Handcrafted  Pine Caskets only $799.00  to $1,199.00 plus tax. Which is less than the average $3,500.00 wooden casket the funeral home sells. All caskets are hand made one at a time, here in Utah. Each casket is built with hand picked local and regionally harvested pine. Each casket is unique, because of the variation in wood grain.  Also each casket has a fully lined natural white cotton  interior. I have made caskets (at this point in time around 250 caskets) for many families who wanted a hand crafted casket that reflected the life style or wishes of their loved one. Farmers, ranchers, Boy Scout leaders, woodworkers, hunters, or people who loved being in the outdoors are a few of the types of people who have used the caskets I have built.  I can also do customizing on caskets (see the examples below) that reflects the life of the person who will use one of my caskets. Call 801-388-9158 or for more information. 

Note: I am having difficulty receiving calls because of bad cell phone reception in my area.(too many tall buildings around my shop) Your calls may go directly to voicemail.  Just leave a message, and I'll return your call.

 Also I am a one man wood shop so I cannot meet the demand for custom handmade caskets. If you are looking for a casket artisan in your area, check this web site.  http://casketmakers.org/business-directory/ or, contact your state affiliate with the national Funeral Consumer's Alliance. 

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Now a few thoughts before you read my blog:
I make caskets, for a living and would like to sell you one if that is what you need.  but that's only part of the reason for my Blog.  I also want you to be informed and knowledgeable about the choices you need to make when it comes to a funeral.

 If you come away with anything from this blog, I hope it is knowledge. Because going to a funeral home without knowing what you really need and do not need for a funeral.Will cost you  thousands of dollars. And even more if you go get a loan, or 2nd mortgage to pay for a funeral. It happens more often than you might think here in Utah, and across the country.

         A funeral usually is the 3rd most expensive item that you will pay for in your life. The price of a funeral by burial  in our state of Utah can be almost $10,000. But it can be around $6,000 to $6,500  for everything for a burial... if you know how.  This blog site has information and links to state,  national organizations, and other funeral information services, that will help you make informed choices and help save you money in the process.
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The  pine caskets I make.
The two photos below are of the main type of casket I build. They are $899.00 plus tax 









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The next two photos are of a blue pine casket I make. This style of casket has more complex woodworking, and time building involved. Their priced at $1,199.00 plus tax.



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The next two photos are of a single piece flat lid casket. This casket has a fully cloth lined interior, but has rope handles.  It's cost is $799.00 plus tax.


These 3 types of caskets above are built with knotty pine, or blue pine, and have a very rustic  type woodworking construction. I even recycle wood cut for some parts to be used in other areas of the casket. I use very little metal in the casket. With the exception of the flat lid casket, each casket  has a simple curved two piece lid, with a simple  fully lined white cotton interior. All handles are  reinforced, and all parts are fully interlocked  with glue for the strongest casket. This casket can hold  275 lbs.  And a person up to 6 ft. 4 inches tall, with a shoulder width of 25". The interior dimensions are 81 inches long 22 inches wide and 14 inches deep. And the casket weighs about 135 lbs. empty. This casket will fit into a standard sized (29 inch wide by 86 inch long by 24 inch deep) burial vault if required by the cemetery. A funeral director told me, when he picked up one of my caskets, that 90 to 95% of the population needing a casket will fit into these caskets. 



     Below are photos of other custom caskets I have built over the years. The 2017 funeral home price list for northern Utah, your rights as a consumer, and ways to save money on a funeral. There is a lot of information presented here so if you are just looking for a casket stop here. If not... read on and be informed.
     

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A funeral home cannot refuse or charge you more for services because you bought a casket from someone other than them. The average cost of a casket is around $2,500.  And it's even more ($3,500 average cost) if your looking for a wood casket. So there is a big incentive for the funeral home to get you to buy a casket from them. In my first years of building caskets I had  customers told by funeral directors they could not use a casket from someone other than them. Which is illegal.



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Also the games some funeral homes play: 
 With more business selling caskets, funeral homes across the U.S.are losing money to 3rd party casket makers such as myself. The funeral industry is one of the last big industries that are being forced to change. And  for the most part, they want to keep things the same. At 20 plus billion dollars a year that's a lot of consumer spending. So here are the things you need to be aware of.

Funeral homes are business first. They are in business to make money. This is not wrong. Funeral directors did not make a vow of poverty when they choose this profession. They need to make a reasonable profit to stay in business. Most funeral directors got into this line of work to help people. But along the way some funeral directors and or funeral homes, lost sight of helping people to helping themselves to more of your money. These are the funeral homes you need to avoid, when you need the services of a funeral home. And eventually your family will... unless you plan on doing a home funeral. Please be skeptical with what unethical funeral directors tell you regarding a funeral. 

