US Funerals Online Seeing a Huge Increase in the Number of People Looking to Compare Funeral Prices

Charles Cowling

 

Posted by Charles

 

Are there, we wonder, any lessons British undertakers can learn from this article on PRWeb:

Many funeral homes today have their own websites, but most of these seem to have forgotten to include information about the one thing that is on most people’s mind. How much does a funeral cost? There is no other industry that hides their prices in the way the funeral industry does. Research conducted by US Funerals Online revealed that over 80% of funeral home web sites do not disclose actual costs.

Nicholas Ille, owner and founder of US Funerals Online, said, “Gone are the days when families would just order the services from a funeral home, without even inquiring about the costs.”

Baby boomers are becoming increasingly interested in doing things their own way, which can also be driven financially. Why have expensive funerals when the money would be better being left to our children? As people live longer their senior years can now be one expense after the next, care homes, nursing homes and hospices all come at a hefty price, and then comes a final bill that needs to be paid.

Over the past 18 months, US Funerals Online has been working closely with local family-owned and operated funeral homes across the U.S offering a low cost funeral option. “We believe that every family in America should be able to locate a low cost funeral provider, if that is what they choose” says Nicholas. The US Funerals Online web site lists all funeral homes by city/state and clearly identifies the low cost providers, including their price. By including all funeral homes in our directory, this makes comparing costs between different funeral homes, only a phone call away.

Could something like this happen in the UK? Why not?

Here at the GFG we don’t obsess about price, we obsess about service. And transparency. British undertakers’ websites are, many of them, as dire as it gets when describing their service offer, far far worse than any other commercial sector. They are amateurish and subliterate. They rarely talk to you, the reader, they talk about us and about ancestor Albert, founder of our barnacle-encrusted undertaking dynasty — here he is conducting a funeral in 1921 (cue hazy b&w photo of bow-legged man leading a bloated Austin down a high street). Dammit, WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR ME NOW??

When these undertakers do talk about their clients they talk about them as if they had nothing in common with the punter reading the website: “We recognise that our customers are individuals and each will have their own ways of coping with bereavement.” Tcha! Where’s the human being behind that? Oh, there he is in a Gilbert and Sullivan top hat with his big black cars fanned out behind him. HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?!??

All undertakers know that more and more people are shopping around.

Those undertakers who are upfront about their prices are doing very well.  

As are those who come across as human beings like us. Hint: people do business with people. 

Undertakers: go figure.

Funerals-Online here.

 

12 thoughts on “US Funerals Online Seeing a Huge Increase in the Number of People Looking to Compare Funeral Prices

  1. Charles Cowling
    David Holmes

    Nick. Had you asked me to do the same job locally, during normal hours, the cost would have been £150. I would never charge for storage, nor hygienic treatment, nor of course, an admin charge! It sounds like you should get a quote in writing next time? That’s a lesson for me too, but I have always found anyone I have asked for that kind of help to be straightforward and helpful. I don’t think in your position I would have paid.

    As for my recent funeral acquisition, the high cost of the Dignity quote, added to the realisation that they were dealing with a big firm, was enough to make the family consider getting another quote. I was the nearest independent they asked.


    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling
    Nick

    Point taken David. £500 is an eyewatering sum of money to pay for a removal – at any hour.

    I wonder, was that the reason the family decided to change FDs, or did this figure suddenly appear following their decision?

    I recently contracted an independent FD in the West country to undertake a simple in-office hours removal, and to obtain cremation papers.

    We agreed a cost of £180, which for a local daytime removal, I regard as central London rates.

    The nasty shock came when they also added £50 hygienic care, £20 for a body pouch, £80 for storage (3 days) and the bit I refused to pay – £150 administration charge.

    At £480 for a simple trade removal, it’s fairly close to your figure from Dignity.

