How much should a funeral cost?

For a long time the cost of a funeral was not something funeral companies promoted much.  There was a simple reason for this – making money.  Without knowing exactly what a funeral costs the family can easily be hit with up-selling and hidden costs.  I’m sure there are many stories of this happening.

Even with the simplest of services – a direct cremation – some funeral businesses quite happily would charge $8000 with no problem at all.  And what could the family do about it?  Especially if they had no alternative.

Some of the subtle things funeral companies will say is how buying a slightly better coffin looks so much better.  It’s almost like buying a car.  Same type of technique.  But if we step back and take another look at the coffin what is its purpose?  To carry the person safely to the grave or cremator.  In other words the coffin is going to be buried or burned.  

So the marketing towards flasher coffins is an easy way to make more money without it actually meaning anything.  I don’t think one person in a coffin has ever complained.

Funeral directors also encourage the family to celebrate and remember the person “properly”.  This means having a funeral service.  Preferably in their facilities.  They say that having a proper funeral is the better way to send the person off and for them to mourn and honour the person who has died. 

And it doesn’t take long for little things to add up when doing a funeral service.  Service sheets, flowers, hiring room, celebrant / minister, taping / online broadcast, food…   Everything costs something and funeral directors are experts in selling more and more.

Rose on grave

The problem I have with this is that the families are grieving and they are vulnerable.  It doesn’t take much for the family to think that spending all this money honours the person.  Because that is what they are told.

Now I know there are people who are more than happy to have this type of funeral.  But for families on a budget it is just wrong to try and get them to spend more.

One tactic that is well known is that now prices are shown.  But some funeral homes advertise a very low price because they want the family to come to them.  Then once they are there the funeral director can easily start working on them to spend more.  Families are hesitant to go elsewhere once they’ve started planning.

The other issue is that sometimes families have no idea what the final invoice will be and are shocked when it arrives.  The hidden costs quickly add up.  I heard once a family was charge for a coffee cart which they didn’t even know was going to be there.

Simple Direct Funerals started with clear set prices.  When a family asked about anything they got a clear answer.  Perhaps more important than the low cost was when families realised how a simple funeral service could be so meaningful and special to them.  

How much should a funeral cost?  Well, you should have real options.  Those who want all the bells and whistles are catered for and can pay almost any amount.  But those wanting simple affordable caring funerals should know exactly how much they want to spend.  

Our website has the prices and any other costs that may occur.