What you don’t know about Funerals can cost you Thousands of $$$$

Most people don’t know much about the funeral business. Just knowing a few basic facts can save you several thousand dollars when death occurs.

1. Funeral prices in this country are about two to three times a level necessary to return a reasonable profit to funeral home owners.

2. The average out-of-pocket cost for a funeral home to perform a basic funeral is about $1000. The reason funerals are so expensive is that, until now, there has never been any price competition in the funeral industry, as there is for most of the things we buy. Without price competition, you have price abuse. The average funeral in this area is about $10,000, but I talk to folks on a regular basis who spent $15,000 or even $20,000.

3. Most funeral homes will accept a pre-arrangement contract written through another funeral home even though it pays less than their usual charge for the same funeral. Since their out-of-pocket cost is about $1000, turning down one of our contracts would lose them a $2995 profit. In my 15 years’ experience, I have never known of a funeral home turning down any funeral contract.  

4. A funeral home is obligated to furnish the goods and services called for in the pre-arrangement contract, but the purchaser has no obligation to use the funeral home through which the contract was written. The money for pre-arrangements must be held by an insurance company or placed in an independent trust. (We use Security National Life Insurance Co.) This money cannot be touched by anyone until after the insured’s death. It will then be paid to any funeral home that proves they have provided the goods and services covered by the contract. Any funeral home who provides the funeral must not charge any more than is called for in the contract for the same service and merchandise.

5. When a funeral home picks up a body, you have no obligation to use that funeral home. You are free to choose any funeral home you wish. The one of your choice will pick up the remains from the first funeral home and perform the funeral service. The funeral homes I represent have picked up a number of remains from local funeral homes.  
No one should feel they have to use a certain funeral home just because that is the one who picked up the body.

6. There is no law requiring a body to be embalmed. Most funeral homes require embalming if there is to be viewing of the deceased.


While working eleven years for a major funeral home, I was shocked by the prices, now averaging $10,000. I decided to do something about this. In 2005, I became an Independent Funeral Consultant. We now negotiate rates with funeral homes, much like Blue Cross does with doctors and hospitals. We deal with several funeral homes in Texas that will do a nice, complete funeral, including an attractive casket and a concrete grave box for $3995 and cremations for $1295. These services can be pre-arranged for $33.29 or $10.79 per month per person. (These prices are special and are not available elsewhere).  

When death has occurred or is near call us.

One of the most loving things you can do for your family is to pre-arrange your funeral. It is really irresponsible to neglect or postpone taking care of this matter, thereby putting this burden on your family.

No one should ever have to deal with this at the time of death when they are upset and not thinking very clearly. Many feel that money in the bank or life insurance will take care of this. It’s not about the money. The two main reasons folks pre-arrange is to take this burden off the family and to lock in the price. Cash or insurance does neither of these.

Doyle Owens
Owens & Associates Independent Funeral Consultants – Bridge City, TX (409) 735-6121 Cell: (409) 313-2667 Accredited by the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Texas.

Revised January 20, 2010