How to Choose a Funeral Service Provider
There are no laws in the United States that require you to choose a funeral home for all your funeral planning needs. Technically, you could coordinate the entire interment on your own (or under the guidance of a licensed provider), as long as you adhere to all the legal requirements in your county and fill out all the appropriate paperwork that accompanies death. For more in depth guidance, download our guide “7 Insider Tips You Need to Know Before Funeral Planning”
However, because there is so much red tape to wade through, and because death is a difficult time to start investigating alternative burial options, most people do end up going through a funeral home. With their experience, guidance, and sensitivity, the professionals at these organizations are one of the best ways to make funeral plans while also feeling a sense of comfort that everything will be polished and presented with respect for your loved one.
Most people choose a funeral home because it is either close to their home or because it is one they have used before (or because they once attended a funeral there). While these are perfectly legitimate reasons to choose a funeral home, most cities have dozens of options. Here are a few key qualities to look out for when making your choice:
- Price—Funeral law requires that providers give you a price list for services and products. If you have time on your side (because you are pre-planning a funeral), take this opportunity to compare costs and to determine how easy it might be to bring in caskets or funeral flowers from an outside provider.
- Accessibility—While most funeral homes will work around your schedule, some might not be very accessible via phone or email or any of your preferred communication methods. Find a funeral home that is compatible with you, and your experience is much more likely to be a good one.
- Funeral Packages—Oftentimes, funeral homes provide packages of services for one lump sum. These can make the funeral planning process much easier and relieve you of some of your burden.
- Ownership—Some funeral homes are small, family-operated businesses, while others are part of a larger chain. Both of these options come with their pros and cons. For example, family-owned homes might be a stronger part of the community, but chains tend to offer more competitive prices. You can usually determine ownership by the company’s website or by asking.
- Affiliations—Funeral homes are often associated with specific crematoriums, cemeteries, religious organizations, and national organizations (like fraternal orders or unions). If any of these are important to you, you can choose your funeral home based on recommendations or affiliations.
Pre-need funeral services are another great reason to choose one particular funeral provider over another. There are many different types of pre-plan options, which range from funeral insurance to paying for the entire process. If you intend to plan everything ahead of time, be sure and find a funeral home that can meet your financial, spiritual, and emotional needs.