When faced with making memorial arrangements, you have many options in choosing the organizations to provide those services. While cost is one factor to consider, most families who have made memorial arrangements agree that there are other important considerations, as well. These family members often say that price comparison makes the most sense when also comparing facilities, the firm’s reputation and heritage and the staff’s compassion, professionalism and attention to detail.
Five Important Considerations When Comparing Funeral Service Providers
1. Reputation in the Community and Beyond
You are wise to seek the advice of family, friends, and professionals who have had experience with local memorial providers as you choose one to serve your family. You will also want to consider the firm’s reputation among peers. Members of Selected Independent Funeral Homes have been nominated and elected to membership after a thorough investigation of their business practices and surveys of community members. Each member firm is locally-owned and managed and has pledged its unwavering commitment to the Code of Good Practice.
2. Personal Attention
As you phone and visit local service providers, compare the personal attention you are receiving. Does it appear that your call or visit is an interruption or do you feel welcomed? Do you get the sense you will be treated personally or as “just another family?” Does staff ask questions to allow you to fully explain what your needs are? Memorial arrangements represent far more than a business transaction, and you want a provider who recognizes that every family’s needs are different. Families served by member firms of Selected Independent Funeral Homes are surveyed regularly and one of the most frequent compliments written is, “They treated us like family.”
3. Facilities and Equipment
The condition of facilities and equipment demonstrate how a firm is managed. If the building and cars are clean and well kept, you rightly perceive that details are important. If things appear run-down and dirty, you are right to conclude that details are not significant in the daily operation, and they won’t likely be important as the staff deals with your family, either.
4. Local Heritage of Family Ownership
Members of Selected Independent Funeral Homes do not measure longevity in their communities by months or years but by decades and generations. Many of the owners of our member firms are the third, fourth, fifth and even sixth generation of their family to serve the community. Besides the stability provided by such deep roots in the community, these men and women are highly motivated to see to it their staff provides impeccable service; after all, it is their name over the door. In an age when many funeral providers are owned by large, impersonal, publicly-traded corporations from out of town, it’s nice to know your family is served by people who have invested their lives in your community.
5. Consumer Protection
Inquire about the licenses held by the firm and individuals serving you, since almost all states and provinces license funeral service establishments and the individuals providing professional services. Though government oversight is sometimes cumbersome, these regulations offer an important level of consumer protection. In the United States, funeral homes are bound by the provisions of the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule requiring full price disclosure, approved language on price lists and contracts, codified obligations on the funeral provider’s part, and restrictions on promises and guarantees. A funeral home found to not be in compliance with the law faces stiff penalties and even the loss of its license.
At present, however, non-funeral home sellers of caskets and funeral merchandise are not bound by these same regulations. Know what you are selecting, from whom you are buying it, and what consumer protection is afforded you by local, state, provincial, and federal law. Of course, members of Selected Independent Funeral Homes have subscribed to these principles since long before the Funeral Rule was first enacted in 1984; Selected Independent Funeral Homes members have adhered to their Code of Good Practice since it was first published in 1965.