    There are some absolutely cracking Independents out there that will bend over backwards to help. As far as I’m concerned, they are the majority. It’s just the odd one that lets the side down

    …and yes, I do have a list of those we would never approach again…


    Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling
    David Holmes

    Well the family who this past week asked me to take over from Dignity, were charged almost £500 for a local out of hours removal. Our highest out of hours charge is £190, less than half. With a night charge that expensive, you can’t blame families for wondering if they are being overcharged for the other services provided?

    As for other independents. I can only say I have always found those I have asked for assistance to be professional, very efficient and ridiculously inexpensive.


    Charles Cowling
  4. Charles Cowling
    Nick

    I have regular contact with both Dignity and the Co-ops, and also independents across the UK.

    This usually occurs either where we are taking-over arrangements, or where they are acting as our agents to remove the Deceased on a local, one-off basis.

    I have to say that whilst every (well, nearly every) FD I have conducted business with is professional, I find the independent sector far more expensive than the groups.

    It’s not what I expected.

    We have encountered several instances of
    being billed for services we neither requested, nor would charge ourselves – Not what I would have expected, and again, only from the independents.

    We have had several instances of FDs acting on our behalf attempting to “re-direct” the arrangements to themselves.
    Again, sadly, only from independents.

    It just goes to show that whilst I champion the independent sector, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the best value customer service is independent.


    Charles Cowling
  5. Charles Cowling
    andrew plume

    David

    Not sure (of course) what you’re charging by way of a removal fee from the Dignity and Co-op Industrial
    Estates warehouse operations but those guys are very expensive just on the removal fee element alone

    andrew


    Charles Cowling
  6. Charles Cowling
    andrew plume

    Arbor Memorial are another North American, principally Canadian corportae who also avoid any pricing issues – yes just as with the SCI owned funeral homes, their website is fairly similar – lots of happiness on the ‘pre-need/advance planning front’ and nil when it comes to the main event etc etc

    andrew


    Charles Cowling
  7. Charles Cowling
    andrew plume

    Charles

    thanks indeed

    David

    you mean, potential Dignity and Co-op clients, since they are
    now became your clients – keep this going please – the public per se need you

    andrew

    a


    Charles Cowling
  8. Charles Cowling
    Kingfisher

    Charles, I haven’t smiled so much for ages. Thank you for brightening up Friday afternoon. “Albert, founder of our barnacle-encrusted undertaking dynasty” brings back so many memories of a firm for whom I used to work, but your choice of words couldn’t be better.


    Charles Cowling
  9. Charles Cowling
    David Holmes

    It is getting better here, but only the small firms so far!

    My own little firm are getting noticeably more work from Dignity and Co-op clients, curious about the (high) price they have been quoted. We are collecting bodies from the big boys! Possession of the body used to mean you definitely had the job, but in some cases, people will now allow you to take over, if they feel they are being overcharged.

    People are not daft, this recession and the internet, are making them curious. One family saved £1,000, just because they called me. All they wanted was a simple funeral, meet at local crematorium, no limousines or ‘viewing’ as the industry love calling it.


    Charles Cowling
  10. Charles Cowling
    charles

    That is a fascinating stat, Andrew. Thank you for that.


    Charles Cowling
  11. Charles Cowling
    andrew plume

    yes, very interesting stuff Charles, particularly when one also considers the following small fact:-

    “….Because death in the U.S. is big business…in fact it is the fourth largest industry sector in the United States…”

    source – http://www.dfsmemorials.com/usa.html

    SCI watch out………..and they’re typically another large Corporate (or maybe the largest Corporate)who consistently fight shy of disclosing their prices, in fact that little issue is never seen on any of the websites for the businesses operated under their control in either the US or Canada. Now of course it’s exactly the same site, just topped and tailed for each individual location

    and back to the UK, personally I never mind if there’s a page with old Uncle Albert fronting up the cortege or whatever but…..and as you say, transparency is the key issue or one of those, in going forward

    regards

    andrew


    Charles Cowling

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>