Choosing an Independent Family Owned or Corporate Owned Funeral Home?

There are two types of funeral homes in Australia.  There are benefits to both types, so it is important to know which type of funeral home is most appropriate for you.

Independent and Family Owned Funeral Homes are locally or family owned businesses, that were established without the assistance of a large corporation, and many families have been in the funeral profession for generations.  Generally, they have greater flexibility when it comes to pricing, with lower overheads and fewer financial commitments.

You will be able to liaise directly with the owner and operators of the funeral home, who are not obliged to follow company policy or directives.  This means they can be very flexible and individual with funeral arrangements. They are also not bound to particular suppliers, and are able to provide personalised items from a range of businesses eg coffins, flowers and caterers.

Corporate Owned Funeral Homes are owned by a large corporation, for example those that are publicly listed like Invocare which operates 250 funeral locations and 14 cemeteries and crematoria, in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA.

Large corporate companies generally benefit from large volume corporate buying power, and they can own subsidiary companies that provide coffins and flowers etc.  This does not necessarily mean that these lower prices are passed onto the consumer.  As a public company, they are required to focus on keeping their share price elevated by achieving the highest possible return for a large group of shareholders.

Choosing a funeral home that is a part of a large organisation, could mean that you get the guarantees that come with doing business with a multinational company.

In general, most funeral homes are affiliated with at least one industry association, and each of these associations have their own Code of Conduct, which covers professional standards, a members’ obligations to the public, care of the deceased and legislative compliance.   This provides reassurance as to the standards that are expected of an affiliated funeral home, and the security that the industry association will facilitate a satisfactory resolution to any concerns or dissatisfaction with the services provided.

It can be quite confusing, so if having a particular type of funeral home is important to you, then you have the right to ask these questions.

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