The number of people choosing cremation for final needs continues to rise. Currently, nationwide, cremation is chosen for more than 40% of those who die. With the cremation rate reliably rising, experts anticipate that by 2017 or 2018 at least 50% of people that die in the United States will be cremated.

As the number of cremations has increased across the country, so has the competition for the cremation business. Consumers choose between cremation-only providers and traditional funeral homes offering cremation services. Cremation-only providers may have their own crematories or contract with outside crematories.

The price of cremation among providers varies by 100%. When choosing cremation, then, should a consumer choose the lowest cost cremation provider? Are all services created equal?

All services are not created equal, but price is an important consideration. Funeral homes often have the highest fixed level of expenses as they are brick and mortar entities with substantial staff and equipment. The cost of cremation through a funeral home, then, is often higher than Internet-advertised bare bones prices. Funeral homes provide extra value and security, however. Funeral homes are able to offer additional services including a funeral prior to cremation and transportation services that a low cost cremation-only provider cannot. Funeral homes also offer a known staff and neighborhood elements, often along with longevity, to provide some security.

Low cost cremation-only providers range from no frills, bare bones, minimally priced cremation providers contracting with outside crematories to well-established national cremation societies with their own crematories. The ultimate lowest price often comes from the no frills business that contracts with local crematories. Without a brick and mortar location, or providing other services, these providers keep their costs down.

Consumers choosing among a funeral home, an established cremation society, and a no frills cremation provider should consider:

  • Cost. Each of these businesses is required to offer a cremation price quote upon request. Start with a defined number for accurate comparison.
  • Inclusions. Consumers must be careful with comparisons. A very low price quote for cremation may not accurately reflect the final cost of services. It is important to ensure all price quotes include administrative expenses, transportation expenses, death paperwork, and any other costs in addition to the cost of cremation itself.
  • Additional Services. Consumers who wish to have a funeral or memorial service along with cremation must work with funeral homes that are equipped to manage all services.

Cost is a primary driving factor in the choice of cremation. Consumers must be wary, though, and endeavor to fully understand the cost basis, work with reputable providers, and choose a provider that meets all their needs.