funeral director speaking with an elderly couple
FUNERAL PLANNING

What do people really want from a funeral director?

mel-mono
  • Mel Buttigieg
  • Writer, Bare
  • July 28, 2021
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We asked Australians what they wanted most from a funeral provider, and the results were almost unanimous. Aussies want more transparency, not pushy salespeople, when it comes to engaging a funeral director.

That resonates with us deeply at Bare Cremation. We built the company to offer people more choice, affordability and transparency when it comes to saying goodbye to a loved one.

Where funeral directors failed on transparency

Australia’s consumer advocate CHOICE is on a warpath to hold the funeral industry accountable on its lack of transparency.

CHOICE investigated Australian funeral directors and exposed the industry’s biggest funeral company, Invocare (which owns funeral chains like White Lady Funerals, Simplicity Funerals and Le Pine Funerals) on dodgy pricing. Its campaign for fair funeral pricing has caused a shake-up among the industry, forcing funeral directors to do better at disclosing their costs.

As a result, the nation’s peak consumer body, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), is cracking down on funeral directors misleading bereaved families. At Bare Cremation, we think it’s about bloody time!

What does a funeral director do?

During our study, we realised that some people were left wondering, ‘What does a funeral director do?‘ They were not completely sure what role a funeral director plays in planning a funeral.

Traditional funeral directors arrange to collect the deceased person from their place of passing and prepare them for the burial or cremation. Then the funeral director becomes a type of party planner – they work with the family to plan the ceremony, hire a celebrant to officiate, and arrange the extra elements like flowers, catering and newspaper advertising. Then they will arrange the cremation or burial and complete all the necessary paperwork. For that, families are charged thousands of dollars.

However, many families that lost relatives during the COVID-19 pandemic have arranged an unattended, direct cremation at the time of passing, then a family-led memorial or farewell later on, without a funeral director.

Which leads many to ask, ‘Why do we need a funeral director at all?’

The answer is simple. We don’t!

 

You don't need a funeral director to say goodbye. Here is a family-led lakeside memorial arranged after an unattended Bare cremation.
You don’t need a funeral director to say goodbye. Here is a family-led lakeside memorial arranged after an unattended Bare cremation.

 

How to arrange a cremation without a funeral director

Those who would prefer a simpler send-off can arrange all that themselves, without hiring a funeral director. Non-traditional funeral providers, like Bare, can arrange the transport, interment and paperwork, allowing the family the time to plan and budget for a more personalised memorial or celebration of life when they are ready.

What we learned about what Australians want from a funeral director

As part of our Funeral Insights Study, we surveyed 850 Australians about what they valued most from a funeral director. Almost all (90%) of the respondents said transparency of costs and service inclusions was the most important thing when it came to planning a funeral.

In addition, 89% didn’t want to be upsold things they don’t need, while 84% didn’t want to be rushed to make decisions quickly.

The below chart raks the top qualities Aussies want from a funeral director.

 

A chart shows what Australians believe is important when choosing a funeral director.
Here’s what Australians believe is important when choosing a funeral director.

 

 

Why is transparency important when it comes to funeral planning?

The funeral industry is a lucrative business and traditional funeral directors are ultimately salespeople. There’s a reason it’s costing Australians $1.6 billion every year to die.

There is a general expectation that a funeral needs to happen in the immediate days after a person has died. This pressures vulnerable families to quickly make expensive decisions at a time of immense grief. Funeral planning usually comes at a time when people don’t have the time or energy to shop around or negotiate on pricing or inclusions they may not want.

But there are no rules about when we must say goodbye. Despite most funeral ceremonies happening within the week of the person passing, Australians have told us that they don’t want to be rushed. A staggering 84% said they would prefer to have more time to plan the funeral and don’t want to be pressured to make a decision when a loved one dies.

Funeral directors upsell expensive add-ons that families often don’t want or need, like high-end coffins, gold handles, premium catering and other customisations. The average price of a funeral is $7,499 according to finder.com.au, but it is common for a funeral to cost upwards of $10,000. Even if the death was expected, the bill can come as a shock to many families.

In fact, 32% of Australian families faced hardship after paying for a loved one’s funeral, according to the Australian Seniors Cost of Dying report. And it took these families at least six months to financially recover from the debt.

When a loved one dies, it is already a substantial time of emotional hardship. Families don’t need the financial hardship on top of that, too.

Dying shouldn’t cost a fortune. And the amount spent on a person’s funeral shouldn’t reflect how much the person was loved.

We started Bare to provide an ethical and affordable alternative to the traditional funeral industry. We offer Australians a simple, affordable and fully transparent funeral option. The average price of an immediate need funeral with Bare is just over $2,000. We even offer the option to plan ahead and prepay your funeral either upfront or by small instalments over five years.

To get a price for a prepaid funeral with Bare, visit our website barecrmation.com.au or call 1800 202 901.

 

Bare Cremation’s Funeral Insights Study was conducted in July 2021, based on a sample of 850 Australians.

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