If the funeral director/home makes you feel uncomfortable, for whatever reason. Go find another funeral home. Which is exactly what this funeral director says in the link below.
http://www.calebwilde.com/2014/01/when-you-should-fire-your-funeral-home/
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 Your best defense is to know your rights and the state laws concerning funerals before deciding on a funeral home. And hopefully you do this before needing a funeral.
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News Flash from the Funeral Consumer Alliance.
Funeral homes across the U.S. are are not giving prices. To a lot of us who know how the funeral home industry operates, this is not anything new. Do you ever wonder why most funeral homes never put their prices on their web page, or in one of their newspaper ads?? It's to keep people from comparison shopping between the various funeral homes. If you knew that you had the option of paying 100% to 200% less for the same funeral services. You might choose  the less expensive option. (for your information in northern Utah it's a 128%  price difference between the highest and lowest priced funeral homes for the same exact set of professional services)  This is why funeral homes will not print in public or on the internet their prices. So click or copy and paste the link to read the nation wide survey of funeral price hiding.
https://www.funerals.org/2015funeralsurvey/ 


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 2017 funeral home price survey
Go to Utahfunerals.org for the price surveys they did in other areas of Utah 






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"The funeral industry is the only business where they can take your loved ones body and sell it back to you"
Caitlin (Ask a Mortician) Doughty 
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A video from a sixth generation funeral director you should watch. 


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  Check out this link to the Federal Trade Commission on funerals. It will give you information on what you are legally required to buy for a funeral. 
 http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0070-shopping-funeral-services
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 Anonymous quote
"Nothing seems to make the cost of living as reasonable as the pricing of funerals." 

                                                           
                                         
Below are some photos of other custom caskets I have made in the past few years.  Depending on my work load I can do many types of customization, if wanted.







 A simple casket with rope handles.




A hummingbird lid decoration for a casket lid.
A simple casket with wood handles.



The two photos above are a custom casket, for someone who loved cats. I had a clip art image of a sleeping cat embroidered, and added some blue pine trim. The locking knobs for the lid had a paw print engraved into the knob 

The two photos above are of a small infant casket I made recently. They wanted a favorite color for the inside. Most infant caskets are made from molded Styrofoam or plastic. I feel wood has a appeal of warmth that cannot be mass manufactured.


This was a special request for a family. The deceased was a choir director. And  I made this inlay which was made with walnut, and pine, and  put on the top of the casket lid.
 


A simple wooden cross I made for a family.








The casket above was designed with input from a family needing a casket that reflected the lifestyle of their loved one. The deceased was a elk hunter. They brought a set of elk antlers which were made into the end handles. They also wanted a elk carving on the casket lid, along with a elk scene that was framed using blue pine and put into the inside of the lid.




 Above is a casket made for a scouting person.

 

 A close up of the carved scouting emblem. I can add other scouting insignia to a casket. I have a license agreement with the B.S.A to do scouting caskets in the Trapper Trails Council area. 


 The photos above shows some custom casket lids.The first one on the left is a carved eagle that was for a military person who loved eagles. The one on the right has a rancher's brand that was burned into the lid. .



A  historical reproduction of a pioneer era casket that I make from time to time. It's called the Lancashire or Toe Pincher casket.

  This is another simple natural unfinished casket that I make for families that have very little money, and want a funeral with a burial, for a family member who is obese. I make them in two sizes. 26" I.D. and 31" I.D. They can handle 500 lbs. easily.  The 26" wide model will fit into a standard sized burial vault, which can save a lot of money. Prices are $395.00 and $495.00 plus tax. Call for more information.

     
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Funeral Resources

 http://www.utahfunerals.org/ a informative Utah based website with the information you need about funerals without the pressure of the funeral home. They are dedicated to help Utah consumers save money on funeral costs. Which they do every day. Also please help this non-profit group with a donation to continue helping others in our state.
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 http://www.funerals.org/  A national organization that protects the consumer from unethical funeral home practices. They have been around since 1963. If it was not for them, you could be paying a lot more for a funeral. They worked with the Federal Trade Commission pass the funeral rules that protect you from most of the unethical practices that funeral homes got away with until 1985 when these laws were passed. If you want to learn about anything to do with funerals and the funeral industry... they are the one to contact. Here is a link to their Funeral information page
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 http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/  This website is the idea of Caitlin Doughty, a mortician in California. Anything you want to know about death and the funeral home... she answers. She and her group also want people to be able to put the dying person and their family back in control of the dying and burial process. Her organization is part of a new movement by younger morticians to make the death process open and not shrouded in secrecy. There are people in the funeral industry who both love what she is doing, and those who hate what she is doing.
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 http://www.calebwilde.com/  
This funeral director has a lot of consumer information, and other aspects of the funeral industry.
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Also visit this web site for a lower cost burial plots. They are located in Magna Utah, and do not require a burial vault, which can save you about $800.00, and a low cost, meaningful, funeral around $1300.00 is possible   http://www.pleasantgreen.net  

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 Directory of Utah cemeteries (There is 304 in Utah) This web page has a listing of cemeterys in the state of Utah. This information will give you an idea of the costs involved for burial.  And depending on the location if there are burial lots available for residents or non residents of the city where the cemetery is located. In areas from Brigham City in the north to Payson City to the south some cemeteries are running out of burial plots. So they are selling to residents only or have other restrictions. Also if you have a burial plot already purchased from a  privately owned funeral home cemetery, you are not required to use their services for a funeral. You can use any other funeral home that you want. In our area we have a funeral home that implies that you must use them for a funeral service. Which you do not have to.

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 www.guardianadvocateservices.com
    This group helps to protect the interests of the elderly. If you are here looking for information on future funeral services for the elderly and if they no family close by or the possibility that family members will take advantage of the elderly  this is a organization you should talk to. They can help to make sure that the wishes of the elderly for a funeral will be honored. Which is only one of the many services they do for Seniors.  


