If you’ve used a funeral home in the past, don’t automatically assume it’s the best choice.
Maybe you’ve lost a loved one and need to find a funeral home quickly. Or perhaps you’ve decided to pre-plan your own funeral to spare your family the ordeal while they’re bereaved. Whatever your reason for considering funeral providers, it’s a good idea to do some comparison shopping. That’s the only way to tell if their services are what you’re seeking, the facilities are to your liking, and that the pricing is in line with your budget. By learning how to choose wisely, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and improve your overall satisfaction with the services you receive. We’ve compiled the following guide to assist you and your family in making the best choice for your needs.
Start by setting a budget.
Shopping for a funeral should be like making any major purchase—determine what you can afford before you begin your search. While many people simply accept the funeral home’s price and then scramble to come up with the money, that isn’t the most effective way to go about it. Together with your family members, discuss a budget, and decide on an amount that you’re able to spend without undue hardship. Does anyone have preferences regarding the type of arrangement? For example, is a traditional funeral service with burial favored, or would cremation with a memorial service be more fitting? If you’re planning for a loved one, did he or she leave any written instructions or specific funeral wishes? Considering questions like these will help guide you in setting your budget and in the funeral planning. And be sure to determine if your loved one already has a pre-arranged funeral plan in place. If so, that document will provide direction for the selection of the funeral home.
Do your research.
Start by conducting an internet search of funeral homes in your area and then visit each of their websites. Review the information there closely to get a feel for their approach to funeral services. Do the images represent an appealing setting for your needs? Read staff biographies and client testimonials, if provided. If pricing is a concern, review any information they offer regarding the details of their funeral costs. It’s also wise to check social review sites like Yelp and Merchant Circle to see what others had to say about their experience with the funeral homes you’re considering. Your friends and family can also be good sources for recommendations. Once your shortlist of funeral homes is compiled, contact them directly by phone or in person.
Meet with the funeral director.
Also called an arrangement conference, this first meeting can take place in person or over the phone. It’s an opportunity for you to ask questions, learn more about the services offered, and get a general sense of what the funeral home in question is like. For these reasons, an in-person visit is preferable. The funeral director should be friendly, courteous, well-informed, and compassionate. Among the primary factors to take into consideration are:
- Your level of comfort: Do you feel like the funeral director understands the type of service you want and is committed to achieving your vision?
- Goods and services: Does the funeral home offer the goods and/or services you’re interested in purchasing?
- Pricing: Are the goods and services offered within your budget?
- Amenities: Does the funeral home have the type of accommodations you need, such as accessibility for the disabled and the elderly, a private area for family to gather, etc.? Are the facilities clean and attractive?
- Religious and cultural considerations: Does the funeral director understand your religious or cultural needs? Has the home ever prepared a funeral according to your religious or cultural customs?
Ask for a General Price List (GPL).
Upon request, the funeral home should provide you with a written, itemized price list when you visit their business. In accordance with The Funeral Rule established by the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates funeral providers, the funeral home must produce a General Price List that is yours to keep. This document lists all of the items and services they offer, along with the cost of each one. As with any major purchase, it’s wise to examine the price list carefully before signing any contract.
Choosing the right funeral home isn’t an easy task, especially if it’s at a time when you’re grieving. At Evan W. Smith Funeral Services, we’re here to lift some of the weight off of your shoulders. Please reach out to our caring staff if we can be of assistance in any way.
About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit https://www.evanwsmithfuneralservices.com/.