9 More Funeral Director Secrets

Funeral directors from across the country share more money-saving secrets.

By Michelle Crouch

1. Sure, you can store ashes in an urn or scatter them somewhere special, but nowadays you can also have them crushed into a real diamond, integrated into an underwater coral reef, or blasted into space.

2. It’s usually less expensive if the body is not present for the funeral.

3. If the deceased’s favorite outfit is a size too small or a size too big, bring it to us anyway. Part of our job is making the clothes lie perfectly.

4. If I ask you for a photograph of the deceased to help me prepare the body, I don’t mean her honeymoon picture from decades ago.

5. That may be real gold in your loved one’s dental fillings or crowns, but don’t ask me to remove them for you.

6. You don’t need to spend money to have a meaningful service. Consider a potluck at the widow’s home or an informal ceremony at a favorite park, and ask survivors to tell stories or read poetry.

7. Never trust a funeral director who says, “This is the last thing you can do for your loved one.”

8. Always bring another person when you meet with me, ideally someone who’s not as emotionally attached to the deceased.

9. It might be wise to check out just who owns your local funeral home. Corporate chains have bought out hundreds of family-owned funeral homes in recent years, but they often keep the original name, appearance, and even some employees after a buyout. The one thing they usually do change? The prices.

See the full list: 13 Things the Funeral Director Won’t Tell You

Sources: Funeral directors in Illinois, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Washington; funerals.org; and Joshua Slocum, executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance and coauthor of Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death.

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  • Your Comments

    • Ptcworkman

      I use to work at a funeral home as a office manager, I have seen it all….most people don’t know is that on the price list there is package deals…ranging from low to high. the higher the package the funeral director sell’s you, the larger bonus he or she get’s and the funeral home if it is corp owned really tracks this on a weekly audit. If a funeral director does not meet goals, or a set package limit they can be fired. I have seen so many families taken advanaged of, one of the many reason I left the funeral business….stick with family owned funeral homes….avoid corp owned funeral homes, or know up front what you want and tell the funeral director fromt he get go, this is what I have to spend, and what can you do for me.

    • SweetyPi

      This is not a secret, I have known this for years as I have performed cosmetic services in funeral homes throughout my state.  I have no problem sharing information with people, however people are often coerced more by family members than a funeral establishment to spend more money.

    • bowne002

      If anyone has read “Final Rights” it’s pretty clear the authors, one of whom put this list together, have an agenda that ignores many current practices and cherry picks from a handful of worse case scenarios.  The tone is ignorantly aggressive and, lets face it, these folks are no Mitford. (Who, by the way, in the end had a huge and expensive memorial service.) It’s disappointing that funeral directors are still seen as creepy, greedy villains from some melodrama, wringing their hands and plotting ways to take advantage of the bereaved. It’s just not the case. There maybe a few bad apples but in general, most funeral directors consider their job a calling. The work they do is very dear to them and they are grateful for it.