      Some of you reading this might think that I am too hard on funeral directors. And that maybe I  had a bad experience with a funeral home in the past, and want to get even. Actually the last 4 times that I have helped with funeral planning with family members. I have been mostly pleased with the funeral homes we used. But... on the other hand being in this business... I and others in my area(it's not just me) who work in the funeral trade, know what some funeral homes have in the past... and are doing now, AND will continue take advantage of uniformed customers. In your dealings with business wherever you live, you know there are good, bad, and those in between (good with one customer.... but take advantage of the next one) business people. Just because a person works a funeral business does not automatically make them immune to doing something wrong. Or what I see as bending the rules for a profit. Some of the funeral homes who proclaim they follow the highest standards of ethics can still take advantage of the funeral consumer.
 
      This is one business where you the consumer are at a disadvantage. The vast majority of people do not talk about death or  plan ahead for the day they will die. Most people who go to the funeral home have to deal with all the decisions regarding a  pending funeral are also dealing with the emotions of the death, or pending death of a loved one. The funeral director on the other hand has usually years of experience dealing with  grieving customers. And depending on how ethical or unethical, the funeral home is, can... suggest, hard sell, or tell you that you need items or services that will improve the profit line of the funeral home.  At the expense of your wallet.

        So when the day comes that you need to plan or do a funeral, remember... funeral directors ARE businessmen, they are NOT clergy (a bishop or priest). They are in business to sell you their services and/or products. If ALL funeral directors were ethical, you would not be reading this web page, and I and others across the U.S. would not be showing how to save money on a funeral or, selling reasonably priced caskets. Our modern day funeral ($20.7 billion a year) industry offers,or pushes services and products that are not needed, or can be afforded by  Americans.

 http://www.pbs.org/pov/homegoings/economics-of-the-funeral-industry.php
 
 One of the greatest myths perpetuated by some in the funeral industry is:

 " How much you spend on a funeral shows how much you loved your deceased loved one"

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 Funeral tips:
Do not feel guilty if you cannot, or do not want  a funeral with all the extra items that everyone else buys. Grief is a powerful emotion and if not controlled YOU will spend more money than you need to, and... could regret it financially for years to come. A funeral director will sell you what you want. So if you want a expensive funeral to make you feel better, a funeral director will do that.

Another thing you need to realize is that a person who is under stress from a death or pending death. Has the thought process similar to a person who is drunk. The brain does not function very well, under the stress of death/grief. And a person has to make around 72 decisions in 36 hours for the typical funeral. It is a very vulnerable time for the typical funeral consumer.
" We have to get the money while the tears are still flowing"
A funeral director quote Comes to mind.
I have been to many funerals and the most meaningful ones were not the most expensive.  You know the saying... "Keeping up with the Jones's?" They buy a new car, so we need to do it too. Well the same mindset is in funerals too.  Well the neighbors mom died last year and they had a extravagant funeral so we need to do the same. You do not have to do it.
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Print the web pages from the link above, so you can use it for pricing a funeral. It will also be a good item to show the funeral home when talking about prices, services or what they can legally make you pay for .
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 Steps for a getting a reasonably priced funeral

1. Pre-plan your funeral. Don't pre-pay to the funeral home. Decide what items you want for a funeral. Organize it and put it in writing and put the money away in credit union, or bank  Payable On Death account. or Totten trust account.
 http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-is-totten-trrust.html

Or if your in Utah, and you want a reasonable funeral plan, you might want to look at this person's web site.
http://www.utahsfuneralplanningsite.com
Now if your assigned next of kin do not agree or cannot carry out your funeral plans, (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT) just assign a specific person to control the disposition of your remains. This form (Disposition of remains) gives a person you assign the legal right to do a funeral the way you want. And ONLY the funeral. Not a will/trust, or living will. Those are separate legal documents, for end of life decisions and  distribution of a person's assets 

According to the Utah Funeral Consumers Alliance, family members will go to a funeral home and wind up wanting more items for a funeral. Then when the  funeral bill comes some or all of family will not help pay for the funeral. And guess who winds up paying the bill.? The person who signed the funeral contract. This happens to family's all the time, according to the Funeral Consumers Alliance, and it destroys or harms family relationships permanently or for a long time. Here are links to find out more about assigning someone to take care of your body after death:

For the Utah funerals website in the upper right hand corner,click 
on planing ahead. This will take you to a web page that you can print the Utah disposition of remains form.

 http://www.utahfunerals.org/plan-ahead.html 

The Diesmart website has information on disposition of remains for the other states. 

 http://diesmart.com/when-someone-dies/funerals/funeral-agent-preference-laws/

Now if that is not the case, and you are needing the services of a funeral home now then start with #2. Also if the death is sudden do not get pressured by whoever has the body , to get a funeral home immediately. Hospitals, cities, and counties have facilities where they can store the body while you decide on funeral arrangements.
  
2. Set a budget first:  Have a  trusted family member(s) or friend(s) ( unless you have a close knit family, less people involved with funeral planning the better)who can look at this as a business transaction  without the emotional attachment, and if needed... stand up to a aggressive funeral director. This is one thing some funeral home don't like, because a knowledgeable funeral consumer threatens their profit line,Then with this (hopefully assertive) friend/family member get the General Price List for services,caskets, and vaults from more than 1 funeral home. You can also call them on the phone, or use their contact e-mail service for prices, on their websites. Because legally they are required to give you their prices over the phone.

