Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I would like you, the consumer to know exactly what is involved in a “Basic FUNERAL and CREMATION service”.

Hard to have, isn't it?
These items taken from the GENERAL PRICE LIST of any funeral home to help you have a successful, affordable service within your budget. Please understand that a funeral homes GENERAL PRICE LIST has service & merchandise pricing on it  and is required by law to follow a specific format. This depending on what that specific funeral home charges and they are not required by law to follow any specific guidelines for charges, they can charge what they choose as long as those charges are consistent from one client to the next.

Review these Items I put together below to guide you in your selection process. REMEMBER! Many funeral homes will put these bare necessities on their website to lure you in thinking that is all you need to accomplish your service, then as you start inquiring and requesting those other things that you assumed came with the service the counselor starts to apply these things to the service contract until you come out with a charge that is almost twice the amount of the original advertised price. This is not illegal.

REMEMBER! Every funeral home is required by law to give you a copy of their general price list, its the law,  but! they are not required to give you a copy of their "true" package pricing if they provide package services at all (not all funeral homes do), this is a leverage tool that is used to force you to sit with them and discus arrangements, get comfortable and once they get you to do this, they interpret your actions as half the battle being won.

Take a look below as to what a “Basic” layout is for funeral and cremation services, as you can see, there is a great deal missing. Below are Avenidas Charges from our General Price List.
“Basic” Items that make up a Burial service
Basic service of the funeral director and staff  $795
Transfer of deceased to the funeral home         $250
Embalming of the deceased                                 $395
Dressing, Casketing and Cosmetics                    $160
Three Hour Daytime Visitation                           $295
Funeral Coach                                                         $300
Funeral Ceremony/Service                                  $295
Graveside Service                                                   $175
Disposition Permit                                                 $4       
Total                                                      $2,669

* The casket is not included due to the fact that you can purchase one with us starting at $310 up to about $5,000.
“Basic” Items that make up a Cremation service
Basic Service of the Funeral Director and staff    $795
Transfer of deceased to the funeral home             $250
Embalming of the deceased                                     $395
Dressing, Casketing and Cosmetics                        $160
Three Hour Daytime Visitation (chapel)               $295
Funeral Ceremony/Service                                       $295
Crematory Fee                                                             $155
Disposition Permit                                                     $4
County Cremation Fee                                               $15
Temporary Plastic Cremains Container                 Included Total                                                         $2,364

* Again, cremation casket not included, you may choose a rental casket at $575 or purchase a cremation casket for much more.

Now, Cremation traditionally costs less because there is less involved when handling cremation.  But many funeral homes are trying to change all this. The effort is to slowly increase the cost of cremation services over time so they are equivalent if not more than burial. There is a great deal of revenue (cash) saved by yourself should you choose a service that ends by cremation over a service that ends with burial. The BIGGEST savings of money comes from the thousands of dollars saved by you on the "no casket sale" by the funeral home AND the no purchase of cemetery property.

Cemetery property alone can save you thousands of dollars. Caskets being marked up as much as 7 to 10 times at some locations are a great deal of the funeral homes income. The loss of the casket sale can be very damaging for those funeral homes that put so much weight on the casket sale to compensate or handle their overinflated  overhead or debt ridden funeral home. This little secret can not be emphasized enough.

Remember, should you choose a service ending with a cremation, there is a great deal of money that will be saved by you, the consumer. In regards to services and pricing, cremation is by far the most affordable option available and if the location you are pricing is telling you the costs would be about equivalent, you should consider another location. The costs are not equivalent.

Things to consider beyond these basic charges for a service, not all are required, but most are requested by families. These items are:

1.     Casket (burial, required) Start at $390
2.     Rental Casket (cremation) and new insert (required) $575
3.     Urn (optional) start at $65
4.     Register Book (optional) $40
5.     Prayer Cards (optional) $45 per 100
6.     Thank You cards (optional) $10 a set
7.     Flowers (optional)Start at $200
8.     Casket Cross (optional) $25
9.     Motor Escorts (optional) $380
10.   Limousine (optional) $400
11.   Concrete grave box for burial $625
12.   Evening visitation charge $145 Extra
13.   Weekend charge, Saturday, $300. Sunday and Holidays, $450
14.   Church use service fees (If applicable)
15.   Clergy (if applicable) $150

Remember, most “Packages” do not contain any of these listed Items above. At Avenidas, our Funeral and Cremation Packages are very explanatory and thorough as to what is in them.

