Professional fees are usually not itemised in the quote from the funeral director. These fees cover the things the funeral directors do using their own resources.
Generally these tasks include collecting, transporting, and preparing the body, and providing chapel or viewing facilities as well as staff, a hearse and mourners’ cars. This cost also includes the ‘organising’ they do on your behalf, such as speaking with clergy, organising the cemetery or crematorium, arranging for medical or death certificates and ordering flowers and placing obituaries.
The fees will vary according to which funeral director you use and the level of service you choose. Remember that you will be charged for every service you agree to use. It is useful to do your research.
Our research has found that funeral directors’ professional service fees fluctuate wildly, and vary from State to State. For example, Choice (2011) found that professional fees can cost anything from $450 to $2,750. Transport of the body can vary between $129 and $1,995. Storage of the body can cost between $165 and $352, body preparation from $200 to $480 and collection of certificates between $75 and $134.
Coffins and caskets
Coffins are usually less expensive than caskets. Coffins and caskets with more elaborate fittings, linings and timbers are more expensive. For example, Choice (2011) found that prices for basic particleboard or wood coffins start at $700, but the ones you’ll most likely be introduced to will cost between about $4000 and $9000. Metal caskets can range between $7000 and $28000.
A disbursement is a fee charged by a third party which the funeral director pays on your behalf. Necessary disbursements include the fees charged by a doctor for medical certificates and permits or fees charged by a cemetery or crematorium.
Other disbursements or “add-ons” may include newspaper notices, flowers or refreshments you have requested. The funeral director should only pass the actual cost on to you. Make sure you confirm the actual costs of disbursements to avoid being overcharged.
Be clear about how much you prepared to pay. If a funeral director can’t meet your price, shop elsewhere.