There was a big splash in Saturday’s Daily Mail about a budget funeral newcomer to Funeralworld, Cremdirect. Set up in June 2012, Cremdirect has already performed 70 funerals at an all-in fixed price of £1750 and serves Manchester, Buxton and Macclesfield and environs.
We called up the founder, Mark Roebuck, and put to him the sorts of questions anyone would want to know the answers to.
Mark, your background is the motor trade. What experience have you got of undertaking? Mark replied that he has a little, and he employs three staff with around 100 years’ experience between them.
We asked Mark about his mortuary. It’s in a unit at Compstall Mill on the outskirts of Stockport, next to a country park. There’s a good and proper refrigeration unit – no coldroom and racking. There’s even a small chapel of rest for those who change their mind and decide they want to visit – though the website makes clear that Cremdirect does not offer ‘viewing facilities’. He encourages families who want to visit to do so at the hospital mortuary, where Cremdirect can leave bodies until a day or so before the funeral.
Clients can make arrangements either in the office at Compstall or, as usually happens, at their homes.
We asked Mark about his price and wondered if it might not be a bit on the high side by comparison with similar providers (eg Powell and Family Direct at £1497 and Richard Fearnley at £1397.) He puts it down to the cremation fee in his area – around £600. Another factor may be his refusal to use foil coffins. He’ll only use veneer. He doesn’t want his funerals to look cheap. He even has a Daimler hearse, so he’s clearly a bit of a funeral romantic.
Mark has been greeted warmly and supportively by the undertaking community in Manchester and has found local suppliers delighted to serve him. Or not, as the case may be.
Tomorrow, he’s on the Jeremy Vine show on R2. He sounded a bit apprehensive. This is a lot of publicity for a wee startup that’s not doing much different from a number of other firms serving the fuss-free market. Mark hasn’t courted any of this publicity; it just seems to have happened to him in the random way the media works.