Choosing a funeral director is not just about cost, although that is clearly an important consideration.
Choosing a funeral director must firstly be about making sure you’re being properly and professionally supported at one of the most distressing times in your life. With a lot of legal requirements to meet and forms to fill in, it is a difficult process to navigate, especially when you are grieving. An important consideration is making sure you choose a funeral firm that is willing to be inspected and abide by a strict Code of Practice and which participates in an independent redress scheme such as the Funeral Arbitration Service.
Anyone organising a funeral has a right to expect high standards and make informed choices. Different funeral directors will offer similar services at different prices in their local area, just like any other consumer service. Funeral firms compete with local rivals – if they set their prices too high they will go out of business. All NAFD member funeral homes are required to produce a printed price list to take away and many publish these online so take your time in making decisions.
There is no such thing as the average funeral. Funerals are becoming more and more complex as families request a more personalised farewell with a wide range of coffins, orders of service, flowers, transport and memorials regularly requested. These take additional time to arrange and they cost more.
On average in the UK you will pay £1,800 in fees to your chosen funeral firm. This may include the following, whether under their professional fees or as a separate itemised amount:
- Collecting the body after a death – no matter what time of the day or night that occurs
- Preparing the body for viewing in a chapel of rest and then for the funeral itself
- Meeting with the family as often as is needed – often in the evenings/at home
- A coffin and hearse to transport the deceased to the funeral
- Liaising with the hospital, coroner, local authority, church, crematorium, GPs, florists, order of service printers, minister or celebrant, charity for any donations planned and many others – often paying, up front, the various statutory fees on behalf of the family
- Conducting the funeral on the day
Fees vary so please ask your chosen funeral director for full details of their particular services and charges.
It is possible to reduce this amount, for example by choosing a more inexpensive coffin or meeting the funeral director at the crematorium or church rather than having a hearse or limousine etc.
There are also third party costs you will need to pay such as the cost of a cremation or burial plot, doctor’s fees and the cost of a minister if you want a religious service etc. These amount to more than £1,000, on average but sometimes much, much more and the funeral director will pay them on your behalf directly to the relevant organisation.
Our advice to bereaved families is to sit down with a funeral director and talk to them about what you want and what you can afford. It is not in their interests to encourage you to choose options you cannot afford and they will work with you to create a funeral that is a fitting farewell, at a price you are comfortable with.