This section of the hotline is about Funeral Pricing and the cost of services. Prices can vary dramatically among funeral homes even in our local area. According to a recent survey, the average cost of a funeral nationwide is $7150.00 and that's with burial. You can usually deduct about $1500.00 to $2000.00 if cremation is selected.
Now there are three main elements of funeral prices.
The first element consists of incidental items such as; newspaper obituaries, celebrant/minister, flowers, chapel hire and death certificates. We refer to these as cash advance items because the funeral home doesn't receive the funds, we simply collect them and then forward them to the responsible party. In Cairns and surrounding areas, these items typically total between $450.00 and $750.00 and they should be the same no matter which funeral home you choose.
The second element of funeral prices is the merchandise. This typically consists of a coffin or an urn and sometimes a burial vault. One of the best ways to evaluate a funeral home is to look at how they price their merchandise. Let's take coffins for example, according to a recent survey, coffin prices nationwide range from $2000 to $4000 yet at our funeral home, our coffin prices start at $695 and last year our average coffin sale was $990.
We have had families tell us that they have seen coffin prices at some of the other area funeral homes as high as $8000. Be very careful if you see a high price like that.
Most people like to buy in the middle of any price range and inflating the top end of their prices is just one way that some merchandise providers get you to buy more than you really want or need.
The third element is the service fee that you pay the funeral home. This fee is intended to cover the services provided for the deceased and the family of the deceased and this is where funeral homes can vary dramatically. Some funeral homes charge a very low service fee as they only take care of the deceased and provide very few services for the family. Unfortunately they're missing the entire point of what a funeral is for.
A memorable funeral service is a time for friends and family to gather together to remember and celebrate the life of a loved one. It's a time to share the stories and warm memories. This is what we at Cairns Funeral Directors call a life story. Throughout the ages sharing the life stories of loved ones has been the centrepiece of any memorial service. Today psychologists tell us that sharing life stories is an essential part of the emotional healing process.
Another factor to be weary of is hidden extras. When told the service fee, ask what it includes. Funerals generally incur costs of coffins, chapel hire, burial or cremation fees, flowers, celebrants, death certificates, transportation, vehicles, etc. Don't be caught out with funeral homes that tack these costs on at the end.
At Cairns Funeral Directors we understand that the loss of a loved one creates not only emotional hardship but also financial hardship. To ease the burden, we do have a payment plan to help you and your family.
Also, look at what kind of support services the funeral home offers you after the funeral. Grief can take years to resolve and meaningful support services can form an essential safety net for you and your family.
At Cairns Funeral Directors we are committed to helping you celebrate the life of your loved one by sharing their stories one more time.
Look for the funeral homes philosophy, whether it's based on service or merchandise. A good funeral home will not attempt to maximise their profits through the sale of merchandise, instead they will offer funeral services that are designed to help every generation of the family so they can form a positive and lasting memory of your loved one, cherishing their life story.