Why Every Funeral Home Should Publish Pricing On Their Website


Most business owners would agree that one of the most important pieces of information consumers want during the buying process is price.

So why are funeral home owners refraining from putting their pricing on their website?

Although I have heard numerous reasons why funeral service pricing should not be placed on your website, it has always bothered me that the industry was so hesitant to do so.

Universally, we can agree that consumer education is critical to our success as an industry. We already know that 97% of consumers use the Internet to start their search for products and services. This consumer will use price as the leverage point to try and understand the benefits and associated value of our services.  It may not be the ultimate decision criteria, but it is the one that most start with.

And yet we still withhold this critical piece of information while they are trying to learn about our services and why they are valuable. Why is that?

Here are three common reasons or “excuses” why many funeral home’s don’t publish pricing on their website, followed by one BIG reason why you should:


Excuse #1: The “inability to comprehend”

Many people reason that the FTC required GPL is too difficult to understand. But, think about it for a moment.  We are making the case that our website or our pricing structure or our General Price Lists are too difficult to understand? What is wrong with that picture? The most important initial piece of information we have is too difficult to understand on its own merits!


Excuse #2: The competitive advantage issue

I’m so sick of hearing the same excuse: “My competitor will know how much I charge and act accordingly!”.  Trust me, your competitor already knows how much you charge – and probably a lot of other things about your business. Establishing trust on your website far outweighs any ease that your competitor will have access to what is in the public domain information anyway. And if today’s consumer doesn’t see pricing on your website, they will most likely move on to a website where they can find that information (which could potentially be your competitor, anyway).


Excuse #3: Business costs vs. associated price structure

I am highly skeptical that most funeral directors truly understand their costs and pricing structures. I know this because I have rarely (make that almost never) seen an operation that tracks their labor costs directly to specific cases. How can you tell if your traditional services or cremation services are priced right?  This uncertainty slows down the motivation to publish online and increases the difficulty of explaining why one product or service is better than the other one.


Why we should put pricing on our website

Several years ago I was reading a management book that talked about a powerful concept: mechanisms.  One such mechanism was a money back guarantee for all products and services offered. This “money back guarantee” was printed on every invoice the company sent to its clients.  The owner’s rationale was that their organization was financially vulnerable to any transaction that did not meet or exceed the client’s expectations.

To them, the sting of this vulnerability would reinforce and highly motivate the organization to uncover any issues that lead to less than 100% satisfaction.

I believe that publishing pricing on our websites and other media outlets can be the same type of mechanism for funeral service.

It will force us to develop websites and pricing structures that are transparent, easy to understand and reflective of the benefits delivered.  It will force us to look at our cost structures and to better align those with the needs of our families.  It will force us to concede that we cannot serve everybody all the time.

And, it will help us take a good look at the rapidly changing marketplace and shape our offerings (and then our cost structure) in ways that make sense to the new consumer of today.

What do you think about this great debate? Does your funeral home publish pricing on your website? How do you feel about this controversial topic?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!



Lajos Szabo, a licensed funeral director in Ohio and Architect by training, has been involved in funeral service since 1988. His portfolio of work includes, Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation Service, PMP Rooms, Cut Caskets, Meaningful Memories, Funeral of the Future research and several US patents specific to our industry.[RR1] Currently, Lajos is the President of Funeral Operations at funeralOne. He uses his industry perspective to provide organizational leadership and develop several key projects in pursuit of his personal mission: changing funeral service to more effectively meet the needs of people touched by death. funeralOne’s solutions include: website design, aftercare, eCommerce, and personalization software. For more information about funeralOne, visit www.funeralOne.com.


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  1. Lisa_Carlson

    Right on!

  2. Shane A. Ritchie

    I’ve been advocating this for years! Good post.

  3. I’m Sorry to Hear

    Hear, Hear, Lajos. Great article and 100% spot on.

    Another point that should be made is that the #1 by a consumer argument for cremation vs. burial is “cost”. So instead of evaluating the costs and making sure they are in line with value and expectations and forgoing cross-selling and up-selling on non-necessities so more families continue to have “traditional” burials, costs of traditional burials has gone up! Think about it…

  4. Rob Finch

    I agree with most of your rationalization on the “Excuses”. However, Excuse #1, the “inability to comprehend” cannot be solely, and most importantly directly, addressed by the funeral service provider. The FTC required text/verbage cannot be overcome in many cases unless an actual conversation takes place. I have many families that I present our GPL to by email, letter, or FAX and they almost always either over or under estimate the actual service costs. Either of these scenarios can lead to the loss of a family without ever actually speaking to them with reasonable explanations. I strongly agree for the need to provide appropriate information to our families via our websites. How would you propose overcoming the FTC’s required text and the confusion in poses to those who visit our website and are attempting to comprehend the information provided as per the FTC requirement?

