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Why Are Funerals So Expensive?

Traditional funeral services cost thousands of dollars, but Why Are Funerals So Expensive? Get a rundown of key factors that make funeral services expensive.
Why Are Funerals So Expensive?
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The price of services goes up over time even when inflation isn’t at record levels, but the cost of some services seems to go up at a much higher rate. Funeral services are the perfect example. Why Are Funerals So Expensive? Normal inflation is around 2%, but the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) has found the cost of traditional services at a funeral home has increased at a faster pace. The NFDA 2021 Member General Price List Study analyzed costs across the U.S., and found between 2016 and 2021 funeral services increased 6.6% to $7,848. In 2009 the cost was just $6,560 – and that was a 21% increase from the prior decade

The cost of cremation vs burial isn’t much different if funeral home services are involved. The median cost of cremation with a viewing was $6,970 in 2021. That’s an increase of 11.3% over the course of five years.

Funeral services are getting more expensive, but the why are funerals so expensive? What Makes Funeral Services So Expensive? It turns out there are two primary reasons for inflated rates, but the good news is families have more cost-effective alternatives. 

Assistance From Funeral Experts

One of the primary reasons that funeral homes charge so much for services is because they provide expertise. And their services are needed at a time when most people aren’t in the best position to figure out all of the legal details related to disposition and arranging a funeral. 

Many people will pay a premium for convenience when something is difficult or out of their scope of knowledge. Arranging a funeral fits into both of those categories. Funeral directors understand this, and some funeral homes use it as reasoning to inflate prices. They rely on the fact that many people simply don’t have the time to learn what needs to be done or even the average price for cremation and burial. 

Fortunately, not all funeral homes see it that way. At Cremation.Green our expertise is never seen as a reason to charge higher rates. We consider our expertise to be a byproduct of all the work we put into providing exemplary disposition services for the benefit of our clients. 

Why Are Funerals So Expensive?
Funeral home, crematory and burial vintage retro poster.

There Are Many Costs to Account For With a Traditional Funeral

Why Are Funerals So Expensive? If you look at an itemized list of costs for a traditional funeral you may be surprised by how many things are added to the total. There are often dozens of individual fees, from gas to transport the body to casket rentals. 

Even if you don’t opt for all of the services, the funeral home has to cover the cost to make them available to clients. Maintaining a facility for all of the possible services significantly increases operating expenses and overhead costs for the funeral home. Often those expenses get passed on to the clients. 

Take for example a traditional funeral home. It will often have:

  • Offices
  • Space for preparing the body
  • Storage facilities
  • Viewing room
  • Reception areas
  • Chapel
  • Parking/Garage space for hearses and visitors

The fact that funeral homes must be staffed 24 hours a day is also a factor. A full-service funeral home is a complex operation that some may find a bit excessive. Unfortunately, the excessiveness comes at a price even if you choose simple funeral services.

Why Are Funerals So Expensive?

Expensive full service funeral home

They don’t need to be. A full-service funeral home is a complex operation that comes at a price. But, you can choose direct cremation and save thousands of dollars. Keep reading to find out how Cremation.Green is working to reduce funeral costs.

How Cremation.Green Keeps Funeral Costs Low

By focusing on minimizing impact, Cremation.Green also minimizes costs without decreasing service quality. We specialize in eco-friendly direct cremation and direct burial that doesn’t require all of the expensive extras. Direct cremation and burial is only the disposition without a viewing or funeral services with the body present. Instead, families hold a memorial service or scattering ceremony after the disposition is complete. 

Direct Funeral Services Lower the Cost, Not Quality

Direct funeral services are much more simple and streamlined. While traditional funeral services have steadily increased in cost since the 1970s and the cost of cremation with funeral services is getting close to burial, the cost of direct cremation has pretty much remained the same for over a decade. In 2012, the median cost of direct cremation was $2,260. Today it’s still around that price or even lower. 

One key difference that dramatically reduces the cost of direct funeral services is eliminating the need for embalming. The NFDA puts the median cost of embalming at $775. The ecological costs are ever greater given that embalming fluid is full of toxins like formaldehyde that leach out into the ground. Eliminating that step alone reduces the cost of traditional funeral services by nearly 10%. 

Simpler services also means we don’t need a huge facility to operate. Our funeral homes are simple offices used primarily for families to pick up cremated remains. There are no exorbitant operating costs to pass on to the customers. 

Cremation.Green is a technologically driven company that has been at the forefront of innovating the funeral industry. In addition to being paperless, we use technology to improve communication, expedite the process and reduce labor costs. Our team is constantly evaluating performance and looking for new ways to lower the cost of funeral services, both for the environment and the families we help. It’s how we know decisions like using a hybrid electric van instead of a hearse is financially beneficial for our clients while lowering their carbon footprint. 

Our goal is to focus on reducing the cost of funeral services all around while maintaining a high level of care that enables families to hold memorial services at times and places that are more meaningful to them.

Why Are Funerals So Expensive? At the end of the day, traditional funeral services are expensive because funeral homes have found people will pay a high price largely because they don’t know how to handle things on their own. Options like direct cremation help counter the effect by giving families more affordable alternatives that they don’t have to manage on their own.

If you’d like to know more about direct cremation, green burial or other disposition alternatives like natural organic reduction, please give the Cremation.Green team a call anytime 24/7.

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Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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