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Funeral decisions are never easy - to make or even think about. But we encourage you to give thought to a couple of key issues before you contact a funeral home and inquire about their services and/or pricing, to make sure you decide on the best funeral home for your situation.

Here's what you need to know before you contact a funeral home:

Take the time necessary to make an informed decision

It is a commonly held view that a decision on removing the body from the place of death needs to be made immediately. But in reality, you have some time to make this decision. (A close family relative works in a local hospital supporting families dealing with cancer and she indicated that they give families as much time as they need.) This allows you to make a thoughtful decision on a funeral service provider. Instead of just contacting the funeral home which is closest to you or your loved one, we encourage families to take the time to do the necessary research to identify a provider which will best suit your needs. The information we provide at InMemory.ca on pricing and reviews is a good place to start. Other points to consider include:

(i)   the experience of friends and relatives,
(ii)  whether a funeral home has the facilities that you require, i.e. if you expect a large turnout, a funeral home which has a chapel which can only accommodate 50 people isn’t going to work, or
(iii) whether the funeral home is part of a large national/international chain or is a locally, family owned operation.

Understand what you want

Before you meet with a funeral provider, take the time to think through what type of funeral services you require. This may include sitting down with family and close friends of the deceased and thinking through what direction you wish to take, e.g. will you be burying or cremating your loved one? Would you like to provide friends and family the opportunity to say goodbye to the deceased with a period of visitation? Would you like a formal service, and if so, will it be at the funeral home, a church or the cemetery?

Come up with a budget

While consumers often prepare budgets for major expenditures, they rarely do any budgeting for funeral expenses. Part of the issue is the lack of transparency on pricing in the industry – something which we hope will be addressed in part by InMemory.ca. Yet the most important reason for budgeting – being that a budget keeps you focused on what you can afford to spend – also applies to funerals. In preparing your budget, we suggest that you first read the article titled “What is it going to cost?”, which summarizes most of the costs you will likely incur when arranging a funeral – highlighting the range of costs for different expense categories.

Comparison shop

We comparison shop for virtually all major purchases that we make … and there is no reason why the same shouldn’t hold for funeral providers. In medium to large sized cities, there will always be a number of choices to consider. Bear in mind, however, that in larger cities, two large chains (Arbor and Service Chain International branded as “Dignity”) have substantial market shares, so take care to ensure you are not comparison shopping just amongst funeral homes in the same chain. In small cities or towns, there are often only 1 or 2 funeral homes. If you are not having a service or are instead holding the service at a location other than the funeral chapel (e.g. a church), then don’t be afraid to contact a funeral provider in a neighbouring town (though you should check to see if they will give you a break on any additional mileage costs).

Find & Compare Funeral Homes Online

Canada's #1 site for comparing funeral home pricing & reviews