Here we are at installment number three in our Blog Series "Comparison Shopping 101". Our last blog talked about how some funeral service salespeople use technical jargon to confuse consumers into thinking they are knowledgeable and should be trusted on that alone. Today's topic will be about apples to oranges comparison pricing. All funeral homes are required to provide a general pricing list of services and products, but packages and bundles or discounts are a funeral homes discretion. Learn to get to apples to apples comparison from apples to oranges explanations.
A lot of consumers get caught up on the "black and white" of service and product pricing. It is true that you can side by side items and see which one is cheapest by single item comparison. That will give you the strict cost to you of a particular service or item. This can be very helpful in gauging who is cheapest if you were to sit and add things up on your own and come up with a cost. Why a funeral director is so important is that they can help you choose what you need and what you don't on that list to help you both stay on budget and have a memorable service.
Funeral directors go through pricing and itemization with customers, but can offer package deals or discounts that give you more for less that isn't reflected on those pricing sheets.
You also don't get a feel for those things that aren't itemize-able:
-experience both handling the business and customer service aspects of funeral services
-someone being with your deceased loved one constantly during the process, not just during business hours
-having staff live on property so to safeguard and protect your loved one and their possessions
-level of personal attention and care to families and not just to business details
-proven experience in handling all of the business aspects of losing a loved one and handling all of the minutia of dealing with the processes involved in taking care of the deceased
-providing extra benefits such as coffee/beverages to your guests during services, updated facilities, etc.
-contact with the consumer outside of the purchase; community involvement
In a simple comparison, you are only dealing with "flat" comparisons, when in a service industry such as the funeral industry, you should be dealing in "dynamic" comparisons. You really have to get a fuller picture of what the comparison is between the apple and the orange. Bottom line price shopping gets you just that: bottom line service. Sure we all price shop and we all compare prices, but if you get generic cereal at the store and your kids won't eat it, did you really save? Don't throw away your choice in service because you have sticker shock. Good and reputable funeral directors will help you stay on a budget, while maximizing the experience.
Try going to price shop and do this: simply ask "if you are going to beat their price, what services do I get above and beyond with that?". If they offer you nothing, that's what you will get in most cases. Some people in the industry are just out to make money and enjoy line item comparison shopping because it reduces the experience to a cost, rather than a service provided. By asking more about how your funeral staff will treat you and your loved ones, you highlight what sets apart one funeral home from another. Can you truly put a price on integrity and professionalism?
Here is an example of how one might save money (pricing and names are NOT reflective of Million Taylor's actual pricing or an actual place, but is only an example to illustrate a concept for the purpose of this blog):
Family Doe has a mother who has passed and their father served honorably in Vietnam. They call Smith Funeral Home and talk to Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith tells them his cost for a funeral is $500.00 and then $200.00 for a casket, $200.00 for other fees, for a total price of $900.00. Mr. Smith also tells them that they take 10% off the price for a veteran, but not the wife. This means a savings of $90.00 on $900.00 or $810.00, then taxes, say add back, $20.00 and you end up at $830.00
Family Doe goes to Jones Funeral Home and talk to Mr. Jones next. They take in the $830.00 and say can you beat that. Mr. Jones explains that his services are $600.00, the casket is $300.00 and their other fees are $200.00. This is a total price of $1,100.00. Then Mr. Jones explains that the casket is free because her husband served and was honorably discharged and they were married at the time she passed. So, let's do that calculation...$600.00 + $200.00 = $800.00 and no taxes added back in. So, you get more for your dollar and save $30.00 as well.
So, even though line item pricing looks cheaper, that's not the whole story. You should take the actual pricing and compare what you actually end up with for total services and product instead. By comparing what you actually get in total for your purchase, you can see that sometimes cheaper isn't always better. Don't sell yourself short by simply asking what something costs, but by asking what you get for that cost. You could miss out on having a wonderful service that transitions your family through a celebration rather than "just getting it done".
Find out how our apple compares to other funeral homes oranges today by contacting one of our directors here at Million Taylor who can fill you in on how our services not on the paper add to what we have to offer. Our value-added services go beyond the black and white page to help you and your family dread the pre-planning process less. We offer many ways to help you stay on budget while having an enhanced service experience. Call to talk to Christy today at 660-263-0234 so she can go over what we offer that can change your mind on what "low-cost" really means.