Frequently Asked Questions and How to Save $3000-$8000 on your funeral
We have large selection of caskets. Most funeral homes only show you limited models at prices that are roughly 3x to 5x more than ours. They sell 1 or 2 per week and are forced to buy from distributors like ourselves. That means an 18ga steel casket on our website is $995 or $1095 and the funeral home charges $3500 to $6000. Why would an empty 18ga steel box at the funeral home be $5000 when you can buy an 18ga metal refrigerator for $1000 at Sears with a cooling system and motor. Why can you buy a 4-piece solid wood bedroom set for $1500 and an empty wooden box at the funeral home is $6,000 to $15,000? As one funeral home, told me they make $5,000 to $9,000 on the funeral services and it doesn’t do them any good to make only $100 on the casket. We are here to save you money on both the funeral casket and vault and suggest ways to save money on the funeral services. We also have discount funeral homes that we can suggest to you that will save you thousands more on the funeral services. The funeral director is paid a commission on the profit on the casket plus the profit on the funeral service. It is his job to get all the money he can and it is your job to try to keep as much money as possible.
We feel like we are helping people at a time of grieving to avoid throwing away an extra $3000 to $5000 with the funeral home. Unfortunately, funeral expense is one of the leading causes of bankruptcies. Unfortunately, many people do not have the energy to shop for the best casket or funeral at the time of such grieving and just go to the neighborhood funeral home and pay whatever they say.
Typical Funeral Prices
$3700 Non-Declinable service charge (funeral home overhead, employees, rent, utilities)
$ 800 Embalming
$ 200 Other Preparation of body (Cosmetology, Hair, etc.)
$ 300 Visitation/Viewing
$ 300 Use of funeral home chapel at funeral home for viewing
$ 500 Transfer of remains to Funeral Home
$ 150 Hearse to cemetery
$ 100 Service car/van
$ 80 Acknowledgement cards
$4500 Casket 18 Ga. Steel, Sealer, Velvet interior
$11,000 TOTAL not including burial vault
$ 900 Vault asphalt coated concrete sealer
$10,700 Grand Total
- How quickly can you get a casket to me?
Normally the viewing at the very earliest is 3 days after they die. So we can usually get a casket to you with a 1 to 3 hour flight from Atlanta, GA and we use all 5 major airlines to deliver it to an airport near you and then we have a hot-shot courier pick it up from the airport and drop it off directly to the funeral home door, or your personal residence. You have at least a 3 day window and if you order it by 5pm Eastern (4pm Central or 2pm Pacific) you get it next day which is 2 days before it is even going to get used. All body preparation is done on the embalming table and not in the casket. The casket is not used until 2-3 hours before the viewing so again you have that 3 day window before the casket will be used and you get it the next day. ATL Airport has direct flights to over 160 USA airports. We will soon be flying direct out of Washington DC also with another warehouse. We have expedited trucking and Free trucking that take more time.
- Do you have a specific casket that I saw at the funeral home?
There are 200 suppliers of caskets in the USA. All are made the same way and honestly they are all just attractive containers for the body. They don’t have wheels or motors. The only quality difference between them is our most popular casket which is our 18gauge steel and all wood caskets have the thicker more expensive velvet lining. The funeral homes use a much thinner crepe lining. We also finish out the caskets on the foot end with velvet and if you open the foot end of a funeral home casket you will see bare cardboard. They don’t even bother to finish them out. Why not buy from the wholesale distributor, us, and cut out the funeral home. Again, we show you 650 models and the funeral home shows you 7 or 8. We don’t always have every model that they have, so it comes down to paying us $1095 and get it next day or buy from the pictures at the funeral home for $5000 and get it next day.
3) MOST IMPORTANT ITEM: If I agree to buy your casket and then my family members do not agree to buy it from you, then what?
Typically someone in the family becomes the decision maker in regard to the whole funeral service. They decide what funeral home and where they will buy the casket. Unfortunately what is the most common practice is to go to the closest funeral home while the tears are still fresh and buy everything without regard to price. Every funeral home loves this. This is what we suggest that you do below:
Step 1: Read all of the notes on these pages in regard to strategies to save money.
Step 2: Call us to get the final price on the casket, the time when you will receive it and also ask any other additional questions that you may have.
