Saturday, September 22, 2012



A typical cremation chamber
The cost of cremation can be much, Much, MUCH! less than a traditional burial. Two of the main reasons for the reduction in cost are a fancy casket is not required no services nor is a burial plot necessary. The cost of cremation can vary widely depending on the services that are selected. A general guideline for "DIRECT" cremation costs is from around $500 to $3,200. You can, of course, get fancy and run the price up. Direct Cremation should reflect on a funeral homes "General Price List". The price can be advertised lower, but it can not be advertised higher, it also must be itemized.

Direct Cremation should Include all of the following, If it does not, beware of hidden charges;

  1. A proportional share of the overhead cost
  2. Removal of the deceased from place of death
  3. Transport to the funeral home
  4. Refrigeration for a specified amount of days
  5. Arrangement conference
  6. Filing of the death certificate
  7. A Cremation Container (cardboard Box ONLY, that's all you will need, nothing more)
  8. Transport to the crematory
  9. The cremation process
  10. A simple container for the cremains (NEVER accept a cardboard box, this is a ploy to make you feel guilty and purchase an urn) 
* REMEMBER!, most facilities charge up to a specific weight, ensure you tell the facility if the deceased is a small, medium or large individual. This will alleviate any discomforting situations after you have made arrangements. A good funeral counselor will ask you this during the conference. If the deceased is over perhaps 250 pounds, expect more charges.


The first step in determining the cost of cremation in your area is to make some decisions in advance. If you know what services you want you can be sure that you are talking about the same thing with each provided that you contact regarding cremation costs. Make a written list of all the things you want to know and ask every one of those questions, there is nothing more interesting than watching a counselor squirm when you pull out, "The List". You will be surprised how much the answers will vary from person to person. Some things to consider are in the following steps.

Cremation Container

This is the container the deceased goes into for cremation. Cremations can be done in simple wooden boxes, cardboard boxes or sometimes in nothing at all (not in Arizona). This depends on what is allowed by the laws in your area. You may have to pay for the wood or cardboard box. Ask if it is included in the cremation costs. You do not need anything more than a simple box, that is all, do not be talked up to purchasing a casket as something more fitting to the deceased memory (as described by you up selling counselor).The price of the cremation container Cardboard Box) should appear on your General Price List and also on your contract that you sign under "Merchandise". Some facilities charge well over $200 for a box.

Final Disposition of Cremains

A favorite place, a favorite time...
A decision has to be made as to whether the ashes will be put into a mausoleum, kept in an Urn, or spread (Scattered). These choices all impact the cremation costs. A spot in the Cremation Urn" section of a mausoleum can cost several thousand dollars while scattering the ashes can be free. Urns a fairly inexpensive objects, you can bring your own and if a facility charges you to transfer the cremains, move on. Most funeral homes have something affordable, our urns start at $65. We have a cremation package for $599, urn included. Consider also ROSS, COLES, BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY or a hobby store to find something simple to your liking.

When you are discussing the services provided be sure to find out if pick up and transportation of the body are included in the cost of cremation or if you will be charged separately for it. I have always found it hard to understand the $95 after hour removal fee for two men. It is not uncommon for a family member to assist in placing the deceased on the removal cot.

Death Certificates

First off, please be patient. Inquire whether they will be providing you with a certified copy of the death certificate and cremation permit as part of the cremation costs. This should be included, one for social security and one for the Veterans Administration. A funeral home should be willing to assist you in obtaining more for up to 6 months after death. If they don't, they have poor customer service. Death certificates can take 2 weeks to a month for delivery, it is difficult not to get excited when they don't get to you quickly, again, please be patient, they will come. The Funeral Home should be charging you the same price that the county charges you for these. If they are marking them up, they should tell you. Death Certificates should be under the section of "Cash Advances" on a contract.