 I have recently learned that some funeral homes in the U.S. have 2 price lists. One for those who buy a casket from them and another higher priced list for those who will be supplying their own casket. This is illegal. I have not heard of any of the funeral homes doing this in our area, but you still need to be informed that this is happening in areas of the U.S. 

Also do not think that just because everyone else in the family used a particular funeral home, you need to do likewise. If you live in a area where there is only 1 local funeral home,  call funeral homes in nearby areas. There are many funeral homes will travel beyond their normal 50-75 mile service area for a small mileage fee.

 The price difference can be over $2,629.00 in savings if you use a funeral home other than the one you have in your town. That's not a made up figure. I talked to a person in central Utah who was quoted $4995.00 if they provided the $995.00 casket. For a total of $5990.00  So I decided to see what the true costs would be.

 A funeral home in Provo that is 112 miles away charges $2,770 total for itemized services. They will also need to travel 62 miles beyond their normal service area. So down and back twice to pick up the body and take it back for funeral service, at $2.00 per extra mile or $496.00. Then a casket, $995.00. Using a out of town funeral home costs $3361.00, or a $2,629.00 savings, verses the $5,990.00 local funeral home. So it really pays to shop around for funeral services.

 Here is the web page for the Utah Funeral Directors Association. so you can look at other funeral home options. Some of the funeral homes listed do have a price list for you to look at.
http://www.ufda.org/funeral_homes.php.
3. Deciding/shopping for a funeral home:  Take this advice from a funeral director who I have great respect for.
 http://www.calebwilde.com/2014/01/when-you-should-fire-your-funeral-home/
http://www.calebwilde.com/category/death/funeral-directing/consumer-rights/
You should take the same trusted family member or friend and look very carefully at the General Price Lists from the funeral homes. Does the funeral home you might use have accurate, itemized price information? Or does the price list look confusing? If so look at other funeral home(s) price lists.  Remember, legally you do not have to buy all their services, you can pick and choose what services you want. The only required fee that you need to pay is:  The basic services of funeral director and staff,  and in northern Utah this fee is anywhere from around $655 to  $3,650. Some funeral homes are increasing this fee because it is non-declinable. So is this service fee high in comparison to other funeral homes you are considering? Also watch out for  package deals (more info. below). These items usually have other extra services that will cost you more.

 When you start discussing how you are going to pay for the funeral, and  if you have a life insurance policy... DO NOT give the amount of the policy. Sometimes the final cost of the funeral will  magically be the exact amount (a true story from a number of people I've talked with) of the insurance policy. Also if the funeral home tells you a service is required by law, ask them to show you in writing which  law requires it. A verbal statement does not mean anything. Some funeral directors will get upset if you disagree with what they are telling you. Even telling you that you need to do a funeral service their way. But YOU are the one in charge of the funeral service. NOT the funeral director.

 If you feel uneasy with the way the funeral home is treating you GO TO another funeral home. And that also applies if they have your loved ones body at the funeral home. A few years ago one person did that, and the funeral home refused to release the body to another local funeral home. That is until this family along with the funeral home they chose, called the police. YOU do have the legal power to decide who will take care of your deceased family member. Be aware that some funeral homes will charge you if they pick up the body and you change your mind. So know what you want regarding a funeral home.


  4.Caskets: In this area I have a business interest, because I make caskets...so If you decide to use a casket from someone else, ether me, another casket maker or yourself  to save money,  funeral homes cannot not charge you more for their services if you provide your own casket. If you want to use a  metal casket from the funeral home, don't believe the 16 gauge thickness verses the 20 gauge thickness casket sales pitch the funeral director will give to you. I use to work in the sheet metal trade. A  20 gauge casket will work just as well as the   16 gauge casket. The only difference will be the more expensive casket price.


5. Embalming:  This is a money making item. Why? Because if you decide to use embalming, you will more likely spend more money $$$ on other related funeral items.  The U.S. and Canada are the only two country's that push the use of embalming. And there is a toxic problem with embalming a body. Embalming fluid has formaldehyde... a known carcinogen, and methanol, which is neurotoxic to animals. These and other chemicals in embalming fluid are creating toxic environments in and around cemeteries. 

 No state law requires embalming. All funeral homes are required to have refrigeration. If you have a direct burial, cremation or closed casket service you do not need embalming. You can also have a private viewing without this service. You can even have a public viewing without embalming if you want, but  funeral homes will try to talk you out of it. If you want to find out about the need for embalming, talk to someone who has done a home funeral.
 http://www.homefuneralalliance.org/.
 They use other methods to allow the viewing the deceased that does not involve embalming.  Which is the use of dry ice or ice packs placed in certain areas of the body to keep the body cold. A few funeral homes in our area will do this for you if you want it.

6. The cemetery: Finding a burial plot is another headache you will need to do at the funeral home. If you did not purchase one before the death of a family member. Try to find a cemetery that is run by a city or county. They will always be less than one that the funeral home has financial ties with or a private for profit cemetery. The cost of a cemetery plot with the digging out of the ground for the casket, can be around $1,500 or more. Also see at the bottom of this blog for headstones, Also If you have a burial plot already purchased from a privately owned funeral home. For example in our area we have Myers, Levett's, and Lindquist mortuary's who have their own cemeteries. Some funeral homes will imply that you must use their funeral home in order to have a loved one buried in their cemetery. Which is not true. You can use any funeral home that you want. I contacted a funeral director. Who confirms this shady practice, by some funeral homes.
 