Step 3: Talk to the decision maker in your family about our web site and have them read these pages of suggestions. The negotiating tactics will still save you thousands even if you do not decide to buy from us. This decision maker has already stepped forward to assume responsibility for handling this and they typically take the easiest and most expensive way by going to the nearest funeral home. This is a financial disaster. It is equivalent to going to buy a car from your local car dealer and telling him that you are definitely going to buy a car from him and then asking him for a price on a car. Funeral homes have often told us the name of the game is to get the body and then figure out what is the most the family can afford to pay and then you simply bring out a “package deal” which includes their casket. That package deal could be $4000, $10,000 or $20,000. Their choice based on what they think you will pay. Don’t want to leave any money on the table as they say.
Step 4: Have the decision maker call us to ask additional questions. Help them to think that this is their decision to buy online. Some decision makers will not do anything suggested by someone else purely because it is not their idea. The idea here is to spend $8,000 on the funeral and not $15,000.
Step 5: Shop around as stated below with different funeral homes starting with the furthest away. Get itemized lists from each one called a “General Price List” which they are required by law to give you before they give you their package prices. Notice how one charges $500 for embalming and the next $1000. Typical funeral services are $4500 to $5000 in rural areas. In the metropolitan areas those servicing African American funeral homes can be $2000 to $5000. Funeral homes serving mixed races charge typically $5000 to $10,000. For major metropolitan areas, often we can make suggestions.
4) What payment types do you accept?
We accept Credit cards or Debit cards, Master Card, Visa, Discover and American Express as well as Paypal. You can also wire the money from your bank to us which usually takes about 2 hours or for those wanting to pay cash you can go to your nearest Western Union and we will receive it in 4 minutes. You can also send us cashier checks by mail or express overnight. Call us for more information on how to send money by Western Union or our bank wire information.
5) What is the basic procedure to buy a casket from you?
Call us and give us a payment and we will ship the casket out today to the funeral home of your choice. We will need to know the zip code of the funeral home so that we can calculate the extra cost of our expedited shipping if it is necessary. The whole time on the phone is roughly 5 minutes. Easy
6) Should I mention to the funeral home that I will be buying a casket from you?
It is best to get the pricing before your loved one dies. If that is not possible, then it is best to send someone in they do not recognize to get the pricing. Basically you approach them saying 1) You do not have much money, no insurance, you are the only one paying and you don’t have any choice but to choose a funeral home that gives you the best pricing. 2) You do not live that close (3-4 miles away if lots of funeral homes around and 10-15 miles away if there are only 1 or 2 funeral homes around. So in summary, I am shopping, shopping, shopping, I don’t live close and this is all out of pocket and I am the only one paying. I am getting some help because my aunt has already purchased a casket so I am only shopping for the funeral and burial services. You will want to buy the casket from us because we have 650 models to choose from with an average price of $850 to $1,095. The funeral home is $2,000 to $5,000 for similar caskets and they will only show you 7-8 to pick from.
7) Can you direct me to a local funeral home that might be selling your caskets now?
No, these funeral homes typically buy 50 caskets from us per year and they sell the metal caskets for an average price of $4500. They get angry when you can buy our caskets online for $995 while they are charging you $4500. I do not want to anger these big customers of mine. Some of them have forced us to stop selling to their area to keep their business.
8) How is the casket protected from shipping damage when you order from us?
The casket is shipped in one of two special cargo compartments under the commercial passenger airplanes (typically American, Delta or United) apart from the other luggage. These two special compartments are where they store bodies and empty caskets. This is how the casket is packaged. First there is a thin layer of Styrofoam, followed by a layer of bubble wrap. Over that are placed large blocks of hard Styrofoam which provide most of the support as well as 5″ thick Styrofoam caps over both ends. Over that is a double-walled cardboard box and then another double-walled box over that. You can literally beat the box with a baseball bat and not hurt the casket. There is roughly 3-5 inches between the outer box and the inner casket so if the box is ruffled on the outside, the casket will not be scratched or dented 3-5 inches below the box surface. After it gets to the airport the hot-shot courier typically picks up your casket and delivers it directly to the funeral home in his van. We will email you to notify you that the casket has been delivered.