Delivery and Transport of Cremains

Ask if delivery of the ashes to the family, cemetery or third party location is included in the cost of cremation. Ask if the funeral home will hold the cremains for a specific amount of days. FEDEX and UPS will not deliver Cremains, The United States Post Office is the only transport that will via registered certified mail that can be tracked. Expect to pay $50 on up. For transport out of country, follow the guidelines from the Embassy of the country you are taking them into. Yes there will be a charge for doing the paperwork, and there usually is ALLOT of paperwork that could take up to 30 days. Our Veterans Cremation Package with inurnment includes transport to the National cemetery in Phoenix, Arizona, 25 Veterans Memory Folders, 4 memorial bookmarks, Military Honors, a flag and taps. All for $585.00


Well, many funeral homes try to promote that they own their own crematory, Less than 3% (three) of funeral home have their own crematory. Corporate funeral homes such as the Dignity guys and Advantage Cremation and Burial all use the same facility. They are all owned by the same crematory. Most crematories are very much above par, some are not, just like funeral homes. It has always been and will always be a tradition for a funeral home to contract with a crematory, unless a funeral home does a HUGE volume of cremation, it is not a good investment for them to open an on site crematory. This has always been the way it is. Be cautious of funeral homes that own their own crematory that charge a "Transport to the crematory" charge.... Huh? Right around the side of the building? What happened to the on site crematory?

 Once you have your thoughts together contact providers in your area for prices. Look on google, call and ask questions. Prices can vary greatly. Be very cautious of funeral homes that will offer you a cut rate bargain out the door that undermines their advertised price, WHY? Why would they do this?

Service Industry

Be aware that a funeral home is in the business to sell services so they will probably try to sell you more services. The funeral home is a SERVICE INDUSTRY! Some in the industry just feel that cremation is not the service they prefer to sell. Don't let the emotions of the time run away with your budget, Budget, BUDGET! I can not stress that enough. If you do not want to purchase a $500 urn, then don't. Stick to what you want to do. Find a location that is within your budget, not one that is convenient because you don't want to do this, you will thank yourself later for saving up to $1,800 for a direct cremation for traveling 10 miles out of your way.

Cremation Societies

A Cremation Society is very similar in function to a funeral home, but with substantially lower overhead costs (REALLY?). They are required to be operated by Arizona licensed funeral directors. They maintain rigorous standards and security systems and are regulated by the Arizona State Funeral Board. Cremation Societies have a smaller buildings designed for small gatherings, but seldom can accommodate viewings, or visitations, they mainly are just office spaces. This customized design does not mean that they provide lesser service and care to their clients and their family members but it is suppose to allows them to have competitive price points and be value driven. Unfortunately, this is the farthest from the truth. Most Cremation Societies are very pricey ($800 and up) and do not handle the disposition or "cremation" of the deceased at all. They contract out just like the funeral homes. Thus these cremation societies are nothing more than a fancy name for the same service, using the title "Society" to make the service appear as peer driven or of "People Just Like You and me"...

So, don't be fooled by these "Societies", though some have good intentions, many have fallen into that very deceitful and corrupt practices that many funeral homes have. They are nothing more than corporate additions to the funeral coffers. Cremation societies, while trying to promote affordability are no more than the corporate, high end funeral home in cost. You are probably much better off seeking out a small independent to save money.
  • National Cremation Society is owned by SCI, the Dignity Memorial Providers
  • Neptune Society is also owned by them, at least 75%, only because the Federal Trade Commission refused to allow them to purchase it all so they could not corner the market.
  • Cremation Society of Arizona is owned By Heritage, a large funeral establishment in Arizona.

