What does it cost to run a crematorium?

Charles 8 Comments


Here’s an extract from a feasibility review conducted by Rugby Borough Council Jan 2010, which plans to build a new crematorium. The review gives us useful info about how these things are costed:



“It is proposed that the number of staff recommended would be: 1 Manager, 1 Administration Officer, 1 Operative

“With on-costs this would be in the region of £99,450 per year, so based on 1,000 cremations a year this would equate to £99.45 per cremation.

“An additional personnel cost at crematoria has been the organist, however there is an alternative system, called the Wesley Music System which is PC and internet based and could be operated by staff and would cost approximately £5,000 per year. Allowing £1,000 for equipment purchases etc the cost would work out at £6.00 per cremation.”

Equipment operating costs

4 cremations a day for 50 five-day weeks of the year (ie, 250 days out of a total 365) in a single cremator @ 90 mins a funeral = 6hrs’ cremator use per day.

Gas — £7.50 per cremation

Electricity — £4.00 per cremation

Reagent and disposal — £4.75 per cremation

TOTAL — £16.25


So: staffing and operating costs as per Jan 2010 stood at £99.45+£6.00+£16.25 = £121.70

The rest of the money goes on maintenance of plant, grounds and building together with capital costs.

Go figure.

Rugby’s plans go to the Planning Committee any day now.

Read the full document here.





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11 years ago

Yes, yes, yes. But no, no, no.

Sorry Charles, but you can’t just gloss over capital costs right at the end as a throw away remark.

Like many (most?) other businesses, there is a huge capital cost involved in setting up. A crematorium is certainly no exception. I would imagine it would easily run into millions.

I agree that cremation is too expensive, but I’m not convinced by this argument.

Incidentally, is anyone aware of a crematorium that runs on only 3 members of staff?

Charles Cowling
11 years ago

Kingfisher, the Secret Art of Blogging is to provoke comment. Inviting comment lacks pulling power. So an incomplete argument plus incomplete stats — well, you fell for it. One thing you didn’t protest about was the Wesley cost. Six quid a throw? Heck. I agree that the capital cost is huge. But since much of what people pay for presently is non-opt-out stuff like ceremony halls and nice grounds where people can be buried, I’d say it’s unfair on a person who simply wants their dead person burned and the ashes back. All they need is a stand-alone facility. Why… Read more »

11 years ago

Call me Mr Gullible! No, I don’t think £6 a throw is bad for Wesley. They do a great job in sourcing music, are always on the end of the phone, fill a gap in the market, are reliable, well-informed and have a very detailed, up-to-date website. There’s not many organists who would fill that gap for £6. I suppose it’s a supply and demand thing isn’t it? Compare the number of people who want a direct cremation with those who want (need?)(think the only option is?) a service or ceremony at the crematorium, and there you have your answer,… Read more »

Charles Cowling
11 years ago

No, I’m not going to call you Mr Gullible. I want to find out what people think, and to do that you have to, er, needle them just a little bit. Point taken about Wesley. The service they give cannot be bettered, I think everyone agrees about that. I feel a little sorry for the honourable profession of crem organist. I don’t think it’s just about direct cremationists. I don’t see why those who don’t want to use the ‘chapel’ should have to subsidise those who do. On top of that, I think we do well to encourage people to… Read more »

Jenny Uzzell
11 years ago

I do know (freedom of information act plus being on the local inter-faith forum which recently had a meeting about funerals attended by most local fds and other local officials, that our local crematorium subsidises other council expenses and runs at a significant profit. Also, it does not use the Wesley system as it is considered too expensive. I do take Kingfisher’s point though that ‘other expenses’ add up rather quickly! This comes back to the old argument, alternative locations (and better fascilities at crematoria)will become more easily available when people start demanding them. That will happen when people realise… Read more »

David Holmes
11 years ago

My local crem claim a £40 per cremation gas cost..

Either way, the business of running a crematorium is VERY profitable. Why else would Dignity do it?

And memorialisation provides tempting profits from (perhaps often) gullible bereaved relatives..

11 years ago

I love your expression ‘direct cremationists’, Charles. Question for fanatical Humanist funeral officiants:

Should we teach Cremationism in schools?

Mike from Sussex
Mike from Sussex
7 years ago

Just thought I’d add the latest details of our recent ‘visit’ to our local crematorium which was February 2017. They have 45 minute slots through the day (we only used 25 minutes). There appeared to be no one from the Crematorium, during our visit, only the Chaplin, the Funeral Directors and ourselves and the cost for the 45 minute slot….£999 The building has been around for years, not sure how many, but still well established and yes, I believe it is under Dignity. We had the misfortune of visiting the same venue a year previously and if I remember correctly,… Read more »