Low cost is the price of low value

Charles Cowling

 

Barnet funeral experts are unsurprised by news that London is the most expensive place in the country to die.

Emma Sargant, Director of Churchills Family Funeral Directors in East Barnet Road said: “I haven’t put my prices up since 2008.”

However, Barry Broad of Brooks Funerals in Church Hill Road said there are options for people. He said: “Funerals are expensive but we specialise in low cost funerals and our customers say that we are about half the price of the bigger funeral directors.”

We suppose that the story is similar throughout Britain. Funeral costs double more or less every ten years, so Ms Sargant has taken a heck of a hit. 

Yes, there’s a recession on. And third-party costs have risen faster than funeral directors’ charges, especially the cost of cremation. But is that the whole story?

The GFG is inclined to encourage funeral directors to audit the value of the funerals they sell — emotional value. Give your clients more time. Work with them to achieve a better end result.

We suspect that people would be prepared to pay more if they got more from the experience. After all, they’re still forking out for weddings. 

 

 

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Jenny Uzzell
7 years ago

No commission, certainly from one of the ‘Big Boys’, just a telling off if you do it wrong. Not very good pay rates either. Wherever that profit goes it isn’t to the ‘workers’. Possibly explains the standard of service!

David Holmes
David Holmes
7 years ago

I think funerals are perhaps one area of life where you really unlikely to get what you pay for. The big corporate style firms often charge twice as much for delivering almost zero support compared with the best independents. Anyone ‘under orders’ to sell a typical hearse and one funeral, regardless of the clients wishes – with no flexibility on price, date and time, is offering the bereaved a very poor service. Unfortunately so far, the firms operating that way seem to benefit from big profits – thanks to their prices, operational efficiencies and a determination to resist the poor… Read more »

Kathryn Edwards
Kathryn Edwards
7 years ago

Actually, Charles, I rather enjoyed your weddings comparison, but haven’t had a mo to comment until now. People who invest in weddings do ‘want’ them, of course. Those people feed on all manner of individual and group fantasies to elaborate an event that is designed to meet their needs, as far as they understand them. But I’m not sure that it’s right to say that people don’t want funerals. For sure, they might not want the dead to be dead. But they want a good funeral. It’s just bollox that — as we all keep saying — that we are… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
7 years ago

In Plymouth, for example, with a lot of effort you could grind down to about £950 the cost of a cremation (since the council hiked the cremation fee by around £150 in one go); that’s with no funeral director’s involvement at all. Cheap coffin off the internet into the back of the car, pick up the body from the hospital mortuary and go straight to the crem. No top hats, dog collars, celebrants, vehicles; just a family get together. It’s what I did for my mother’s funeral (in Edinburgh, even more expensive at the time) and saved £955 in fd’s… Read more »

Jenny Uzzell
7 years ago

Yes and no, I think, Charles. I agree completely with what you say about the value of a funeral. We hold certain things to be fundamental…unlimited access to the chapel for example, a reassuring voice on the end of a phone 24 hours a day, time and space, and where necessary, help to plan something that is genuinely meaningful and will have a lasting effect. These are not ‘add ons’ they are, in our opinion at least, the fundamental entitlement of a bereaved family. We describe ourselves (to whoever will listen) not as the cheapest funeral home in the area… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
7 years ago
Reply to  Jenny Uzzell

See below, Jenny, you beat me to it by four minutes! I’d add to your comments about weddings and funearls that people don’t want a funeral.