    Other funeral information:

     A casket or coffin(a casket is 4 sides a coffin is 6 sided) is designed to just hold the remains of a body. And how that is done can be inexpensive or very expensive. The casket has to fit inside a burial vault, with at least 1/2 inch of space between the widest outside dimension of the casket and the inside dimensions of the vault. So a casket size of 28 inches wide by 88 inches long outside measurements will fit into a burial vault that is 29 inches wide by 89 inches long. The extra 1/2 inch on each side is needed to remove the ropes that lower the casket into the burial vault.
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    Vaults
    This is one cost that you cannot get out (unless the cemetery does not require one) of because a vault or burial liner is required by most cemetery's. The only way you can save money on this item if it is required by the cemetery is to use the most inexpensive burial vault or liner that is offered. Do not believe that the sealed vault is better than a simple vault. (See the quote from a cemetery director below)  In some areas of Utah  some funeral directors will not do business with burial vault company's if they sell direct to the public.  If this is happening to you,  check with the cemetery you are using to see if they sell burial vaults to the public. Also some of the new plastic vaults that are being used can save you some money. They will work just as well as the concrete vaults and they are lightweight and can be moved by 2 people. Unlike the concrete vaults that need to be put in the ground with a crane.
    http://www.ateammasters.com/liners.html 
    Along the Wasatch front in Utah there is only one cemetery that I know of that does not require a burial vault, and that is Pleasant Green Cemetery in the Salt Lake Valley. Which could save you at least $800. There are also some rural cemetery's that do not require vaults. Burial vaults come in three sizes here in northern Utah: standard which is 29- 1/2 inches wide. Mid size which is 34 inches wide, and large which is 42 inches wide.


    .

    Casket materials:
    The materials to make caskets are metals (steel, brass, copper, stainless steel) wood (softwood pine, domestic hardwoods, and expensive imported hardwoods) and fabric(usually a body shroud). You might be surprised to learn that some of the so called hardwood caskets are built with a inner plywood core with a thin hardwood veneer on the outside, on most of the casket. 
     
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    Casket/burial vault sealers and other accessory's:

    A casket sealer is a rubber or neoprene gasket that is placed into the lid of the casket/burial vault to supposedly help keep out water, dirt or insects. from getting into the casket interior.  This gasket costs less than $10.00 but can cost you up to $800.00 extra depending on where you live. All funeral homes offer sealer caskets and vaults for a much higher cost, compared to the caskets and vaults that do not have a sealer or gasket. Yet the consumer buys into this  thinking that their deceased family member will be protected forever in a sealed casket.  If you look at a funeral home price list  on the same page as the casket and burial vault prices, there is a disclaimer on any warranties of the vaults and caskets. Yet they will add words like high impact, and heavy duty sealer to make you think it is a superior product, while stating that a less costly burial liner is non- protective to get you to purchase a more expensive product. Save yourself some money and  use a regular casket and a grave liner or vault.

    Here is a actual quote from a Utah cemetery manager about burial vaults.

     "If you do opt to purchase a vault, DO NOT PURCHASE A SEALER VAULT!!
    Sealer vaults are sold as weather proof encasement's that will preserve the body indefinitely. This is not true. Trust us! We have watched many of them go into the ground, and have vast experience in the ultimate results.

    A sealer vault will fail in one of two important ways. The first common way that they fail is that the seal will do exactly what it is designed to do. It will hold, which keeps moisture from getting into the vault. Unfortunately this seal works both ways. In addition to keeping moisture out, it will also keep the moisture from the body in. As a result, the body cannot dry out. Instead it will putrefy and turn into liquid. Far more often though, the seal fails. The seal is nothing more than a bit of weather striping put around the vault lid a few minutes before the vault company puts the lid in place. This cheap stripping folds easily, or becomes caught up as the machinery places the vault lid on. In these cases, the vaults fill up with rain water, leaving your loved one completely immersed. A normal (non-sealer) vault has holes drilled in the bottom to allow rain water to drain out."



    Pre- need  funeral contracts:
    I could write pages on this complicated part of the funeral industry. In our state of  Utah, money from some of  these funeral plans goes into a trust fund. Which is operated by a large insurance company back east, and.... where the money plus the interest that has grown can only be used for a funeral.

     There is one funeral home that does not have to do this because they set up the pre-need plan as a life insurance plan. So besides paying monthly interest on a pre-need plan, ($$) the funeral home makes more money by investing it, ($$$) and the person paying this type of pre-need plan does not,get any accrued interest off their money. This type of plan is a huge rip off for the Utah consumer. A number of Utah people who work in the funeral industry do not like this funeral plan, because it benefits the funeral home more than the funeral consumer.

    I've only come across one low cost plan that is sold in Utah that is worth looking at. Because the pre-need sales person running it is more concerned about saving the consumer money than making a high commission. And he does not work for a funeral home.
    With some of the plans being sold by funeral homes in our state. A single $7,000.00 funeral plan can cost the consumer over $15,000.00 if they are paying monthly for 10 years.  I don't know of anyone who can pay for a pre-need plan in one payment. On top of that, some funeral homes will add illegal funeral surcharges if you are getting money back from a pre-need plan. For a example: A family member bought a $15,000.00 pre-need plan for a funeral. But the surviving spouse decided to do a direct cremation. The funeral home, by Utah law must refund the  money not used to the family.
     
