It is a well known reality that funerals can cost a lot of money – the budget blowout. Even when people wanted the simplest cheapest funeral there was still a lot to pay at the end. Part of the reason for this is the sales technique Funeral Homes have when talking with families.
At a time when emotions are high and grief is real Funeral Homes have taken this opportunity to help people part with their money… in the name of honouring the loved one and having a proper send-off.
I know there are Funeral Homes that advertise a low cost funeral option. But this is simply to get people through the door. Once they “have them” they can then get to work on upping sales and services and therefore costs to families. There are a number of ways they do this.
Perhaps the first is the coffin. In some ways buying a coffin feels like buying a car. We always like a better model and tend to spend to our limit. Nice presentation, with clever sales talk can easily encourage people to buy a more expensive coffin. The coffin becomes, in some ways, a reflection of the person and the family’s love for them. But this isn’t the case – it’s a selling tactic.
There are numerous ways the costs continue to rise.
Viewing the body is something they encourage, because they can charge for this and if they want some lovely flowers also – well that will cost (but we won’t say how much).
Even if people want the smallest of services the price jumps significantly. And also there are hidden costs that can be added. The Funeral Home encourages them to have it at their place – it is so convenient and easy.
Having a nice service sheet – a momento. Something most people throw out and isn’t actually needed in most cases.
A powerpoint of photos before the service is really nice. And adds to the cost.
Afterwards why not have just a cup of tea here so you get a chance to chat?
We’ll use the flash hearse, but there is a cost to hiring it.
Perhaps their greatest tool for increasing the cost is “Professional Fees”. This random vague term is basically used to up the price with no real added benefit. What this fee is is simply charging again for the work of a funeral business. Imagine a waiter charging an extra fee for getting meals delivered to your table and making sure you have enough wine, taking your call and booking a table, ensuring the chef has all the food they need, the chef contacting the wholesaler…. The list can go on.
The number of times people have come away from a funeral wondering where all that money went. And more often than not there are costs they never knew they were getting.
But what can they do? You have to do something with your loved one. And their suggestions seemed so reasonable and easy to say yes.
Simple Direct Funerals was established because other Nelson Funeral Homes could charge whatever they wanted for the simplest funeral. When people didn’t want to spend a lot of money and everyone just wanted to say goodbye simply, they still had an expensive bill at the end. The way Funeral Homes made money was giving the industry a bad reputation. It didn’t matter if they were part of a Funeral Association. Just like the REINZ doesn’t always protect home buyers or sellers.
A funeral is an incredibly emotional time for many people. A loved one is gone and their sense of lost is deep. It is so easy for Funeral Homes to take advantage of this time to say that doing this or that, paying a little extra will make a big difference. It shows how much you loved them and it will really truly honour the life they had.
However, there are occasions when a family is more than happy to pay for all the bells and whistles on offer. The flashest coffin, a huge reception, horse draw hearse, whatever else they can imagine. I have no problem with that and there are Funeral Homes more than happy to take your money.
But when people get a nasty surprise when they get the invoice and wonder where all the money went, this is a problem.
There is no right or wrong way to celebrate a person’s life. Each person and family is unique, and how they want to do this is how they should be able to do it.
Know your budget and get in writing if you have to the cost. And if the costs keep rising you have every right to go elsewhere.
Do not let the cost of saying goodbye add to your grief.