9) How long can the body be kept at the funeral home?
Sometimes the funeral home has refrigeration to help preserve the body past 30 days if necessary. Most people have visitation 3 to 10 days after the actual death.
10) Do you sell to the funeral homes?
We sell directly to over 500 funeral homes now. They all want to save money also. We charge the funeral homes the same price that we charge you.
11) Do we have a selection of interchangeable head panels?
Yes we do. We have 200 models shown on the head panel tab. You can get to those by going to the top of the website, look to the left side and go down 1 foot. The second category down is “Head Panels”. The separate head panels simply fit into the top of the left side lid. What is the cost? They are $99.95 extra. Funeral homes charge $400 to $500 extra or possibly cannot get them. We can also get you custom embroidered panels with names or anything else you want on it.
14) Do we charge Sales Tax?
We have to charge sales tax if you are in Wyoming. Your local funeral home in your state will charge you the normal local sales tax if you buy the casket from them. For example, if their casket price is $4500, you will also have to pay an extra $315 to $360 extra just in sales tax to the funeral home. If you do not live in Texas, you will never have to pay sales tax on our caskets.
15) How does the lock work?
The caskets come with a 5-inch Allen wrench with a handle on it. You must unscrew a bolt that is in the right end of the casket, insert the Allen wrench in the hole and turn it counter-clockwise 15 turns to open. All funeral homes will have these Allen wrenches on and it fits everyone’s caskets.
16) What is the difference between a half couch and full couch casket?
We sell 93% half couch caskets and 7% full couch caskets. With half couch caskets, both halves independently open up but during viewing or visitation, only the left half is opened up to display the upper part of the body. With full couch caskets, the top is just one piece and the full length of the body is viewed during visitation. With the full couch casket, often they come with a foot panel that is removable and covers the lower body. Sometimes a blanket is used to cover part of the body. The funeral homes usually do not have any and often have to buy from us.
17) Will you ship to Alaska or Hawaii?
We do ship to Hawaii and Alaska but of course the shipping will cost more but the procedure is the same. Atlanta, being one of the biggest airports in the USA, has direct flights to both Alaska and Hawaii. Honolulu and Anchorage are next day points.
18) Will you ship the casket outside of the country?
We ship 20 to 30 caskets monthly to other countries. We simply fly it to a major airport in your country of choice. Most countries we fly to in 1 to 5 days. We will know after we call the airlines when it is supposed to arrive. You will have to go through Customs in your country and pay the import tax before receiving the casket.
19) When do I get Free Shipping?
We can ship the casket to you for free using a few different trucking companies. If you are preplanning, this ground shipping is ideal. The problem comes in when the person is in hospice and we ship the casket using a trucking company and you get the casket 12 to 18 days later and they pass away in 2 days. Actually, this trucking option rarely works when you need or may need the casket quickly. If the person is in hospice or has already passed, we recommend using the expedited 1 or 2 day shipping which costs more to get it to you quickly because we have to use commercial airplanes and hot-shot courier services to go directly to the funeral home.
20) Will the funeral home be upset if I do not buy their $4500 metal casket?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wanted to give consumers a choice on where to buy their casket realizing that the funeral homes add thousands to the prices. The Funeral Rule 1984 is a federal law that the funeral home is required to accept outside caskets and vaults and they have to give you an itemized list (General Price List) of all of their services over the phone or in person on printed pages. The funeral home prefers to offer Package pricing which includes their overpriced caskets. It is illegal for them to only offer package pricing or to not accept a casket from another supplier. Again, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission or tell all of the elders at the church. Often the funeral home illegally will require you to be present when it arrives. They do this to inconvenience the family and to build doubt that you need to be there to see it when it comes.
21) Are your caskets Sealers (have rubber gaskets) or do they have locks?
All of our 18ga metal caskets and half of our thinner metal 20ga are sealers and have locks. Often the funeral home will offer the ugliest 20ga casket that you have ever seen which is battleship gray or solid olive green, without a seal and lock. Their price will be around $2000 and you say “I wouldn’t bury my dog in that yet alone my mom. Below are some of the lines that you might hear from the funeral home:
- a) Wouldn’t you want your father to see your mom looking her best?
