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What You Need to Know About Family-Owned vs Corporate-Owned Funeral Homes

Get the rundown on what makes family-owned funeral homes different from corporate-owned funeral homes - services offered, prices, customer care and more.
Family-Owned Funeral Homes vs Corporate-Owned Funeral Homes
Family-Owned Funeral Homes vs Corporate-Owned Funeral Homes

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We recently provided consumers with a quick guide on key ways to compare funeral homes to find the right one. One of the comparison points was whether the funeral home was family-owned or corporate-owned. While the former used to be the norm, the latter has become increasingly more common over the last twenty years. 

They may appear to be the same at first glance, but family-owned funeral homes and corporate-owned funeral homes actually operate very differently. And those differences have an impact on what funeral services are offered, their prices and how they can be personalized. 

Read on for an in-depth look at how family-owned funeral homes compare to corporate-owned funeral homes so you can find the best option for your needs. 

Custom Services Are Usually Easier to Arrange With Family-Owned Funeral Homes

Family-owned funeral homes are individual businesses that can offer whatever services they like that are within the legal boundaries of their license. They aren’t beholden to corporate boards or investors that may have a say in how the funeral home is operated. 

If a corporate-owned funeral home does allow for customization it may require approval higher up, which could cause delays. It’s not uncommon for the funeral director to have difficulty getting in contact with local managers. 

Another consideration is the added cost that comes with customizing services. An independent family-owned funeral home may provide customized services at no extra cost, but that’s rarely the case at a corporate-owned funeral home. 

However, it should be noted that across the board, funeral homes are offering more services today that are both directly and indirectly related to their disposition services. This is the result of various factors including the shift to less expensive cremation, customer demand for full-service funeral homes and tools enabled by advanced technology. 

Corporate-Owned Funeral Homes Rarely Provide Flexibility for Special Requests

Because family-owned funeral homes are independent, they have a lot more flexibility all around. Cremation.Green is the perfect example. Since its establishment, our local funeral home has focused on providing eco-friendly funeral services. The choice affects all aspects of how we operate. Our flexibility enables us to grow and adapt as death care technology quickly evolves. 

Unlike family-owned funeral homes, there’s very little flexibility with a corporate-owned funeral home. They often have protocols that must be followed and deviating from that could be difficult or even impossible.

If you know the funeral services you need to arrange will involve special requests, that should be discussed in your first conversation with a funeral home. Ask specifically how the special request will be accommodated and if that comes with an added cost.

Family-Owned Funeral Homes Are Known for Personalized Service

Few things in life are as personal as funeral services. Even if simple direct cremation is the plan, families don’t want to feel like a number. They want to be seen and heard more than ever. Unfortunately, at some corporate-owned funeral homes the managers of the facility never meet with the family. 

If personalized service is a priority, family-owned funeral homes are usually the better option of the two. It often goes back to the fact that corporate-owned funeral homes are limited in how they conduct business. Local family-owned funeral homes tend to understand the importance of personalization in their community and may even have known the deceased personally.  

Family-Owned Funeral Homes Are Usually More In-Tune With Locals

In most cases, family-owned local funeral homes are more in touch with the residents of an area. They really work to serve the community, with the funeral director and all employees living in the area they serve. This connection can make a real difference in how families feel about the funeral services they receive and even what services are offered.

Corporate-Owned Funeral Homes Sometimes Offer Lower Rates

An advantage that corporate-owned funeral homes sometimes but doesn’t always offer is cheap funeral services. Because of their corporate backing, inflexible protocols and streamlined services, corporate-owned funeral homes can offer. However, some areas have seen corporate-owned funeral homes discount their rates temporarily to reduce the number of competing local funeral homes only to increase their rates once the competition is gone. 

Corporate-Owned Funeral Homes May Have More Resources

Because the funeral home is a part of a network within a corporation, it can usually tap into more resources than a family-owned funeral home. It’s a consideration in areas where there’s a large population and a limited number of funeral homes. The added offsite resources could help the funeral process go much quicker and smoother. 

Corporate-Owned Funeral Homes Are Known to Push More Upsells

The thing about basic services at low costs is just that – they are basic. If you want to go beyond that or add to it that will cost more. You may also be shown an itemized list of additional services that cost extra and quickly add up. 

In terms of pushing the additional services, corporate-owned funeral homes have more of a reputation for the practice of putting profits over people. Family-owned funeral homes are close to their community members and don’t want to gain the reputation of pushing needless extras on people to increase the price that’s paid.  

This goes beyond the final cost of the funeral. If a funeral home has a high sales pressure environment with targets to hit it can impact how the employees interact with families. That can end up souring the entire experience.

Something families should be mindful of is that some corporate funeral homes purposely want to appear to be smaller, locally-owned businesses. If you aren’t sure if a funeral home is family-owned or corporate-owned ask for clarification upfront. 

Cremation.Green is proud to be a family-owned independent funeral home that believes in big-hearted care. We’re homegrown in the Lone Star State and work to help expand eco-friendly funeral services for all Texans regardless of their budget. We’re happy to answer your questions or help you arrange funeral services any hour of the day by phone, text or email.

Picture of Marlaena Gonzales

Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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