We do have a burial or cremation package that includes:

Basic Service of The funeral Director and staff
Solid Oak Rental casket for cremation with new insert or
20 gauge metal casket for burial ($850 value "click here")
Transfer of deceased to the funeral home
Embalming of the deceased
Dressing, Casketing and Cosmetics
Two Hour Daytime Visitation and or service (our chapel)
Funeral Coach (if needed)
Transportation to the cemetery or crematory
Cremation or Graveside Service
Plastic temporary container for cremains
Disposition Permits and or fees
50 prayer cards or memory folders

*Alteration are not allowed with the exception of merchandise upgrades (rare exceptions)
Your cost is - $2,195.00

(if packaged together off of the General Price List the total charges would be well over $3,200)

Thanks for reading, should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call and as always, my pricing and services can not be out done.

Semper Fi, Keep the faith.

Miguel Legaspi, Owner
Brandon Walls, Owner
Lorena Flores Wilson, Manager
Patricia Del Castillo, Conselor

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Because they can........

Feel Like You?
That's the truth, they can. A funeral home can charge you anything they want, anything, as long as it is on their price list, they can charge it. But they make up their price lists with no caps or limits on anything. The law does not require them to provide services or goods to you at a locked in amount or only so much over a specific amount. Allot of funeral homes present you the price list with some weird wording spinning the Federal Trade Commission and their price list together to give it some sort of legitimacy and getting you to think that the FTC has control over pricing so you think the price list is acceptable and approved by some sort of law.

I got news for you, the Federal Trade Commission is indifferent as to what the funeral home charges, they don't care. They just requier them to have a price list, the FTC does not care what is on it, or how much is charged.

So then, I ask again, Why do they charge so much?

Oh that's easy, because they can!

AND!            You will pay!

The funeral industry COUNTS and depends on the  five "YOU'S:
  1. you WON'T look into it
  2. you WILL trust them
  3. you DON'T know any better
  4. you WILL be weak 
  5. you DON'T care...
So again, Why do they charge so much?

Because.............. They............... Can!
Pricing on services are way overblown when presented to you because their is a hope by the funeral home that one of three things will happen, actually one of three things will happen:
  • You will not say anything because you don't want to appear cheap or be embarrassed for not being willing to "put out" for your loved one. (the funeral home will make MORE than expected because you did not challenge the overpriced charges) for the record, some funeral homes prey on this, to them, this is good business.

  • You will pay because you  are not aware that the pricing is negotiable and that the charges are overpriced. (once again, the funeral home makes MORE than expected because you did not challenge the overpriced charges)

  • You challenge the pricing so the funeral home gives you a little discount, well within the limits of  what they need to so they can still make a huge profit on you.(Yet again, the funeral home makes MORE than expected because you did not challenge the overpriced fees more than you could have and should have.)
Since I have opened my doors to serve the public, it is easy to see how a funeral home owner can get wrapped up in the price gouging of society. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour and a half to assist a family in the initial preparation and selection of services. After that the counselor gets a very LARGE payment of however much the service costs. This can be very intoxicating for a person that is not capable or not willing  of following ethical and moral guidelines. At the moment for some it seems like easy money. And it is for them. Two or three of these type of payments a week can be overwhelming for some funeral home owners, they think if they can get away with charging this much, they can charge just a little bit more and make more. At this point the business owner has either consciously or subconsciously started down the wrong path, and forgot all together why they chose to be in this industry.

They have forgot that the cash is not theirs, it belongs to the business, even if they own it.

There is very little administrative work. It is the same redundant processing of certificates and applying for permits, all this done through the streamlined services provided by government agencies for submitting and filing. The funeral home RARELY has to dispatch any staff for any document filing, to include Death Certificates and Burial Permits. If you are being charged for the use of a vehicle for the filing of permits and the submission of death certificates, you are being charged for nothing.

So as you can see, it is understandable as to why a funeral home may charge so much. It may not be ethical or moral, but they feel very compelled to do this out of a sense of "self deserving".

You two as a consumer are self deserving as well. Deserving of not being taken advantage of or being preyed upon by greed stricken business owners.

You have the power, the power to say no and the power to go elsewhere. Try going into a funeral home that charges over $5000 for a service and merchandise and tell them your walking. Watch everyone start spinning and doing the dance to do everything they can to get you to stay. They do this NOT because they are looking out for your best interests, only because they they are seeing on of those three great big checks slipping away that they think they deserve......

Oh, one more thing, there are some funeral home owners out there that are reading this post right now and feeling VERY uncomfortable, not because I am letting the cat out of the bag, but because they know it is all true and the guilt is starting to set in.

Got to make that Corvette payment, you know?

Semper Fi