- b) Of course you would want a sealed casket wouldn’t you?
- e) Did the deceased have an insurance policy and for how much (before you get your pricing)
Call us to tell us other tricks that they tell you. Please remember to spread the word in your church or senior center as to all the tricks that your local funeral home pulled on you. It is unbelievable. The only chance you have against them is the fear that you will tell 50 other people not to have their loved one’s funeral there. If they fooled you or tried, tell everyone.
22) What is the memory tube?
The memory tube is a small plastic tube 1/2 inch in diameter and about 3 inches long that screws into the end of the casket. The funeral home puts the person’s identity on a piece of rolled of paper. The funeral home uses this to up-sell the customer. They say if there should be a flood and the casket gets washed up, we can identify the body without having to open the casket. Scary thought, so you pay the extra money. Most 18ga metals come with the memory tube.
23) Do you have wood caskets?
Yes, we have 160 models of solid wood and wood veneer caskets. Is solid wood better than the wood veneer? No, both do the same thing and we have not had any problems with either. No one can tell a wood veneer from a solid wood casket by looking at it. Usually the funeral home cannot even tell the difference. If we charge $1395 for a solid poplar casket, the funeral home is usually $5000 to $6000. On solid mahogany, we are $1995 and the funeral home is usually around $8000 to 12,000.
24) What comes with a casket?
Everything you see in the picture comes with the casket including the lining, pillow, throw (material laying on right half of the casket), and overlay (material hanging down in front), Allen wrench for unlocking it, lining, and memory tube. The Allen wrench used to unlock our caskets is the same allen wrench used to unlock all the funeral home caskets.
25) What is the difference between 18-gauge and 20-gauge caskets?
Actually 18 Gauge is about 30% thicker metal than the 20 gauge caskets. Obviously the thicker caskets cost more. Your car is around 18-gauge metal. 20-gauge is about the thickness of your license plate. Our 18-gauge caskets weigh 210 pounds and our 20-gauge caskets weigh 170 pounds. We sell mostly the thicker 18-gauge. We are about $995-$1095 on 18ga and the funeral home is $3000 to $6000. Same caskets except ours have the nicer velvet lining that theirs do not have. When you lift up the right hand side of a funeral home casket, often it will not even be lined but rather have bare cardboard. This is one way to tell if a funeral home is buying the cheapest quality of casket they can buy which is often the case. Check for the lining material on the 18gauge steel caskets and check to see if they are finished out on the foot end or do they have bare cardboard. If the funeral home is going to cut corners on things you can easily see, can you imagine the corners they cut on things you can’t see on the casket.
26) Do we sell vaults?
Yes we sell vaults. The price on vaults varies widely from one city to another. The most common concrete box=grave liner can be $695 to $995. The next most popular one called the Monticello Vault which has the plastic liner and sealed top is designed to help keep the water out. They are $1195 to $1395. Variables are what city, what cemetery and what day of the week the burial is taking place. The vault company will typically charge an extra $200 to deliver a sealed vault for Saturay burials.
27) Will the funeral home store the casket for us?
The law says they have to accept the casket if they have the body. It is rare that they will store the casket, before they have the body because they don’t want to help you in buying a casket elsewhere.
28) What are your hours?
We will be happy to take your phone calls from 7am-midnight 365 days/year Central time. That is 8am-one hour past midnight Eastern time and 5am-10pm Pacific time.
29) How much extra is the expedited shipping if I need it?
If you live 50 miles within a major metropolitan area’s airport, then we usually can ship it to you expedited for an extra $190 for the flight and $60 for the courier for a $250 total. If you live outside that 50-mile radius of the airport, our extra shipping fee is usually $190 plus $1.30/mile (your distance from the airport). So in the case of an 18ga casket, our price of $1095 + $250 = $1345 is still much less than the price of $3000 to $6000 at the funeral home?
30) Do we accept insurance policies?
