Asking for a discount...

jim_1 (Zone 9A)

Most of us are aware that, when buying a car, the list rice is not a fixed thing. Going to a garage sale is similar, you can often make a 'deal' with the owner.

What about at a funeral home? We are at an age that pre-planning is an appropriate thing. We went to a local place and got their price list. Either packages or ala carte. So the list price for a 'package' is about $4,000. Is it appropriate to ask for a discount? Or, are those prices fixed and firm?

SaveComment34Like
Comments (34)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Rose Pekelnicky

I don't know, but my husband always said that it never hurts to ask.

3 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'm pretty sure that the way to lower the cost is to receive fewer services. Cut out the extra stuff.

Are you going to ask for a Senior Discount ? Hahaha.....

6 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Debby

I don't want a funeral. Cremate me and throw my ashes in the mountains. Cremation is cheap.

8 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ravencajun Zone 8b TX

It's getting more expensive now that so many people are choosing that route.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joyfulguy

Hi Jim,

Some years ago (when I was 71, actually), when the stockbroker was changing my registered retirement fund from the depository aspect (during which I'd paid no annual admin. fee) to the withdrawal-atory aspect, he proposed to charge an annual fee to maintain it, saying that it was a different ball game.

I checked with a couple of other such agencies, and found one that charged no fee, then returned to the original carrier, suggesting that I might like to move my account over to the other agency (not filling him in on the apparent-to-me information that being with that agency wasn't my preference) ... and it didn't take him long to figure that maybe his agency could find a way to follow a similar path. So I've been fee-less for quite a few years.

Ya don't ask - ya don't get.

And it's often helpful if one has some talking points to add to the discussion.

So I'd visit some other funeral homes in the area, to pick up information.

ole joyfuelled ... who likes additional fuelling along the lines of keeping his surplus money in his own jeans

(and who claims the he ain't dead, yet)

5 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

In our area there is a "no frills" funeral option. One funeral home in our area offers it aside from their standard offering. It is significantly less.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DawnInCal

If both you and your wife are planning to buy packages, you could ask for a multi-package discount. I think that would be a perfectly reasonable request.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joyfulguy

As long as the survivor plans to stay in the area ... but maybe they'll want to be together in the cemetery, anyway.

o j

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elmer J Fudd

I've experienced myself with the deaths of family members that these things can be much more expensive than expected. A discount, I would guess not. Or, maybe it is possible in areas where there's a lot of competition among mortuaries. Yes, there are some cemeteries that are so popular that people are dying to get in.

Does Costco have funeral referrals as with it does with car purchasing. Or AARP?

As with many other things in life, I'd think of it as a process for which you get some small number of competitive bids and then move forward with the one with the price and features you like best.

Never hurts to ask? I don't agree with that. There are situations when (perhaps unbeknownst to the asker) requesting a discount, or a request of another kind, may be so inappropriate or not traditional in the circumstances that the result is that doing so makes a bad impression on the other side.

As far as your money is concernd, remember that you can't take it with you.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

Yes, you can ask for a better price -- especially if you talk to other providers in the area and get several quotes, you can (and should) ask for a price match if you strongly prefer a certain provider. That option might even be offered on the funeral home's website (this is how I know!)

You can also buy your casket elsewhere; in my state any funeral home must, by law, allow you to do this. Believe it or not, Walmart sells them! There are also independent shops that sell them in various cities (we purchased from the Main Street Casket Store in Cincinnati -- they were wonderful to work with and the casket was beautiful).

As for reducing the cost of services, it is a balance between what you want to have them do for you (or your survivors) and what you are willing to do yourself or forego. Put the obituary notice in the paper? Do you want a guest book? Memorial cards, programs and trinkets? Obtain the death certificate? Getting rather gruesome here, but think about the charge for embalming. Just what is the point of that? It will slow decay, but not prevent it. Some religions don't accept it -- if a funeral home tries to tell you that you must embalm, they are not being truthful.

By the way, my father had written his own obituary at the time of his making such advance arrangements, In this way the family members and life events and accomplishments that were most important to him were noted. All we had to do was fill in the dates.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Mystical Manns

If you have military service, some funeral homes will allow a discount for that.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sushipup1

You only talked to one provider? Talk to more of them, let them know you are talking to others, and go back to the first and tell them that you are talking to others.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
phoggie

Rhizo, I laughed out loud about asking for a Senior Discount! Since I personally know our funeral director, when I go back to pick out my casket, I am going to ask him...he will get a laugh out of that also....who knows, maybe he will knock off a buck or two. :-)

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Olychick

I'm a member of a non-profit funeral co-op here in WA. I would guess there are similar organizations around the US.

