Saturday, December 25, 2010


I know I have been away a bit longer than usual. I apologize.

Now, what is this "Basic service of the Funeral Director and Staff"?

On every funeral contract and for every service, one of the first charges you will see is the "Basic Service of the Funeral Director and Staff".

This is easy to understand but one of the least explained by the staff. For every service provided, you have to take into consideration that there are items and services outside of those itemized on the price list.

As any business, services provided are time consuming and are broken down to how and why they are a necessity in the "Basic Service" charge.

The Arrangement Meeting - this takes about one to two hours. This is when the family comes in and sits with the counselor to make selections, provide information and decides on dates. If a family is unaware as to what they may wish to do for services, this could take even longer or even require a return appointment to finalize the services.

Administrative duties - NOT VERY COMPLICATED! Don’t be mislead.

1.    Arrangement meeting with the funeral director OR staff – 2 hours. (You may not always meet with the funeral director)
2.    Processing information for the death certificate - MAXIMUM, 1/2 hour (Computer input, FAX, some phone)
3.    Order death certificates – 2 minutes, family has the option if they want, its not hard
4.    Processing the permit for cremation or burial – 0 minutes, the county does that
5.    Preparing the register book if personalized – 1 hour
6.    Preparing the memory folders or prayer cards - about an hour.
7.    Coordination with the cemetery - 5 minute, if the family didn’t beat you to it
8.    Contacting Social Security - 1 minute (FAX)
9.    Contacting the Veterans Administration (if eligible) - 3 minutes (FAX, phone)
10.  Ordering the casket - 45 seconds? maybe...
11.  Ordering the flowers - 1.5 Minutes
12.  Ordering the funeral escorts – 30 seconds (FAX)
13.  Ordering the limousine (family car) – 1 minute
14.  Obituary - 5 minutes
15.  Clergy Record – 10 minutes
16.  Music selection and arrangement – 5 to 10 minutes, depending on what the family wants
17.  Arrangement of Paul Bearers – 1 minute (Family provides)
18.  Arrangement and contacting clergy – 2 minutes
19.  Arrangement and contact with church – 5 minutes if required, also can pass info to the clergy

OK Now comes the interesting part, let’s just say your administrator is a few cans short of a six pack or not the fastest car on the race track, we will round everything up to get a final total of time.

Total time spent on all to include?  4 hours and 30 minutes give or take an hour.

So lets just say your Basic service charge is $950 as per your general price list.

Lets figure this out!

$950 ÷ 4.5 hours = $211an hour

Are any of these administrative duties worth $211.00 an hour? My 12 years of experiance in the funeral industry tells me NO!.

An administrator making $211 an hour would make $8,440 a week, $438,880 a year OR $4,388,800 over 10 years.
This is stupid, greedy and ridiculaous!

REMEMBER! This is PER CASE, Not per week, or per month.

Oh, one more thing included in this charge, there is this thing called;

 “Proportional share of the overhead cost”

I know, I know, ???

This is to include, but is not limited to;

·         Electricity
·         Water
·         Staff Salary
·         Supplies
·         Insurance
·         Auto payments
·         Mortgage payment
·         Toilet paper
·         Soap
·         Cleaning lady
·         Gardner for memory rock garden (if you have one)

If you can think up a reason to put it in there, an excuse will be made to put it in there.

Ok, so there you have it. But ask yourself, this is only the 1st charge of services, what about the rest of the charges we have to pay? What do they go to? Well profit, that’s ok isn’t it?

But how much is too much profit at the expense of my misery. Only you can ask and answer that. How much do you think you should have to pay? Nothing at any funeral home is etched in stone; if a funeral home does not choose to work with you, by all means, go down the road.

I don’t have any problems with a funeral home charging anything they want for services. What I DO have a problem with is any funeral home condemning and trying to chastise another location for trying to provide a more affordable economical solution to the overblown outrageous charges that have exploded out of this market.

If you feel comfortable going to a more pricy location, then please, feel free. But at the same time lets not think less of those that try to use a little better sense on their behalf by trying to stick with services that are within their budget and are presentable and acceptable for not only the family, but also the community that chooses to use those facilities. There comes a point when those condemning start to walk a fine line between the “haves” and the “have not’s”, placing themselves on their self-identified more affluent and upper crust of the pie…

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