Posted on January 22, 2013 by Rachel Zeldin
We are often asked "how many funeral homes should you evaluate before choosing one?" and "how do I pick a funeral home?" While there is no scientific answer to this question, we would recommend that a family evaluate 3-5 funeral homes to understand what services each of them offer, inquire about pricing, and ensure there is a good fit with the funeral director who will be assisting the family throughout the planning process.
The cost for funeral services is not regulated by the government - only the professional license is. This means that all funeral homes have the ability to set their own prices. It is not uncommon for the price of similar services or packages of services to vary HUNDREDS or THOUSANDS of dollars between funeral homes in the same town. The Funeral Consumers Alliance and Consumer Federation of America published a national funeral price survey. Find out how your city ranks among the ones surveyed.
Before calling or visiting a funeral home to get pricing you should determine which services are most important to you and your family and request information to meet your specifications.* You can compare the pricing of the services you have decided on to the a la cart or packaged solutions a funeral home offers to see if you are getting the best price for the service you need.
You can also inquire with your local Funeral Consumers Alliance to see if they're done a price survey in your area. Often times they have collected price lists from area funeral homes and present it to their members or the general public for consideration. Find a Local Funeral Consumers Alliance near you.
If package pricing is more beneficial, you should ensure that you never pay for services that are part of a package that are not required and that you do not want. By getting à la carte pricing, you can make better comparisons between funeral homes since their basic packages are rarely the same, making it difficult to compare apples to apples. Keep in mind that although pricing is a very important factor to consider in the decision-making process, there are other factors to take into consideration as well.
*It is required by law (The Funeral Rule) that a funeral home disclose pricing over the phone when inquired, and they must provide you with a price list if you seen in person to discuss funeral arrangement - at their location or elsewhere.