How Forward Thinking is Your Funeral Home?


We all know what the Funeral Rule declares: you must offer your General Price List when you begin to discuss the type of funeral or disposition that you can arrange, the specific goods and services that you offer; or the prices of your goods and services.

But what does that mean when your first interaction with a family is through your funeral home website? This has been a topic of conversation for a few years now, and California has taken the initiative to ensure compliance.

According to SB 658 as of January 1, 2013, a funeral establishment that maintains a Web site will be required to post the list of funeral goods and services that are required to be included in the establishment’s General Price List (GPL), pursuant to federal rule, and a statement that the GPL is available upon request via a link from the home page, unless a phrase containing the word “price” links to the establishment’s GPL.

And I suspect that other states will follow suit. It makes sense that you hire a website company which offers you an option to include online pricing and/or a PDF version of your General Price List on your funeral home website, and an easy way to keep that information current.

When I was part of the Web Development team at funeralOne I encouraged my clients to include a copy of their GPL on their new website. While I prefer a downloadable version of your GPL because families can then print it out and review it together, it also makes it really easy to post a new version of this important document.

If you’d rather have your prices directly accessible on a web page, funeralOne’s “back-end” website editor makes it simple for you to make necessary price changes. Either way, if you ever need help, funeralOne’s highly-responsive support team will update your site quickly, via a reliable support ticketing system.

Don’t Fear the Competition

It’s really all about serving your prospective client families. Ask yourself this question: Do you think prospective client families always want to get on the phone with you to talk pricing, when they are under emotional strain?

I doubt it. Yet, lots of funeral homes today force them to do just that, by not including pricing information on their website.

Lots of directors I’ve spoken to say, “If I post our GPL, our competitors will know how much I charge, and undercut our prices!”

My response? “Chances are they already know how much you charge.” We all know how easy it is for them to find out what they need to know.

If we get misplaced fear out of the way and return to the concept of offering valuable service, adding your price list to your website will effectively enhance your reputation with your prospective client families. And they are the folks that really matter.

I know it takes guts to be open and accountable. But you may not have a choice for very long. The Legislature of your state may be poised to pass a law similar to California’s SB 658.

So, get one step ahead. Make your GPL available on your funeral home website. Your honesty will be appreciated and applauded by the people you serve, and you may just confound the competition with your transparency.

What are some other ways your firm tries stay transparent with your funeral home website? Please share your comments below! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments.

  1. Faye

    As a cremation facility in Florida,  we post our prices all over our website.  I think people are so price conscious nowadays that  this is the reason for their web search.   Other facilities clled me and told me we were crazy for posting our prices…but I did it anyway.

  2. Kim Stacey

     Faye, I’m so proud of you – you ARE a “forward thinker”. I’m reminded of the old saying, “crazy like a fox”!

  3. Kim Stacey

     Jazzi, I’m so sorry about your experience – and would love to read your blog post about it. It would be very insightful, and help me to understand your situation better. The loss of someone dear, like your father, is hard enough – all one really wants at a time like that is to be treated with respect, as both a human being (who is hurting), and as a consumer.

    By being given straight-forward information, you would have been empowered, not disempowered, and disenchanted. The next funeral professional you come in contact with will have to work really hard to overcome the bias created by your negative experience!

  4. ASD

    Great blog Kim! You covered a lot of really important points. For businesses to be successful in today’s digital age, you have to substantiate your claims with transparent business practices. Sharing information is one of the simplest ways to earn trust and establish a level of openness with the public. 

  5. Kim Stacey

     I don’t think there’s a thing I can add to your comments. What I said in so many paragraphs, you condensed oh, so beautifully. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, friend.

  6. Ksrhodes42

    Hi Kim, our funeral home in NC has had our GPL, along with our merchandise online for as long as we have had a website. I still think we are one of the few in NC that do that. It has never caused any negative response from anyone. We are now in the process of changing our pricing structure for a more forward approach to the coming business environment. Many times we have had families come in with copies of downloaded GPL’s and merchandise information. We also make encourage our families to make more use of our online obituaries to help keep the cost of published notices down. Thus far, few have done that. 

  7. Kim Stacey

    Many thanks for taking the time to leave your comments. I find it amazing that yours is one of the few firms in your state to strive for transparency – but kudos to you for your long term “forward thinking”. You’re doing a fine job of serving families in the best way possible: through “honesty”.

    And you bring up a good point about the cost of published notices – out here in California it can cost a family hundreds of dollars for one time publication. It’s unreasonable, and most of our families are delighted (if that’s the right word in this situation) to make use of the online obituary option.

  8. The Blessings & Curses of Being a Funeral Director | Funeral Blog. The official blog for the funeral & cemetery professions.

    […] have definitely improved in this area, mostly due to a great form called the General Price List. If you’re reading these words and my story rings a bell, I offer this simple thought:  balance […]

  9. CALIFORNIA: Funeral Home Web Sites & GPLs – Funeral Consumers Alliance

    […] Read the full article at FuneralOne Blog […]