31) Why is the funeral home charging so much for the services? – The average rural funeral home out away from the big cites is charging around $4500 to $5,00 for the funeral without the casket. City and suburban funeral homes are charging $6000 to $10,000 just for the funeral service. That price pickup of the body, embalming, makeup, viewing in their chapel or your church and drop-off at the cemetery. This price does not include the casket which as I said is usually $2000 on their cheapest caskets and $4000 to $7000 on a typical 18ga steel casket or entry level wood. Obviously prices vary from one funeral home to another. The funeral director is paid a commission on the profit on the casket and the profit on the funeral service. It is his job to get all the insurance money, your family’s money and not leave any money on the table. Your professionally dressed funeral director with the charismatic smile will often ask you “how much is your funeral policy worth”, will you four children all be pitching in if it goes over”, “what neighborhood do you live in” which are all loaded questions to try and determine what is the most you can pay.
32) Can I pick up the casket from the airport myself to save money?
Yes, you can pick up the casket with a suburban, cargo van or pickup truck (if using a pickup truck, make sure you have a way of strapping the box in. It is 7’2″ long and 30″ wide and 25″ tall. If you pick it up from the airport, then you only have to pay the $190 flight cost. The funeral home could easily pick it up, but they won’t because they are not making any money on the casket and they do not want to make it too easy for you.
33) How does the funeral home arrive at a price to charge me?
Some funeral homes have multiple price sheets. As you come in they are checking you out. How nice of a car did you drive in with? How nice is the jewelry that you are wearing? Who will be paying? How will you be paying? Where do you live (do not tell them nearby, you live 15 miles away but are shopping for the best deal)? Do they already have the body (not good)? Are the tears still flowing down your cheeks? How much checking around have you done before coming in there? What did your husband do for a living? Have we done other family members for you in the past (if so, you will undoubtedly use them again)? They are trying to figure out, how much can they charge you and have you still be happy? They might detain you for a long time to tire you out much like a new car salesman does. The last thing they want you to do is to shop around for a better price. How do you combat this? Just start to leave and tell them that you are going to go get prices at another funeral home if they are too busy now and you will see how fast they can put some prices together for you. How much extra does it cost the funeral home to do your funeral in addition to the other two that they have that week? About $8 for the embalming fluid, because all other costs don’t change like mortgage and employee cost.
34) Are our caskets guaranteed to not leak?
No one’s caskets can be guaranteed to not leak for eternity. The rubber gasket that we have on every metal casket breaks down with the years and it is the same one used on the funeral home’s caskets. When caskets are placed in a mausoleum the first thing that they do is to cut the rubber seal so that the body can dry out naturally and the casket does not explode.
35) The funeral home already has the body and they are charging me like they are the only funeral home around. What can I do?
The statistics say that the average funeral home in the USA does 50-100 funerals per year or approximately 1-2 per week. That one sale per week has to pay all the overhead and bills plus make a profit, so yes they are outrageous. Rural ones are $4500-$5000 and city or suburban ones are typically $6000 to $9,000 just for the funeral services plus the casket. The nicer funeral homes and especially the ones with attached cemeteries are usually $2000 to $3000 more than the small independent funeral homes. You can transfer from one funeral home to another and only pay a $495 transfer fee. If the competing funeral home shows no interest in picking up the body from the first funeral home, then possibly he is friends with them or have the same parent company. Go find another funeral home to transfer to. Often we can suggest a funeral home in your area.
36) Do we give credit?
No. We tried giving credit and we did not get paid.
37) What about the Funeral Home’s discount package?
The funeral home will charge you $6,000 to $15,000 for a typical funeral package. This includes a casket and funeral services. Usually their casket prices are 4x what ours are so it is always cheaper to buy the casket from us because we are a distributor and we sell to the funeral homes. Buy the funeral services from them. They are required to accept outside caskets and not charge anything to receive them. They are also required to give you a General Price List which is an individualized price sheet of all the funeral home caskets. If they do not give you an itemized list, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357. See their web site for more details on the Funeral Rule at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/funeral.shtm
38) Can you give me tips on how to save money on the burial?
Same process as shopping for the best funeral home. Visit cemeteries that are further away and explain that you are shopping for the best price. They are way “out of the way” but you would bury there if the price is right. Often cemeteries make you buy a vault or grave liner which is the box which goes into the ground first and the casket goes inside of that. You will also have to pay open and closing fees (dig a hole for the casket).
39) Remember, everything listed above we have learned by talking to funeral homes and customers like you. If you have other things to add, call us and we will add them to our list.