The CMA have been collating a report about the funeral industry and how pricing may or may not be regulated. Here is my take on it as a Funeral Director with 25 years experience as the 7th generation of a long established family firm.
Our ethos is not to sell or up-sell and our priority is to make the funeral and the day what the family would like it to be.
A funeral director’s ethos should be to arrange an event that runs smoothly and exactly how the family perceived it, as close as possible to the budget they ideally would like. We are not here to talk a family into something they don’t want, for our gain.
Possibly it needs to be a more price driven and pricing transparent industry. This way, if everybody has similar prices, then service quality will be the key difference. This is where small family companies will be the better choice over corporate owned funeral directors.
The only way to have a standardised pricing comparison is to stipulate regulation of the industry.
1: Make it compulsory to be a member of a trade association. This will solidify the industry and guarantee a minimum quality level.
2: Structure a simple funeral and make it nationally standardised. This will give consumers a standardised like for like price comparison. Everybody must provide this on their literature.
These are a whole other mine field and have so many complexities it is almost impossible to discuss them all without confusing people. The main issue I believe, is the sales networks that exists, supported by the large corporates. These sell under the guise of insurance companies, via solicitors and estate agents and other outlets. The issue with this is that these sales people don’t know local costings and pricings or service levels of funeral directors. The above standardised simple funeral would help with this, however, I believe the solution to this is to only be able to purchase a prepaid plan from the Funeral Director who will provide the funeral when its required. This takes away miss-pricing, under quoting and promises that cant be delivered by sales people that have little product knowledge of funerals. If you would like your funeral with Dean Brothers then purchase your funeral plan from them. A simple solution.