These are turbulent times in the world of funerals, and we were delighted to hear last week of another innovative idea – a funeral director prepared to offer EXACTLY the same coffins that your friendly high street (corporate) undertaker has in their range, at a realistic price!
Gone are the breathtaking markups that you might find in the same friendly high street (corporate) undertakers, here are the coffins that you can find in pretty much every FD’s range, fully compliant with stringent requirements being applied by many crematoria, transparently priced and available for rapid delivery within England, Wales and Scotland.
What we love about this is that anyone making funeral arrangements can challenge the price being charged by their friendly high street (corporate) undertaker, simply by asking them why, for example, the EXACT SAME coffin can be purchased from Coffinbooker.com for half the price quoted in the glossy coffin brochure in front of them.
Until now, coffins supplied by the main suppliers to the funeral trade have not been available directly to the public. Good undertakers will charge a reasonable handling charge on top of the trade price they pay for these coffins, others have seen an opportunity to whack the price up by many hundreds – and in some cases thousands – of pounds. The unsuspecting bereaved person sitting in the arranging room rarely has any idea of the mark up applied. Now, with one fell swoop, the realistic prices of around a hundred styles of coffins can be clearly seem by anyone caring to take a look.
‘ Selling coffins direct to the public. This is not a new concept. My grandfather supplied coffins in the 1930s to families before the advent of funeral directors and the umbrella approach adopted to take all of the aspects – bad and good – beyond the control of the family.
My name is Colin Liddell; I am hardly an outsider to the funeral industry having served the bereaved in one way or another my entire working life. I hold funeral directing qualifications (you may be interested to learn that many funeral directors do not, as the industry is unregulated). This is my first stab at a blog, so I do hope you enjoy reading about my journey.
In 2003, I hosted the first ever public coffin exhibition in Belsay Hall, in rural Northumberland. It began a conversation which is still being held today. At the time the theme was transparency and choice. The conversation has now evolved to empowerment and addressing funeral poverty.
In 2018, there is now a shift towards direct cremations, death cafés, home funerals, soul midwives, the Good Funeral Guide, choice and value and these ideas are beginning to gain traction.
In supply terms, many major coffin companies have to address economies of scale and to deal with the public directly is not an option for them. This gives rise to a situation where many excellent – and would be first choice coffins – become out of reach for the average family due to, in some cases price mark-ups of many hundreds of pounds.
In my daily life I am a funeral director and have made a point of not inflating coffin prices as I have confidence in my service and care and charge for that instead. The logical extension of this has become coffinbooker.com.
The distinction is that I am in a position to offer trade and industry standard coffins, with the latest and best environmental credentials direct to the public. Not shoddy ersatz items which in some cases are not even fit for purpose.
Mine is not a new or unique idea, but my USP is that where available I only sell FSC or FFMA approved coffins or caskets, this I believe makes me unique. I am supplying the kind of coffins and caskets undertakers use – and trust their reputations on. There is much innovation in the industry and hopefully as I see things I like, I shall add to the 100 or so different types or styles on offer.
I have launched the venture with no expectations other than to provide choice and change. It will stand or fall by the courage of the people following the ample guidance on respected internet sources – The Good Funeral Guide naturally being the most informative – regarding families looking after their loved-ones themselves.
My new venture is simple. To deliver the best that is out there and a fraction of current retail price with a complete choice at a one stop shop. You don’t buy a coffin everyday – why buy an everyday coffin? Let’s keep the conversation going.
Thanks for the opportunity,