      The state or federal controls on these Pre-need funeral plans is spotty. Some states have good control, and other states, it's buyer beware. Check these links out. Or Google  underfunded funeral plans, because news stories wind up being taken off the internet. These links below still have information on pre-need abuses. But I would recommend you study and search in your state for pre-need funeral plan abuse, before deciding to purchase a pre-need funeral plan. It might give you a idea of how well your state does or does not regulate and protect consumers with their money.
    New 4/2015 funeral ponzi scheme
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/worry-replaces-security-of-prepaid-funeral-plans-o06sgqf-169928096.html

    https://www.funerals.org/angieslistfca/
    http://online.wsj.com/article
    West Virginia funeral home Pre need fraud 
    Funeral pre need abuse
     Utah pre-need funeral plan abuse
    Hawaii pre-need plan problems
    Here is a article from money expert Dave Ramsey, who say's that prepay funeral plans are not a smart idea.
    http://www.daveramsey.com/index.cfm?event=askdave/&intContentItemId=10041
    http://www.daveramsey.com/index.cfm?event=askdave/&intContentItemId=127737

    Utah pre-need summary by AARP


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    Funeral Hearse cost saving ideas.



    There are other options for transporting a casket other than the funeral home if you are looking to save money on funeral costs. In the past families who purchased a casket from me would transport the casket and body in the back of a van, station wagon, or truck. But one family had a great idea, and you can use it too. They originally wanted to use a Funeral Hearse to transport the casket.



    The distance from the funeral home to the cemetery, was under 2 miles. The cost was $1400.00. They needed to save money, and their idea was to rent a mini van with the stow and go fold down seats, and transport the casket without the use of the funeral home. Total cost... $55.00 for a 24 hour rental.
     

    There is not too much difference between the two vehicles... except for the cost to rent. A $1345.00 difference.
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      Obituarys
      Putting a obituary in the local paper or papers can be very expensive. If you cannot afford a obituary. You are not required by law to do one. You can save money by having a  small obituary, a death notice, or a more inclusive obituary placed at one or more of the internet social media sites, such as Facebook  by family members. This does not include a notice for probate or wills. Doing a funeral is complex enough. But the legal items with a deceased person is worse. Talk with a lawyer if the assets of the deceased are large. 
      Here is a inexpensive online obituary service.
      http://obitsutah.pcobits.com/index.php  
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      Package deals:
      These are  funeral services  that are bundled together to supposedly save you money... if you buy a more expensive casket from the funeral home.  They range from $250.00 to $1,100.00 More funeral homes in Utah have gone to offering package deals, to keep families from buying caskets from companies other than them. But you need to realize that when they show you package deals. You will be shown, a low priced option, a  mid priced option, and a high priced option. The vast amount of people will choose the mid-priced option. It's known as upping the middle.

       Sales studies have shown time and time again that given three price options, (low, medium, high), people pick the middle one. So people still wind up paying more, than they need to. If you noticed the extra $1,100.00 price tag above. That price came from a rural funeral home in Utah, who wanted to prevent a family from supping their own casket.

       Carefully add up all the itemized selections you need for a funeral from the funeral home's price list. The vast majority will still be more expensive, than paying for itemized services and providing your own casket.
      •  
        The least expensive funeral options
         I have been asked "What's the least expensive funeral option?" many times. And that depends on how much you are willing to do yourself. Because the more you do for a funeral, the less you will pay. Here are the options from least expensive to most expensive:
        1. Home funeral.
        2. Simple cremation.
        3. Direct burial.
        5. Forwarding of remains. (1)
        6. Conventional funeral. Cremation/burial.

        1. Forwarding of remains, or Amish funeral. This is where you have the funeral home prepare the deceased, put them in a casket, and you take care of the rest, which is transportation to a viewing and or cemetery. Back east the Amish do their funerals this way. It saves them a considerable amount of money.  In most states the law allows you to act as the funeral director of your deceased if you want to. 
        This option can save you the most money ( other than home funeral or direct burial)if you want to have a viewing and service before burial. The most expensive funeral home listed for Northern Utah charges only $1,795 for forwarding of remains, verses $5,295 if they do everything. 



        Traditional or conventional funeral service.
        What is the difference?? 
         When a funeral home uses the word tradition, for a funeral service, what comes to your mind?  Well I guess funerals have always been done this way, you might say.  For thousands of years families have taken care of their dead. Up until the early part of the last century, if there was a death.  The family would prepare the deceased. Someone in the local area would build a casket. Some of the women would help the family with the preparation of the body.  A few men from the local church would dig the grave.  And everyone would come from around the area to the home  where the deceased lived, to pay there respects.  That was a traditional funeral.  What our funeral industry does today is a conventional funeral. The two are totally different.  And priced a lot differently.
        •  

        All's fair in love and war and business.
        When I first got into this business. I naively thought that I would help funeral homes with the people who could not afford a funeral. My inexpensive caskets and the funeral home would help the family with the items they needed for a simple inexpensively as possible funeral. What I learned in that first year was not what the funeral industry would want you to believe. Funeral homes wanted to hold on to every last penny. Some so called upstanding funeral homes have tried a lot of different unethical tactics to talk customers out of using a casket from someone other than them. I have become a little cynical with  some funeral homes. There are those who I trust, and I know they will what's right. But there are those who I do not trust. 

