for holding viewings.
- A chapel for holding funeral or memorial services.
- A casket show room for selling caskets, urns and other merchandise to the family.
- A room for performing the preparations on the decedent, i.e. embalming or preparing for cremation.
- New Options meets with families in the familiar surroundings of their own home. If for some reason the family wishes to meet elsewhere we can meet them at any other place of their choosing including our home office.
- Many families have a connection with a local place of worship who are happy to accommodate families and allow viewings to take place on their premises. We also understand that not all families attend places of worship. New Options has a large network of locations available for viewings.
- As noted in point B. it's not unusual for families to have a connection with a place of worship who are happy to serve the families with the use of their premises. If the family is not connected with a place of worship New Options has a large and diverse network of locations for funeral or memorial services.
- We've found that having a show room for caskets is not a critical part of having a mortuary. While this may sound strange at first, by simply providing photo books of the caskets we eliminate the need to carry caskets in stock and the floor space to show them. Both of these have an impact on the price you pay. Should a family wish to see the casket of their choosing we have the ability to retrieve the casket in a short time frame for viewing. Another important resource in this area has been the rise of casket stores that allow families to view the caskets and purchase caskets in a show room at very reasonable prices.
- A preparation room is one area that is, of course, vital to the running of a funeral home. New Options has built a facility for this purpose without attaching the other elements of a mortuary, allowing us to serve families fully without unnecessarily extending the overhead into other areas of service.