You pay a small fee to join, then when you die, someone contacts the contracted funeral home for your area, which then picks up your body. you can pre-select services or leave it to your loved ones. The contracted funeral homes are prohibited from "up-selling" trying to make more $$ from your cremation or burial. There is a selection of caskets to choose from, or basic cremation services. It's all low pressure, very dignified and easy. And affordable.

My husband died at 47 in Oregon and I was able to join for him, posthumously, their local non-profit to handle his cremation (he had not yet joined the one in WA- or they probably would have had some kind of reciprocity).

Here is info on our service:

https://peoplesmemorial.org/

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kathsgrdn

I think I'm going to go ask about prepaid funeral services here when I'm on vacation next month. If something happens to me, I don't really want my kids to have to worry about that stuff. They both know I don't want to be buried, just cremate me and spread my ashes somewhere pretty. I'm also getting rid of stuff. I've stopped buying things that I don't need so there will be less for them to deal with.

I've never had to deal with family burials. My dad took care of my mom's before I even got home.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lovemrmewey

Also, Costco offers caskets at a great price. I have not used that service, but understand it is a great option.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Michael

I don't want to be in a casket taking up good earth that can be used for a housing development or a shopping center. :)

Nor do I wish to be a profit margin for a funeral director.

No pretentious show for us. Cremation it is.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jim_1 (Zone 9A)

More information. I am a US Navy veteran; and get free stuff that comes from that. Both the missus and I are going to be cremated and our urns will be placed in a niche at the nearest vet cemetery.

Florida law indicates that, although direct cremation has been requested, a 48-hour time lapse occur between death and the cremation. I don't know why that is, but it requires refrigeration at the funeral home. They also require a photo to compare to the body!! Doesn't matter that all kinds of papers come with the body, they require a photo! Here it is:


We can have a cardboard coffin that will burn easily, the counselor tried to convince us that we needed something more substantial (i.e. more solid and with a pillow!!).

They have a 'package' that includes all of the things that we prefer, I just want to know if there is some ability to negotiate the end price. I have no problem checking out some other facilities and their prices. I just want to have this done with. We have our Florida wills completed, healthcare power of attorney completed and other things that our attorney recommended. We have no family within a two-day drive, so the more 'stuff' we can have done, the better we will feel about it.



7 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sammy

^^ That is great.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Mystical Manns

Love that picture!

In the Kansas City area, there were cremation services that had deeply discounted rates for military, altho I didn't find out about them until after I needed them. They sent me a postcard AFTERWARDS, which is how I found out I paid too much, even with the military discount that the funeral home did have.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chisue

Please don't 'scatter' your remains. Our earth is polluted enough.

In some places, embalming is required by law, as are concrete vaults.

My DM willed her body to medical research. This requires a few legal formalities, including getting a swift pronouncement of death and pre-arranging transport of the body within a few hours after death. Survivors are offered the cremains; we didn't want them.

We had a memorial service for my DM a month after she died. We honored her where she continued to live, in our memories. Whether her corpse was present or not was immaterial.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Elmer J Fudd

Jim, you look hot in that sexy outfit! Oh wait, you're not the one on the right?

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

The only circumstances in which embalming is required, and only in some states, is if certain infectious diseases were present (other states prohibit embalming in the presence of the same diseases, go figure!), the body needs to be shipped, or the funeral is going to be delayed (only 6 states have this last requirement, with times varying from 24 to 72 hours)..

Of course if an open casket is desired then embalming would have to take place, or if refrigeration is not available.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
albert_135   39.17°N 119.76°W 4695ft.

A twist we have noted, not mentioned above I don't think, is donating the body.

We both have it written up to have our bodies donated to a med-school or forensic farm. Here is the glitch. So many have done this that there is a surplus.

  • ✔ ✔


Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jim_1 (Zone 9A)

The missus said that I cannot use that picture (it is 17 years old), she thinks they want something more current. Nuts, I avoid cameras as a subject.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dances_in_garden

Just a note, my FIL "preplanned" and "prepaid". Turns out it still cost us a LOT more. Everything he chose was no longer available so we had to pay the difference between that price and the equivalent that was available the year he passed. $4000.00 just to get it current. Of course, they talked MIL into adding a lot of things and upgrading many choices. His prepaid funeral cost more than $10,000 additional and that is no meal or church.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Anglophilia

I"m in favor of cremation - why on earth spend a small fortune preserving a poor old worn out body! "Dust thou art to dust returnist..." One of the best things about cremation is that portions of the ashes can be scattered or buried in multiple places. My late husband wanted his remains scattered where Edgartown Harbor meets Katama Bay (near his parent's house of 50 years, no longer in the family). I needed a grave and headstone to visit. So we did both and that met both our needs.

