Saturday, February 19, 2011


Recently I was having a conversation with a minister from a local church here in Cashion. The topic came up of other funeral service providers and the chaplain asked; I had a service here at my church from another funeral home, I knew the representative that showed up and we started to talk about prices, I asked him about casket prices and he would not share them with me. Why not?"

Well, that pretty much speaks for itself. But I will tell you why if your not aware. Most if not just about all funeral homes charge allot for their caskets, more than they are worth. But then again, after working with numerous distributors, Most casket companies charge a great deal for a casket that they claim is "Made in the USA" when in fact it is only assembled in the USA. Remember that.

Shop around and casket prices are not etched in stone. If they don’t want to share the price on the phone or they may tell you "our caskets start at around $400. For what type of casket? A very simple cloth covered flat top. At Avenidas our cloth covered flat top start at $245. our metal 20 gauge caskets (Alex) starts at $625 at Avenidas. Anywhere else? Around $995. You decide.

Caskets are a vast majority of the funeral homes income, I know, I know, you will hear it all from the funeral home, “We have bills to pay” or “I have a family to feed” or “I have to pay the mortgage on this nice facility for YOU” (lets turn the tables here, now it’s your fault the price is so high, you wanted their nice facility, OR DO YOU?) Same song, look at the cars in the parking lot, you’ll see where its going. (I drive a truck)

I met with a family this past week that was a little concerned that their budget would not allow them the opportunity to have a visitation prior to sending the deceased home. They discussed prices and asked me "What are our options" I asked them "How big is your living room? They did not understand so I just shared with them. "Why not do a traditional velorio at your house"? "We can do that? How much will you charge for that?" I charge nothing because your house is yours, not mine. A simple transport and pick up fee of $100. Again, Families are not aware that this is an option. It is! I may lose the charges of a chapel visitation, but I gain the trust of a wonderful family that is just trying to do as much as they can inside of a budget. That is not asking so much. They are very pleased with their choices and I am happy to assist and present to them their options that they once again, knew nothing about.

This business that I choose to be in is not about the charges of every box of tissue that is used in the funeral home for a service. There was a time when you paid for the casket and everything else came with it. Those days are gone. Due to a good intention by the Federal Trade Commission many Funeral Homes have taken advantage of a "Good Intention" and twisted it in their favor to fleece a family of their hard earned savings.

Look, at Avenidas our services are very affordable.

Our Facility is VERY comfortable, clean, presentable and dignified.

Our Staff is extremely approachable, professional and kind. No attitude, no holier than thou.

And our Merchandise is quality and VERY, VERY affordable.

So there you have it. We work with you taking into consideration your budget, YOUR BUDGET! Not our wish list as to how much we hope you will spend.

I had a family come in with an insurance policy that they wanted to use to pay for the services. They asked if they could use it, I said yes. We sat and made all the arrangements and after it was all said and I told them that they would be getting a substantial amount back from the insurance company. Seeing how the economy had hit them exceptionally hard, they could not believe this. They said, "We thought we had to use it all on the funeral" (maybe at another funeral home, not with us) I told them "no, this is your policy that you can use as much or as little as you wish" They could not believe this and were so happy that they had a little bit of money to help them thru these economically difficult times.

I get many families in that think the same thing or have been lead to believe that they have no choice but to use the whole policy. Funeral home love insurance policies. They just let the family assume that the whole policy is to be gobbled up and say nothing; they just rack up the charges until the policy is exhausted. The poor family does not know any better and the funeral home walks away very happy.

Even Pre-arranged policies, if you wrote a large pre-arranged policy at another funeral home for says $6,000, here at Avenidas it can be used and the amount returned to the family is the difference between the amount of the policy and the amount of the service. Well, our most expensive package is around $4,500 so the amount returned to the family is $1,500. Is it worth it? Only you can answer that. At the time of death I'm pretty sure a little extra fund comes in handy to a family.

So there you have it today, a little bit of this and a little bit of that............

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