Columnists

Why Are Funerals So Expensive?

Issue 9.14

A funeral can be an expensive endeavor.  The price of a funeral is driven by three major costs:  professional services, merchandise, and cemetery expenses.

The professional services charge is the basic overhead charge of the funeral home.  It covers the services of the funeral director and secretarial staff, the preparation and filing of necessary authorizations and permits, the recording of vital statistics, the preparation of obituary notices, utility expense, insurance, and general overhead expense. Funeral homes are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose their price for professional services.  The price for this service is itemized on a general price sheet, and by law these price sheets are available to the public.    Individuals should take the time to research this itemized price when selecting a funeral home as the cost of professional services can vary widely.  For example, in our area, this price varies nearly $1,400 between funeral homes.  Oftentimes in the funeral industry, the bigger the building, the bigger the professional services fee.

The cost of merchandise includes caskets, vaults, headstones, etc.  The largest variable is the price of the casket.  For example, a mahogany, cherry, or pecan wood casket will be more expensive than a poplar or pine wood casket.  The choice of interior fabric also influences the price and includes crepe or velvet.  Metal casket choices include bronze, copper, stainless steel, and two thicknesses of steel.  Vaults also vary largely in quality and price.  Higher-quality vaults are more expensive and are made to seal water-tight.  Once again, the prices for caskets and vaults can vary widely between funeral homes.  The same-quality vault or casket at one funeral home may end up costing you hundreds or even thousands more at another.

In our area, we are very fortunate to have many city-owned cemeteries from which to choose.  City cemeteries are subsidized by tax dollars; therefore, they are far less expensive than the privately-owned cemeteries often found in large cities. 

Serenity Funeral Home has a simple philosophy – keep overhead low so the savings can be passed on to the public without sacrificing quality.  We invite you to stop by our facility any time to receive a copy of our general price list and a free planning guide.  We are located just off Riverside Drive at 1316 S. 400 E., St. George, UT, or call us at (435) 986-2085, www.serenicareofStGeorge.com.

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