Funeral pricing is an interesting topic. Last week I posted about Cheap Cremation which provided excellent response from both consumers and funeral directors. A notable post along the same line was from Kim Stacey The Price? Good Question on Connecting Directors which she discussed posting funeral pricing on a funeral home website and pricing transparency. Additionally, I was part of a Face Book thread last week originally posted by Mike Strickland of Family Choice Funerals & Cremations in Virginia Beach, VA where Mike posted a GPL funeral price comparison of his and local funeral homes.
The Face Book thread was interesting because there were responses by funeral directors and consumers. A particular local funeral director was incensed that Mike had the unmitigated gall to post GPL funeral price comparisons and her (the other funeral director) position was that a consumer must come to the funeral home to become educated about their funeral home selections. I took a look at her funeral home website and a consumer could find out everything there is to know about funerals on that site but, what a surprise…funeral pricing for the firm was not posted. Unfortunately, part of her defense of not showing funeral pricing on her firm’s website “because a family needs to see things like how nice the parking lot is.” As we say here in the South “bless her heart.”
As a subject, funeral pricing is not going away. Yes, I know someone will inevitably respond “but we have to make a profit just like hospitals and hotels, etc.” I get that and that is not the point here. The point here is there is usually a direct correlation between a funeral home’s overhead costs to the price that is charged to consumers. Simple as that. If a firm has a large expanse of real estate, fleets of cars, a large staff…well they obviously have to charge more. There are additional costs if a firm is publicly traded such as corporate governance and investors seeking returns. Smaller firms, smaller staff and less overheads usually means less cost to the consumer.
It’s the cost of doing business like any other industry…however, does Ruth’s Chris gave a rat’s fanny what Chick-fil-A charges? No. Why? Because they serve two different markets with completely different choices. The difference is that in the funeral industry, we all pretty much serve the same menu; caskets, urns, embalming and cremation. That’s where the “casserole hits the fan” because more expensive firms have difficulty explaining variances in prices such as “direct cremation” (removal, services of a funeral director, alternative container, and crematory fees). Same exact services (not like Ruth’s Chris steak vs. a Chic-fil-A chicken sandwich) but sometimes thousands of dollars in difference.
Funeral pricing varies simply because it costs some firms more to operate. I have also outlined the responses to “well, we give better service and you get what you pay for” post for later this week for those that love to sling that “casserole.” Funeral pricing…what say you? Cheers Y’all.