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Old 07-12-2009, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Charlotte
2,447 posts, read 6,646,366 times
Reputation: 1389

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I found this interesting.

Death and dollars (http://www.charlotteobserver.com/business/story/829216.html - broken link)

Quote:
The average funerals in Charlotte cost $5,500, while cremations average $2,821.

The figure for funerals is $1,600 more than the South Atlantic average and $1,500 more than the national average, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

Some local independent funeral directors blame the high prices on Service Corp., a Houston-based company that owns more than 1,300 funeral homes nationwide, including 60 percent of the homes in Charlotte.
Quote:
The president of the local chapter of Funeral Consumers Alliance, a nonprofit group that works to educate consumers about funeral-service options, said Service Corp.'s hold on the Charlotte market easily makes the city the priciest for funeral services.

“I hate that Charlotte is at the top of the list, but I don't doubt it one bit,” said Mary Brack. The Funeral Consumers Alliance doesn't have a survey that compares funeral pricing in different cities, but Brack said she's known for a while that Charlotte had to be one of the most expensive.

Brandon Cook, manager of Service Corp.-owned Forest Lawn Funeral Home said Charlotte's high taxes and cost of living escalate the area funeral-home prices. But that still doesn't explain why Charlotte ranks first on the list of most expensive cities for funerals while major cities with comparable or higher costs of living rank significantly lower – Washington is 12th, New York is 15th and Houston is 20th.
Quote:
Service Corp. funeral managers also point to Charlotte's high cremation percentage – 30 percent of Charlotte's deceased are cremated – as the reason for escalating burial costs. Cremations appeal to people everywhere because they're cheaper, said Cook, but they are particularly popular in Charlotte because of its transient population.

“If people want to be here only for a brief amount of time, they will be able to take their loved ones with them when they move,” Cook said
Quote:
Service Corp. has run into antitrust accusations before. In 2005, the Funeral Consumers Alliance filed a class-action suit against Service Corp. and other major players in the death-care industry. The suit alleged the companies conspired to overcharge customers on caskets by suppressing competition. While not dismissed, the case has not gone forward.
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:45 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,052,657 times
Reputation: 22371
Cremation costs are impacted by traditions.

NC law allows cremation without purchase of an expensive casket. The regs allow for a rigid container to be used. However, most families are sold caskets b/c they want to have the body at a wake or "visitation" and then at the funeral service. My understanding of this is that the body has to be fully embalmed if the family wants the body to be present for a service, even if it is a closed casket.

Families can eliminate costs by not buying a casket, thus bypassing embalming costs, too. But this means - no body for funeral and wake.

In addition, we rent limos here for family, and that is another expense that could be eliminated.

Also, most folks don't realize they can have a headstone and place the ashes of both mom and dad (in urns) in one burial plot. That is what hubby and I plan to do. We want a headstone as a record (I am into genealogy and want to be buried near other family members) but we will put both our ashes in one plot.

I personally think it would be a feasible consideration for some families to "rent" a casket, have the cremation done ahead of time, then put the urn inside the rented casket, and have that in the church for the funeral service. For families wishing to have pallbearers and a traditional funeral service, why couldn't this be an option?

Now that may seem odd to some folks, but what would be wrong w/ having the deceased's remains there in that form? Or simply placing the urn on a catafalque to be consecrated during the service. I don't see anything wrong with this.

However, it is my understanding that by law, a casket cannot be re-sold. If you buy one, it can't be re-sold, even if it has never been used. So I don't know if that would affect a funeral home's ability to "rent" a casket. That gets us down to the catafalque use, wh/ I believe is a good solution.

So there are ways to cut the costs of a funeral. However, my opinion is that this is not so much a matter of costs being higher here - we just tend to require more services from the funeral homes, b/c of our cultural and religious traditions here.

Last edited by brokensky; 07-12-2009 at 11:01 AM..
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Old 07-12-2009, 03:29 PM
 
7,107 posts, read 9,707,399 times
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I personally think it would be a feasible consideration for some families to "rent" a casket, have the cremation done ahead of time, then put the urn inside the rented casket, and have that in the church for the funeral service. For families wishing to have pallbearers and a traditional funeral service, why couldn't this be an option?

[quote]

And you said I was an entrepreneur?? Good thought process---I like your style.
j
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Old 07-12-2009, 04:44 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,052,657 times
Reputation: 22371
[quote=johne482;9729022]I personally think it would be a feasible consideration for some families to "rent" a casket, have the cremation done ahead of time, then put the urn inside the rented casket, and have that in the church for the funeral service. For families wishing to have pallbearers and a traditional funeral service, why couldn't this be an option?

Quote:

And you said I was an entrepreneur?? Good thought process---I like your style.
j
I have always wanted to run a funeral home. In fact, at one time, my dad and I looked into doing this together. However, it is very difficult to run a mom n' pop business anymore - the big boys make competition tough.

I am a liturgical organist and my dad is a minister, so I got interested in helping families plan funerals at a young age. It is such a difficult and stressful time - I felt my assistance was meaningful and it was a way to be of real service to families.

It is not an easy business to break into, tho, as it is very expensive to get started - and it is difficult to find people who have mortuary science degrees.

Kansas had a mortuary science degree thru/ one of the community colleges - but programs are hard to find. I don't think there is a certified program here in NC (but haven't check in years). It would be a very good career for someone who is interested in providing this kind of service.
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:59 AM
 
852 posts, read 2,215,657 times
Reputation: 314
I too have been interested in burial and funeral ideas since my own father died 12 years ago and I helped my mother organize the funeral. I was shocked at the price then and also the impact on the environment. I was delighted to hear a few years ago that people in the UK were opting for a "natural" burial and that over 200 natural sites were established and lo and behold South Carolina has one. I think that's the way we will be going in the future as it just entails wrapping the body in a shroud or basically a cardboard box, no embalming fluids or very little so as not to slow the natural decomposition of the body and a flat stone or shrub on top so as not to impact on the environment. The one in SC uses hand dug graves too so again cuts down using big heavy equipment which leads to cuts in cost I would imagine.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Huntersville
1,852 posts, read 4,668,638 times
Reputation: 525
Interesting information. Personally, funerals aren't for the dead they are for the living. As the dead, I would be like, I don't care what you do with my body, I don't need it anymore. I think they should have a re-usable casket if they want for a wake, and then throw me in the fire. And use the 2003 picture of me in the nice tux.. THATS how I want to be rememebered, whether I am 40 or 80.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:37 AM
 
Location: CLT native
4,280 posts, read 10,039,193 times
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This is why I plan to be stuffed.
Lots of rural taxidermists nearby, and the price is reasonable...
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:55 AM
 
630 posts, read 1,675,342 times
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I want to be put in an old school pine box.

On a more serious note, my wife and I were talking, if we croaked where would we be buried, since we're transplants and our families (except us) are up north. What are other peoples plans?
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Weddington
333 posts, read 681,118 times
Reputation: 215
Just get a Casket from Costco

Costco - Funeral=
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:05 PM
 
Location: CLT native
4,280 posts, read 10,039,193 times
Reputation: 2270
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivster View Post
Just get a Casket from Costco

Costco - Funeral=
Awesome!
The 'In God's Care' casket for $924.99.

Finally something very useful for me at Costco besides 55 gallon drums of laundry detergent and 10 lb containers of peanut butter.
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