Pricing Transparency

Why do cremation prices vary by as much as 700% and burial prices by as much as 400% depending upon the funeral home chosen?  Most consumer do not price shop for funerals.   As a result, cost can be all over the map. By planning ahead, you can choose the type of arrangement and funeral home that fits your family’s budget.

By law, all funeral homes must give you a copy of their price list if you set foot on the premises.  They are not required to send you one by mail, however many funeral homes now post them on their websites.  Always make sure you ask for the General Price List.  If you know exactly what you want, the funeral home can give you a price quote over the phone.  Be sure to ask if the price includes everything.  They should be able to give you a quote that includes everything except taxes.  Better yet–get it in writing.

Since most of us are unfamiliar with funeral industry jargon and may not have experience with planning a cremation or burial, it can be confusing to compare prices–even if we have several funeral home price lists in hand.  

That’s why the PEOPLE’S MEMORIAL Association conducts a Statewide Survey of Funeral Home Prices in Washington State every two years.  In calculating the survey prices, we add in items that may have been left out, so that consumers have a better idea of what their “out the door” price would be.  We recommend the price survey as a first step in shopping around.

Once you have chosen two or three funeral homes that you want to consider, we suggest you visit each funeral home, meet the staff and get a copy of their price list.  Pay attention to how comfortable or not you feel with the facility and staff.   While price is an important factor for most families, quality of service, location,  facilities and reputation are other factors to consider.  

To help you compare prices, we have prepared worksheets for the three basic types of funerals:

Direct Cremation
Direct Burial
Complete Funeral  

The worksheets include the basic items that needed for each type of service, including cemetery costs.  Once you total up all the costs, you will have a much better idea of what to expect.