Cremation societies tend to get sold off to the next highest bidder and many horror stories have been shared of ones family member disappearing after being picked up. Not all of them, but some. "GOOGLE" cremation society scandals, you will see. Also, If you try to get a refund from these "Societies", most of the time all you will get is maybe a third of what you paid for with a letter telling you to read the fine print on the contract.
Cremation Pre-Payment Insurance

With a Independent funeral home? Wow, consider it. It is such an affordable low cost service, do it and get it out of the way. Get the paperwork done and spend time with the family, it will be a weight  lifted of of your shoulders. A good funeral home will send a pre-need counselor to your home to write the contract for services. 1/2 hour of your time, that's all it takes.
Imminent death - You know, it is is difficult to consider but if your loved one is close to death, visit the facility of choice, do all the paper work and be done with it. NO FUNERAL HOME CAN TAKE PAYMENT UNTIL THE TIME OF DEATH! Its the law, its unethical and the funeral home is in a position to deny that you ever paid them anything. This is a common practice by those that sidestep this law. When your loved one passes, all you have to do is make payment and call the funeral home.
So there you have it, Things to consider about cremation. Remember, once again, if a funeral home gives you the impression that they are doing you a favor, then move on. That's just not good business. If it just doesn't "FEEL RIGHT" find another, or if you are being mislead in every direction except the one you want to go in, get out of there....

The Conversation

I have an employee that worked for another independently owned funeral home the next town over, the topic of cremation price came up between himself and the owner as to why that facility charged so much for such a simple service, (they were charging 4 times as much as my facility at the time) The owners response was "Why work so hard for such a little amount of money when you can charge 4 times as much doing nothing at all and getting them to believe it's worth it?" That my friends, is the corporate attitude that is trying to keep the death care industry out of reach for most of you. In fact, those individuals just don't want to work hard for very lavish lifestyles providing mediocre, uncompassionate poor service all the time trying to get you to believe that this is what the services actually are worth, they are not. I do not now, nor will I ever put a price on compassion, death is hard, not only for the dying, but those they leave behind.

13 Years
Funeral homes, most anyway, in my 13 years in the industry, don't really care for direct cremation, in the corporate world, there are no bonuses for it, there are no reward points and there is so little profit in the funeral service owners eyes that most can care less if you come or go. You will probably get this impression when you call around and find out how cold they are on the phone or how quick they want to get you off of that phone. Remember, you being there for a simple little direct cremation in the owners eyes doesn't even gain him enough to make..........
His corvette payment.....

I would like to believe that when someone passes away in my family that I will be paying for their cremation with dignity, not someones joyride or ego that I have to climb over to get into the funeral home...


  1. Thank you for giving such a nice information about cremation society.But Nowadays cremation cost
    is decreasing day by day,i found cremation cost is comparatively lower and cremation services are available in all the cities of US,and preplanning through online.

    1. You are very welcome Sylvia... Please visit my website for more information.

  2. This post gives the light in which we can observe the reality.This is very nice one and gives indepth information.Thanks for sharing this nice article. cremation-usa

  3. My Mom pre-arranged years ago with the Neptune Society in Illinois. She passed away unexpectedly while we were all visiting relatives in California. One phone call and Neptune handled everything, no extra charges. My family will never be able to thank them enough, they were very professional and caring at an extremely emotional time. If your wish is direct cremation, whether you travel,or not, but especially if you travel. I highly recommend Neptune Society. My wife and myself became members shortly after the loss of my mother.

  4. This post gives the light in which we can observe the reality.This is very nice one and gives indepth information.Thanks for sharing this nice article.cremation in athens ga

  5. Such justification for cremation cost gives clients peace of mind and right decision making. Thanks for giving these insights.

  6. Captain(skipper,

    Your welcome, being a man myself of 10 years Naval service I can apreciate your complement and ethical position to offer such dignified services to the community.

    Fair winds and following seas....

    Miguel Legaspi

  7. Cremation seems to be way more cost-effective than a traditional burial. This would be the case even more if you had to transport the body a long distance. My mother has a plot on her family property and she lives a few states away from it. It would be really expensive to transport her so far! Luckily she just wants her ashes buried, which will be way easier to manage when the time comes.
    Claudia Rosenburg |