        So if you are in a funeral home discussing a funeral and you might want to use one of my caskets, or one from someone other than the funeral home  And you are getting the sales pitch about the quality of a third party casket,(we won't be responsible if the bottom falls out, or these handles will fall off! These 2 statements were used on customers) or you are being pressured into buying the funeral home's one price funeral and casket package deal. Talk to me not just a funeral director.  Get the full story not just from one side, then you decide for yourself. Remember you decide what type of the funeral to have, not the funeral director.
        •  


        Here are five ways — and some cliche lines — funeral directors use to manipulate their customers into upsells: 
         This information from Calebwilde.com a sixth generation funeral director.


        Creating false and/or unsubstantiated expectations:
        If you buy this vault, your husband will be protected for ALL ETERNITY.
        Buying this casket will ensure that your son will stay in perfect shape for the next hundred years.
        Guilt Trip.
        I’m sure he was the best dad ever.  He certainly deserves the best casket.
        I wouldn’t put my dog in that vault.
        You may not have been able to provide the best stuff for your son in life, but you can give him the best in death.
        Emotional Manipulation.
        I hate the thought of worms eating my loved one’s flesh, which is why this sealer vault gives me peace of mind.
        Can you put a price on your peace of mind?
        Religious Persuasion.
        Jesus Christ had a sealer tomb.
        Insects, mice, nothing can get into this casket except the Lord Jesus Christ on Resurrection Day.
        Aggressive Sales Tactics.
        THIS is the casket you need.
        I KNEW your father and I KNOW that your father would want this vault.

        You don’t want a CHEAP casket.  Do you?


        •  
        The funeral industry's answer to a change in consumer funeral spending.
            The National Funeral Directors Association has been  pushing "The talk of a lifetime" in response to changing consumer spending. Instead of looking for ways to help families save money on funerals. They want to keep funerals and their high costs the same. Who is to decide what type of a funeral service is to be? If grandma wanted a simple pine box and funeral, as stated in the above letter, shouldn't that request be honored?? A  deceased family member can still be remembered with the same dignity, sacredness and honor at a memorial service by surviving family members after a  simple burial  or cremation in a setting other than the funeral home. This  campaign help educate the funeral consumer about the "so called" proper way to remember someone. Is nothing more than a attempt to get the funeral consumer to keep paying for the same ever increasing high priced funeral. The funeral industry will be forced to offer less expensive options, or people will not use their services. One of the biggest threats to the big established funeral homes that have been around for years, are the new generation of funeral directors who are starting their funeral homes without the high cost of a traditional funeral home. They set up their business in a industrial park, and bring the funeral service to the home, church or civic center. Their costs are 1/2 of the bigger funeral homes. And here in Utah they can found in most parts of the state.
        •  

        Cremation, will it save you money??

        I have had many people over the years tell me that they will just be cremated to save their family from spending too much money for a funeral. And I always answer "Will that be the $795.00 cremation or the $5,800.00 cremation". You see funeral directors know the public is using cremation more each year. At this point it is around 23% in Utah. The funeral director will want to charge you the same, whether you use cremation or burial. If you look at the Funeral Home price list I have posted above. Look at the  category:

        Cremation with conventional service,

         For six funeral homes it is more for cremation, than burial. And those prices do not always include the  cremation urn they will want to sell you, and with some funeral homes the burial plot for that cremation urn too. The only savings you will get is not paying for a casket and  burial plot in the cemetery. So what's a family to do to save money if cremation is your choice? You still need to comparison shop the various funeral homes, just like if you were going to do a burial service. The least expensive option is to do a direct cremation, and have a memorial service done by you or your family to remember the life of a loved one afterwards, in a home, church, park. or civic center. Also with some funeral homes the price for cremation is a extra cost. You should read this  recent article on this deceptive practice by funeral homes.
        https://www.funerals.org/cremation-sold-separately/
        •  

        True story and one reason why I do this blog.
         I was in line the other day getting ready to vote at my local city offices, when a lady asked," Are you that casket guy?" Which I replied yes. She then said "I need to give you a hug." And started to cry. She then told me her story. The last time  we talked was at the same city offices for voting. She and her husband, who were helping with voting were listening in on a conversation I was having with someone about funerals and how to save money on them. They then asked me a lot of questions  about funerals and how they could save money when it was their time to die. We talked for awhile, and then parted company. She then told me her husband died  shortly afterwards. The information that she learned from me that day was critical to her in being able to make the right financial decisions for her husband's funeral. Her funeral costs were under $4,500, which is about half the cost of the average funeral, in my area. Her story needs to be repeated for others who will eventually have this happen to them. A good number of funeral homes across the U.S. want you to be UNIFORMED. They do not want you to comparison shop. They want to keep you in the dark on prices. For example in your area. Look on the internet for your local funeral homes. They will have plenty of information about planning for a funeral, and information on dealing with grief, loss, ect. ect. ect. But NO information about their prices. Or as one funeral home in my area states on their web page about costs, "Don't worry we'll take care of everything".