I was surprised to see so much opposition to scattering ashes, from an environmental point of view. Surely, there are far more animals that die in the wild and their bodies deteriorate over time and end up in the soil or water supplies. And what about back before embalming became available? Grandma was put in a pine box and both eventually biodegraded into the soil. I know in the UK, wicker caskets have become quite popular. The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire (Deborah Mitford) did this - she had seen it at a friend's funeral. Another friend told her it looked like she was being buried in a picnic hamper!

I can see that regulations must be in place for "popular" spots. A friend said his father wanted his ashes sprinkled over home plate Wrigley Field. The management said there would be a mountain of ashes there if such were allowed - it is not.

Over the years, we've had the bodies of various dogs and cats cremated and the ashes returned to us. After we moved her and lived here a few years, we started burying both their ashes and bodies in the back garden. The garden is now full in any appropriate place. So, we're back to keeping the ashes. I have instructed my children to mix those with mine and bury them with me when I die.

Many medical schools will not accept bodies anymore. If they do, they are typically kept for up to 2 years (at least at my local med school), then cremated and returned. A friend at my pulmonary rehab asked her family to do this and they did, but it has been hard for them. When they finally got her ashes back, there was a delay in getting the entire family together to bury them - not sure they have yet.

We humans sure do make a whole lot of trouble with the disposal of our remains...


Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
quasifish

Love the picture, Jim. You brought up in that post that there is a hold on a body for several days before cremation can occur, which requires storage at an extra cost. When my father passed last year, the requirement was that immediate family members had to be contacted to authorize the cremation. I did not know this and my family stinks at communication. For some unknown reason, the number that was given to the funeral home was one for an emergency phone I keep in my car. It was several extra days before I found the message, so dear old dad was stored for a couple of extra days at a cost. I guess the point there is having ducks in order...

As far as the original question, I think there are generally tactful ways to ask a question like that about discounts. It's a matter of thinking of a few casual openers before you get to the meeting (at least for me it is). You never know what the answer might be.

Off topic, but when DD went into orthodontia, I figured I'd offer to pay up front and see if they offered a discount. No way, no how were they interested in cash up front. That surprised me for some reason. You just never know.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium

Jim is the one with the beard, that is how you can tell.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
littlebug zone 5 Missouri

Gee, Jim, the Mrs. looks like she’s gonna outlive you by several years. :) :) :)

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Condo Home

You can absolutely ask for a discount! I was there when my mother had somone from the funeral home come over to help her pre-plan. At first, the funeral home woman feigned ignorance about lower rates, then she said she had to make a call.

My mother ended up getting a large discount. They called it a "Medicaid funeral" and tried to shame her out of it, but I insisted. It doesn't matter what they call it, you can still get everything that you want.

It is just like MSRP on a car. You can do much better if you let them know that you are shopping around and if you put a little effort into it.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joyfulguy

Those low-cast caskets ... and funerals, for that matter ...

... are to die for, right?

o j

P.S. More readily available if one is preplanning, quite likely.

And isn't the story about trying to shame the principal out of going for the "cheapie" funeral hardware, arrangements and all of the folderol ...

... quite typical of the average marketing/salesperson? Making use of whatever advantages, real or imagined, available?

Especially/usually somewhat more productive when the client/survivor is under major emotional stress.

(still) o j ... you expected me to be satisfied with just a couple of lines?

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jim_1 (Zone 9A)

Ed,

You can contribute any time at any length. Thanks for your wisdom.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Olychick

I posted above, but please look into NON-profit organizations in your state. It's unbelievably better. The People's Memorial Foundation I posted was formed in 1939 in Seattle, but there are similar organizations around the US (not sure about Canada).

Here is a place to start - click on your state and see what is available.

https://funerals.org/local-fca/#US-WA

1 Like Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Decorating Guides 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Meeting With Your Designer
Thinking in advance about how you use your space will get your first design consultation off to its best start
Full Story
Decorating Guides 12 Questions Your Interior Designer Should Ask You
The best decorators aren’t dictators — and they’re not mind readers either. To understand your tastes, they need this essential info
Full Story
Most Popular Fix It or Not? What to Ask When Prepping Your Home for Sale
Find out whether a repair is worth making before you put your house on the market
Full Story