Funeral Directors and Pricing. It has been long coming. And it arrives on the 21st September 2021. In the UK there are over 307,000 retail outlets from clothing stores, beauticians, take-aways and of course supermarkets.
Imagine walking into a Supermarket to buy your weekly shop and each product or produce you saw did not have a price sticker or label indicating the price? Would you ask someone the price of apples or bananas (or any products) or simply put them in your basket and pay at the till – without question?
Walking into a restaurant or fast-food take-away shop. Most of us decide what we would like to order mentally by the description then look at the right-hand side of the Menu. Is the item or dish you would like value for money, is it overpriced or even under-priced?
Funeral Directors and Pricing - Our Embarrassment
Most of us are on a budget. If the Starter or main course on the menu is over-priced or too expense, we mentally move on to another starter or mains that seems (from the description) to be more realistic and within our budget. We are sitting at a table; nobody can hear our thoughts. We are not pressurized into having a particular starter or main course. As a last resort, we can get up and walk out. It is not an emotional transaction.
Businesses are in business to make profit. Without profit they cannot exist. However, some businesses make more profit than others. This can be because of the volume of sales they do, their price competitiveness or even down to how ‘cheap’ they are compared to others for the same product or item.
Funeral Directors are businesses
There are just over 7,000 funeral companies in the UK compared to over 88,000 restaurants and takeaway shops.
21st September – D-Day
Up until now, Funeral Directors were not obliged to display any of their prices, Terms of Business, or services. Good ones did. Not all Funeral Directors are unscrupulous – just a few. However, it is those few, the bad apples in the barrel that have given the Funeral Industry bad name. How many times have you heard the phrase, ‘You’ve never seen a poor funeral director?’ It's all about Funeral Directors and Pricing and how they price things you need.
It is estimated 86 out of 100 people will walk in to the closest or nearest Funeral Directors when they are faced with a bereavement. Only 14% of people ‘shop-around’ to find a funeral director that will offer them what they want (or think what they want) and of course for a fair price.
The unscrupulous Funeral Directors have cashed-in on this. Hopefully those days will start to be behind us. Funeral Directors as of 21st September 2021 MUST prominently display their prices and their terms of business in their window, in their premises as well as on their website. It is about being fair and transparent Funeral Directors and Pricing.
Realistically, not everyone will suddenly ‘shop-around’; many people will still be walking in to their ‘local’ or closet Funeral Director’s shop at their time of need. Hopefully this ruling will start to get people to think or be more costs conscious about funerals.
A Funeral Director, Parlour or Home is a business. Many are good and ethical businesses. With the new CMA (Competition Markets Authory) ruling the funeral industry is slowly becoming more transparent and above-board especially about Funeral Directors and Pricing.
The role of the Funeral Director
The job or function of a Funeral Director does not change from one funeral Director to another. They all have the same goal – to serve you, give respect to the person passed-away and give a professional service. Some offer more services than others. This however may not be apparent on their price list.
Only by talking with a Funeral Director (or Arranger) will you know what they offer and what they charge for their services. After this first conversation, talk to another and perhaps a third Funeral Director/Arranger – just to compare and contrast. At that point you will know:
• What each offer.
• What additional services they each can provide.
• How much it is all going to cost.
• Does the right-hand column add up to be ‘value’.
We are living in a consumer-centric era. We shop-around to find bargains and savings - everywhere. Why does this not translate into Funerals? We as a national are generally embarrassed to ask questions about sensitive matters. We think we will be labelled as a cheap skate if we say ‘no’ to something. The look of the salesperson can make us feel small, cheap, and not worthy of their product. We are and have been in effect bludgeoned into purchasing something we do not want or worse, cannot afford. Funeral Directors and Pricing is essential.
The CMA (Competition Markets Authority) have a number of reforms along the way. They have made a start with Funeral Directors and Pricing. The moral is, we have now got to start to think differently when it comes to the cost of a funeral versus the service we expect to receive. Even with prices displayed, there will still be a wide variance between one Funeral Director and another.
As prices become more transparent, salespeople and salesmanship will become more prevalent in the Funeral Director’s shop.
Further research resources: