Dignity Caring Funeral Services prices 2016

Fran Hall 15 Comments
Fran Hall


For some reason, the UK’s largest provider of funeral related services prefers not to list their prices online.

Happily, we have no such reservations about letting the public know the current cost of a funeral from a Dignity PLC owned business.

(There are currently in the region of 780 funeral director businesses in the UK that belong to Dignity PLC, all of which trade under the name of their former owners.

Have a look here to see which undertakers near you are owned by Dignity. Put your postcode in and see which names come up. You may well be surprised.)

Anyway, back to the prices. To save you squinting at the small print in the pics below, as a quick reckoner, if you pick a Dignity funeral director to be your undertaker, agree to their recommendation of embalming for ‘peace of mind’, select a cardboard coffin and require just a hearse to go direct to the crematorium or cemetery, your bill will be £4,375.00.

Just for clarity, this figure does not include the cremation or burial fees, you’ll need to add another £999.00 just for the cremation fee at many of the Dignity owned crematoria.

Nor does this figure cover the cost for an officiant at the ceremony.  Nor the doctors’ fees required for a cremation in England and Wales. Nor flowers, orders of service, a funeral tea, or an urn for the ashes. 

An at a glance breakdown of the main constituents of that £4,375.00 (all capitals letters not our own) is below. We haven’t bothered to type up all the details, but if you zoom in on the images below, you will see just what you get for your money under each category. (We quite liked the sound of ‘...full access to our own 24 hour Client Service Centre’ which sounds like a description of a VIP lounge at an airport, although in fact it’s a fancy name for the after hours call centre where phone calls get answered when the staff have all gone home.)

Our Service to You:                                         £1,405.00

Our Service to the Person who has Died:       £  950.00

Our Embalming Service:                                 £    75.00

‘We will ensure every available care is taken to delay the natural processes that occur after death. However, as members of the National Association of Funeral Directors, we recommend the peace of mind that embalming brings. You will be advised on this and we will require your consent.’

Your Appointed Funeral Director:               £  665.00

Our Hearses:                                              £  620.00 (each)

Our Limousines                                          £  175.00 (each)

Our Range of Coffins and Caskets – examples:

Veneer MDF coffin:                                      £  440.00

Cardboard coffin:                                         £  660.00

Willow coffin:                                                £1015.00

Source: Dignity Funerals Ltd Price List 3rd October 2016.

You could of course opt for the Dignity Simple Funeral, which offers limited access to their full range of services, no choice of coffin and limited choice on the date and time of the funeral. The Dignity Simple Funeral costs £2,520 and must be paid in full (along with all cremation or burial costs) 48 hours in advance of the funeral date.

Chief Executive of Dignity PLC, Mike McCollum, was among the delegates attending the national conference on funeral poverty held in Edinburgh this week.

We weren’t on the same table as him, so are not able to relay what contribution or comment he had on the subject.





  1. Fran Hall

    Avoid the big companies and seek out the independent funeral directors listed in The Good Funeral Guide. Excellent and caring independent funeral directors are out there and their charges are much lower than the big boys (who gobble up small competitors) because they do not have venture capitalist loans to pay back, greedy directors to pay or share holder dividends to consider. What you get for your (considerably lower) fee is a really caring personal service, usually with the proprietor arrangjng the funeral with you, keeping in close communication with you throughout AND being there on the day of the funeral to support you and make the whole service work. One charge, clearly broken down and explained. Don’t be afraid to get quotes from as many independents as possible.
    I should point out that I am not a funeral director but I do work in the industry as a civil celebrant and I have worked as an operative and a manager in the large companies..

  2. Fran Hall

    Ahem, I’m not surprised that some independent’s are advertising their charges alongside their Dignity competitor. I may get them to do my embalming and supply limousines, both seem like excellent value. I don’t think I’ll bother with the coffins or funeral director’s thou.

    This business model is all about getting the right (high) return for investors and shareholders. It’s a cost plus system, seemingly reliant on families choosing the firm they’ve always used, or the local ‘name’ that they have always known and trusted. Let’s face it, it’s working well for them, and as Dignity Plc tells us, 95% of their clients say they would use them again.

  3. Fran Hall

    Apologies, 98.2% say they were satisfied with the service Dignity provided. The survey results are easy to google. Sadly, perhaps for reasons of space, they don’t seem to have asked their clients if they thought the cost was fair?

    1. Fran Hall

      More than a decade ago, Claire Rayner’s Co-op Funeralcare inquiry into people’s experiences of a funeral identified what it called ‘secret disappointment’. It posed the same question; ‘How satisfied were you with the funeral? and got much the same answer, that almost all said ‘very satisfied or completely satisfied’. However, the next question; ‘Could it have been improved?’ found half of them said yes it could. How can you be completely satisfied with something you think could have been improved?

      Rayner’s panel came to the conclusion that we don’t want to admit it if we failed our loved one in their last goodbye — too much is at stake emotionally to live with such a belief, and so we deny our disappointment while carrying it around with us anyway. So next time aroundf we’re almost bound to use the same undertaker, partly to avoid challenging our illusion of having done it right. As I remember, the inquiry addressed Co-op’s own customers, which may have a bearing on the response or it may not, but ‘secret disappointment’ strikes me, ironically, as a potent thing to exploit when it comes to encouraging return business.

  4. Fran Hall

    There is so much wrong with this, I just don’t know where to begin.
    My first thought though is that it is time for public education rather than on the funeral industry to change.
    The national chain FDs and funeral associations want to protect market share, profits and directors salaries rather than giving an affordable service to the public.
    The amazing (and in general, mainly independent) funeral directors charge a fair price for their services and usually at a fraction of the costs quoted in this Dignity report.

    1. Fran Hall

      Have to agree Nick!!

      We will be posting a blog about our thoughts on Dignity’s sideways move into direct cremation on Monday – watch this space.

      1. Fran Hall

        At first glance, it’s astonishing! Will they (Dignity) promote it, will it be available in their branch network and will their funeral arrangers be able to offer it to families, particularly those suffering hardship? So many questions.

        In theory, it has to be a welcome response to the high cost of funerals, even if it’s not actually a funeral.

        The website is terrific, very clear.

  5. Fran Hall

    I lived a distance of 2.5 hours away when I got the message my Dad had died!!!
    the call came at 12pm and I was is in process of moving house..

    Anyway, Mum had instructed Co-Op before I arrived. Please don’t deal with these people. Found them to be very cold and calculating, plus money orientated.

    Mum and Dad lived in Musselburgh. I still feel so sad when I visit and feel I let them down in someway on that final journey!!!!!!!!

    It was not my intention…….. I loved them both so much.

  6. Fran Hall

    Dignity? I saw no dignity when my deceased father was dragged out of the bedroom, on a sheet, across the floor to the waiting trolley, infront of all the family. He was undressed, uncovered, and wrestled onto the lowered trolley. He was then kicked in the head 3 times. He was wheeled out and carried down 3 steps, where they proceeded to drop my father on the floor in a very public area (causing the sheet to come off) Needless to say, we chose a different funeral Directors.

  7. Fran Hall

    This is a few years old now, but £660 for a cardboard coffin 😮 !


    Depending on the style, that is multiples of what most of the direct to customer businesses sell them for.

    As mentioned by other commenters, public education is important. This may seem like a good price if you don’t know otherwise.

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