A common complaint in the USA and many other countries is that the cost of a funeral is too high and rising in some cases. The truth of the matter is that a traditional funeral with a viewing, a service, and a grave side service for an adult over a three day period cost about $3,500.00 in 2006. When you look at the total it sure looks like a lot right? Consider for a moment the cost of a casket. They are often handmade, some can cost more than $7,000 on their own. Now for a moment think about the last large wedding you attended, or a baby shower. What do you think the combined cost of that fancy wedding was, likely more than ten thousand dollars, and the combined total for all of the gifts from a baby shower? Likely more than four thousand. Funerals get a lot of complaints and criticisms because they are one of the less joyous events in our lives. The fact of the matter is that owning and operating a funeral home is a 24 hour 7 day per week labor of love for those in the industry.
Owning and operating a funeral home means maintaining and heating/cooling a large medical area, viewing rooms, meeting rooms, cooking facilities, an extensive garage, at least one hearse and at least one limousine. The building itself is no small feat to keep running. Because of the nature of the business the building is occupied twenty four hours a day seven days a week including ALL holidays. These hours of operation mean that someone is on staff twenty four hours a day to assist clients who might call in. These staff members need to be paid, insurance and maintenance on the building and vehicles as well as transportation and gas costs. It is not possible to only pay for insurance or hydro for days they are using the car or for days that the lamp in the visitation room is plugged in. These are ongoing twenty four hour seven day a week expenses for funeral home operators.
When it all boils down to it the actual profit made from a funeral home is between 8 and 12 percent depending on the funeral home. That is not a whole lot of money considering what funeral directors do for a living. They receive a lot of complaints because it seems like funeral directors and funeral homes are always collecting during a person's darkest hour, but truth be told funeral directors are not wedding planners, they are not obstetricians, they are specifically trained to help people through the loss of a loved one. If there were a better time for a funeral director to perform their services and collect their small fee I'm sure they would be more than happy to oblige, but unfortunately no one needs or wants the services of a funeral director until times are tough.