        •  
        Here is a short(but true) funny video about the funeral industry. I try to be sensitive to people who have lost loved ones recently. If you are sensitive about funerals this, don't watch. 
        Funeral Parody by Adam ruins everything. 
        •  

        The 3 types of funeral homes in Utah.

        I put  Utah funeral homes into 3 categories.
        The first category is the funeral homes that have large buildings to run their funeral business. Some have been around since the pioneer era, and some recently have started up. They can provide just about anything for a funeral, some can even provide babysitting for little ones. But it comes at a much higher$$$ cost. In some areas of Utah these funeral home owners  in years  passed got together and formed a cartel to keep prices higher.  Funeral home A would charge the same as funeral home B, or C or D. Thus each funeral home would share equally in the limited funeral market.

        The 2nd type of funeral home in Utah is the funeral home that is run out of a small building. Usually in a business park. Some of these funeral homes were started because new funeral directors could not advance in the family business, or did not like the way business was done, or wanted their own business. These funeral homes are the biggest threat to the established funeral homes because they do not have the overhead of the larger funeral home. So their funeral costs are much$$$ less than the 1st category of funeral home. They are typically more flexible with families that want to do a different type of funeral.

        The 3rd category of funeral home, is the funeral home that is bought  out by a large Wall Street corporation, S.C.I. or Dignity Memorial. They will buy a funeral home in a area, and will keep the name of the former funeral home, but increase the cost of the funeral home substantially. they usually are the most expensive in the area. In Utah they are located in the Salt Lake county area. In Riverton UT, West Valley UT, and Salt Lake city, And according to the National Funeral Consumer Alliance watchdog group, this 3rd category of funeral home is responsible for a vast majority of consumer funeral complaints.  



         Keeping the casket prices inflated
         I learn quite a bit of information when talking with funeral directors about the funeral business, when I go to a funeral. I have found a funeral director that is very open about what abuses go on with some funeral homes. This abuse involves casket styles. One of the largest casket companies in the U.S. makes a very affordable line of caskets. They look very much like their higher priced versions. Just less expensive. If the average consumer looked at them in the funeral home casket show room. They would purchase them. And this is why some funeral homes do not sell them. They will have the ugly colored low cost casket, as the showroom example. Thus forcing the consumer to buy the higher priced casket.

        So, before going to a funeral home to look at caskets. Call the funeral home to find out, what caskets, from the various casket companies do they sell. Then go to the websites of the casket manufactures to see the complete up to date line of casket styles. Then when visiting a funeral home after doing this, you will not be as likely to be pushed to a higher priced casket. All casket manufactures can have the lower priced versions shipped within a day or two. If the funeral director says otherwise, go find another funeral home .


        Headstones
        I neglected this item, until someone asked me. The cost of a headstone is another high cost item. Around $1,400.00. But you can save quite a bit of money if you shop the internet. I could write more, but this web page below can tell you best. Also some Cemeteries will allow you to place the headstone on the  grave as long as you install it to their requirements. You could save a considerable amount  of money by purchasing a headstone on the internet and installing it yourself.
        http://www.everlifememorials.com/v/headstones/regulations-cemetery-headstones.htm  

        A different type of funeral. 
        I have suggested this to a few families.
         Writing goodby notes or putting hand prints from their children, grandchildren, and or loved ones on the casket. This has made for some very special funerals. Doing this is especially helpful to youth and children. The love that is expressed in writing benefits not only the person writing it, but those who read it afterwards. At this point 7 families have done this. And for those who contacted me afterwards. They have said it was a special time and feeling at their loved ones service. 

        •  
        Hospice, anticipating death, and D.N.R. (do not resuscitate)  
        I had a conversation with a few paramedic firefighters about death. Because they asked what I did for a job. Which I told them was building caskets. They told me some interesting items, that I felt should be included in my blog, even if it does not directly concern caskets or dealing with funeral homes.
         The paramedics stated that even with a families that have a loved one on hospice care, and death is imminent. Families will call 911 if there is no support there at the time of death, such as the hospice nurse or medical people. One of the paramedics just said, "quote,
         people just loose it, at the time of death." This causes problems   with this course of action.
         The first thing is that paramedics must perform life saving treatments on the person who has died, even though it will not help. State or local laws require them do so. The only way they do not need to do this if the hospice patient has ether a medical (D.N.R.) do not resuscitator bracelet, or legally signed D.N.R. doctor's form on hand. 
         The second problem is resources. These paramedics get calls for help, from other people, but cannot leave until the current person is stabilized, or in the case of a person who has died in hospice care is declared dead. The paramedics  recommendation is to have someone who can take charge and only contact the hospice workers... if people start to "lose it." Someone needs to get the family to THINK clearly. 
         The only way to stop this calling of emergency paramedics is to PLAN for the day this will happen. Family members need to have open communication, and expectations, with hospice workers, the family caregiver, and among family members, who will be present at the death of the hospice patient. A good pamphlet that most hospice workers have, and should be required reading for families who will have a loved one in hospice care is . Gone from my sight. By Barbra Karnes. Who is a hospice nurse with decades of experience. She explains clearly the death process. If you know what to expect at death, you will not need to call 911 for help



        30%
        That is the amount of money on average people save when they pre plan their funeral instead of having family members do it for them when they die. This was told to me by a funeral director. That's a big chunk of money. When you are prepared you will not spend more than you need to for a funeral.