  5. LSzabo

    Rob, you are absolutely correct. FTC driven GPLs appear to be designed to confuse and baffle the families seeking information and the only way comprehension can occur is to have them explained in person. However, I believe the new consumer out there is less inclined to talk to someone before they do their “research”. One solution that I have seen and used is to create a GPL that explains the value proposition and pricing along with the FTC required documentation. So the GPL is expanded to include value and package explanations (along with pricing) with the FTC requirements attached to the end of the document. In other words the FTC requirements are about the bare minimum pricing information and do not prevent you from adding whatever information you want to explain your value and pricing proposition.

  6. Jeff Harbeson

    A funeral home most certainly shuold post the basic information on their site, i.e.; “our basic funeral which includes the following (basic service fee, removal, embalming, dress & casket, visitation, service, hearse, lead vehicle and flower vehicle is $X. These are services only and do not include casket (which ranges from $X up), outer burial container (which ranges $X up) or cash advances (charges not offered at the funeral home such as cemetery fees and obituaries). The same information may be provided for basic cremation.

    I fully understand your position on point #1…I ask funeral directors all the time “how much is your GPL cost of a typical service”…I get a blank look and stammering…many don’t know this basic question. The GPL is not hard to comprehend, many just don’t bother to really understand it’s contents.

    As for point #2, the competitive issue, I agree. Ridiculous…if you are so proud of your legacy and services, why are you ashamed to post your prices?

    As for #3…I meet with funeral home owners consistently and a reoccurring conversation is “things are getting tougher”…cremation is rising, people are not spending what they used to on burials, the wholesale price of our goods along with employee costs are rising…etc. So what are you doing about it MR/MS Funeral Home Owner? “Well…we have to wait and see what the casket companies are going to do…and I don’t want to raise my prices because of Z’s funeral home down the street is already $5 less than we are”. So what’s that got to do with what it costs to run your business…or how much you are profiting?

    In small communities there will not be much change as the funeral home generally does not need to be competitive…(although should be technologically relevant) and their market basically does not change very much. However, other areas…the consumer is getting smarter by researching before making decisions. If the information is not readily available, the consumer moves on.

    Great information…but all one has to do is to look in any market…most funeral homes have not pricing on their webpage..just the WE CARE MORE theme…oh well…just keep doing the same old thing the same old way.

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  8. Bill McQueen

    Lajos –

    As usual, your analysis is very thoughtful and your conclusion is spot-on in my opinion. As a former funeral home owner, I know it takes a more than a little bit of “intestinal fortittude” to put your pricing right on your website, but I am 100% confident that it is the right thing to do…even if you are the highest price in your marketplace. If you are not comfortable with publishing your prices, then there may be more fundamental issues that need to be addressed. Like most of today’s consumer who do their shopping (or at least self-education) on the web and value “transparency”, when I personally visit a website and pricing is not evident, my skepticism meter goes up and it takes that much more for them to gain my trust. Also, it is refreshing to see that funeralOne is willing to adjust with time and embrace new ideas and even change direction, as I recall that before your tenure leading the funeral division, their advice was to not put pricing on your funeral home website because you did not want the focus on pricing but only on the experience.

    Keep it up! Best!

  9. DFS Memorials

    “It will force us to develop websites and pricing structures that are transparent, easy to understand and reflective of the benefits delivered. It will force us to look at our cost structures and to better align those with the needs of our families.”

    Well said! Funeral homes that DO include clear pricing disclosure on their websites will also be responding to market demand. Today’s funeral consumer absolutely demands to know price, and it is folly to even think that not disclosing pricing today is not detrimental to your business.

  10. Syd Waldman

    The Texas Consumer Alliance has petitioned the Texas Funeral Service Commission to
    make any funeral home that has a website to post the GPL on it…

    Most Funeral Directors do no agree… for me, I think having pricing on the website
    “cheapens” my professional services and reputation. I am not a
    used car salesperson… “All FORDS are created equal, price is the difference” as
    a car dealership advertises here… does not apply to my profession, not all
    direct cremations are created equal, every service rendered is unique to the
    family I am serving, at my funeral home.

    Syd Waldman – Hardin Family Funeral Home/Waldman Funeral Care

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