Sunday, December 16, 2007

Choosing A Funeral or Cremation Provider


I am often asked by friends, family, church members, civic and social groups, etc. “How do we select the right funeral home or cremation provider for me and my family?” I hope this brief explanation may assist you in making your selection. If you have further questions regarding this matter feel free to privately email me at fkitchen@gmail.com and I will respond to your questions.

Most families choose a funeral home based on several factors. One being they may have previously used a particular funeral home. The best way to find a reputable funeral home is word of mouth. Ask your neighbors, friends, co-workers and even the local clergy.

Most funeral establishments are very reputable and like most professions, there are always a few who tend to provide services that are less acceptable.

Choose a funeral home with only licensed funeral directors and embalmers that are active in the planning and preparation of the service details.

Should you have a personal preference such as the ownership of the funeral home, I.e. (Corporate Owned or Independent, Family, Locally Owned) one should inquire in advance as to the ownership status prior calling upon their services. This should be information they would willingly provide.

Some are of the impression that bigger is better, in some cases, this may be true however, this is not always the case when choosing a funeral home or cremation provider. Simply because a funeral and cremation establishment has large facilities, large staff, and provides a large number of funeral services, that does not always imply better services. In many cases it may imply a volume based business. Nobody wants or deserves to be viewed as a number. The smaller funeral homes oftentimes can offer more of a one-on-one specialized services that the larger volume funeral home may not be ale to offer simply due to the volume of business they provide.

The number of years the funeral establishment has been serving a particular community should also be factored into your decision making process. In most cases, the well-established funeral homes have built their business on a proven success record of professional and ethical services. As in any business, there are a number of the well established funeral homes that are of the mindset that because they have been in the community for a number of years they will automatically provide most of the funeral services and sometimes will get too comfortable and lower their service levels and professional standards. In many instances, the newer funeral home can be credited with attempting to exceed the services of the older well-established funeral home, simply due to having a new business mindset, the zeal of new business ownership and the desire to build a strong business and a lasting tradition of professional and ethical standards that are unprecedented in their community.

Price is a factor for many in choosing your funeral home or cremation provider. Remember, cheaper is not always better. You must also keep in mind that like many other businesses, services and products the same is true with regard to funeral and cremation providers, you do get what you pay for. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regulates funeral homes and their pricing structures. When inquiring about funeral arrangements one should be offered a GPL (General Price List) and one should be obtained for further examination.

The funeral or cremation process is one of the most difficult times a family will face throughout their life. The funeral director has a responsibility to you as his or her client family member to act on behalf of your family and the deceased family member in the most professional and ethical manner possible. This individual also has an obligation to the business through assisting the family in assisting with the financial matters of the funeral process.

We need to be responsible human beings in that we prepare in some way for our death or our loved ones death. It really is not the responsibility of your neighbors, church family or the state to care for your burial or cremation.

The most common misconception is that the funeral process is not a business transaction. “The Funeral Process is a business transaction but many funeral service professionals do a great job of removing the business transaction feel to the funeral and cremation process. A funeral contract is entered between two parties, the funeral establishment, or their representative and the family member(s) designated to finalize the funeral arrangements.

Clear thinking, good judgment and becoming knowledgeable prior to experiencing the death of a loved one is the most effective way to choose the right funeral establishment for your family as well as choose the right service and merchandise offerings that meets your emotional and financial needs.

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