Organising a funeral is one of the most traumatic, emotional, sentimental, serious, and worrying things that any of us will ever have to do.
It is such a complex thing to think about and arrange, and of course is something you need to get right first time, that it’s not surprising that people find it really hard to decide on the right funeral and the right…
Whenever you’re looking for a bespoke product or a service you will find it very hard to compare one to another to see which offers the best value, and perhaps this is why some of the bigger funeral directors charge so much money.
I mean, if you’re paying £6500 for a funeral service from a big company, compared to £2000 from an independent funeral director, then surely the difference in price comes down to the difference in care and the service provided – right?
Well, sadly no, it is far more complicated to compare one funeral with another than this.
Funeral directors don’t tend to break down their pricing, but there are several fixed costs that you’re going to have to pay no matter who you use.
These are know as Disbursements
Disbursements are unavoidable costs and cover things like doctors fees (about £180), crematorium fees (could be up to or over £500), a coffin cost (people must be delivered to the crematorium in a coffin and it cannot be opened by the staff there, it must also be cremated – good quality coffins can be obtained for £300 – but most major funeral directors will charge you up to £1000, and in some cases more than that), embalming, and many other costs and charges.
So the total price that you will pay is an accumulation of many other costs, some that are fixed (e.g. doctors fees and council crematorium or burial fees, church fees, etc), and others that the funeral director can “manipulate” – like how much they charge you for a coffin, or embalming, or their services, etc, etc, etc.
What you really need to do is to obtain a breakdown of costs from your funeral director to fully understand what they are charging you – and then question those costs.
Of course the larger funeral directors will argue that they need to cover much bigger overheads than an independent funeral director, but why should you pay their costs if you don’t need to?
What they are trying to do is give you the impression that higher costs = higher quality, but this simply isn’t true.
As stated above many of the costs are fixed and are the same for all funerals, the differential in cost comes from the amounts that individual funeral directors will charge you the same things (which are strictly controlled), and therefore come down to how much money they want to make from you.
I’m afraid it is that simple and so you really need to shop around, ask them difficult questions, and choose what’s right for you – at the right cost.
In Scotland and specifically Aberdeen you may find a wide variance in costs and prices, and so here it in Aberdeenshire it is especially important to shop around and look for the best price.