Why Do Funerals Cost So Much?

By almost any measure, funeral costs are expensive. According to statistics from the National Funeral Directors Association, the national median cost of a funeral with a metal casket for 2014 was $7,181.00. This cost does not include extras such as a limousine, motorcycle escort, cemetery costs, or other outside charge items such as funeral flowers, funeral music and obituaries.

Funeral Costs

The Casket

Because the casket is the largest tangible item evident when arranging a funeral, and because the funeral package price tag is typically displayed on a casket, most individuals mistakenly assume that the casket is the most expensive part of a funeral. The truth is that casket prices are calculated and weighted to help pay the overhead operating cost (service charges) of the business. If the true service charges were listed outright, funeral services would not be affordable to families of more modest means.

The Service

The costs which most often influence the price of a funeral service are investment and overhead. Funerals are a service, provided by highly trained personnel, who are required by the State of Ohio to be college-educated, certified and licensed by the state, and who are always on call—24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The funeral director is also required to use specialized facilities, equipment and vehicles. The typical funeral director has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars (in most cases, millions) into his or her mortuary facility and motor vehicles. Payroll
expenses, facilities acquisition and maintenance, and automotive equipment comprise 80% of the costs invested to provide the funeral service you select.

The following chart illustrates the operating expense—and profit—for a typical $7,000 funeral:
[insert pie chart — to BE: where is this coming from?]

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