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Frequently Asked Questions and How to Save $3000-$5000 on your funeral


1) How quickly can you get a casket to me?We can usually get a casket to you in 6-8 hours by airplane.  We use 8 major airlines leaving out of DFW Airport (Dallas, Texas) to deliver it to an airport near you and then we get a hot-shot courier to pick it up from the airport and drop it off directly to the funeral home of your choice.  DFW Airport has direct flights to over 160 USA airports.

2) What is the basic procedure to buy a casket from you?
Call us and give us a payment type and we will ship the casket out today to the funeral home of your choice.  We will need to know the zip code of the funeral home so that we can calculate the extra cost of our expedited shipping if it is necessary.  The whole time on the phone is less than 10 minutes.  Easy

3) What payment types do you accept?
We accept Credit cards or Debit cards, Master Card, Visa or Discover (no American Express).  You can also wire the money from your bank to us which usually takes about 2 hours or for those wanting to pay cash you can go to you're nearest Western Union where you can send the money to us for a $12.95 fee and we will receive the payment in 4 minutes and ship your casket out immediately.  Call us for more information on how to send money by Western Union or our bank wire information.

4) MOST IMPORTANT ITEM: If I agree to buy your casket and then my family members do not agree to buy it from you, then what?
Typically someone in the family becomes the decision maker in regard to the whole funeral service.  They decide what funeral home and where they will buy the casket.  Unfortunately what is the most common practice is to go to the closest funeral home while the tears are still fresh and buy everything without regard to price.  Every funeral home loves this.  If you find our web site interesting, this is what you should do below:

Step 1: Read all of the notes on these pages in regard to strategies to save money.

Step 2: Call us to get the final price on the casket, the time when you will receive it and also ask any other additional questions that you may have.

Step 3: Talk to the decision maker in your family about our web site and have them read these pages of suggestions.  The negotiating tactics will still save you thousands even if you do not decide to buy from us.  This decision maker has already stepped forward to assume responsibility for handling this and they typically take the easiest and most expensive way by going to the nearest funeral home.  This is a financial disaster.  It is equivalent to going to buy a car and the car dealer knows that you have to buy the car from him? What is the suggested retail price? It is whatever he tells you it is.  What is a normal price? Talk about being vulnerable.  It is every car salesman's dream but typically that is the normal case with all funeral services.

Step 4: Have the decision maker call us to ask additional questions.  Help them to think that this is their decision to buy online.  Some decision makers will not do anything suggested by someone else purely because it is not their idea.  One good example is my wife.  She has to think that it is her idea or we will not do it.  Anyway, stay focused; the idea here is to spend $3000 on the funeral and not $7000.  Unfortunately the politics can get in the way.

Step 5: Shop around as stated below with different funeral homes starting with the furthest away.  Get itemized lists from each one.  Notice how one charges $200 for the limo service, others $100, others free.  What is the suggested list price? There isn't one.  It is whatever they think you will pay or what the life insurance is for.

5) How is the casket protected from shipping damage when you order from us?
The casket is shipped in the cargo compartment of the passenger airplanes.  The casket is loaded in first and then the passenger luggage is loaded on and around it.  On some planes, the casket can take up as much as 25% of the cargo space in the plane.  The casket has large, 3-inch thick Styrofoam caps that completely cover the ends of the casket and then a cardboard box is placed over the top of the whole casket.  There is roughly 3 inches between the outer box and the inner casket so if the box is ruffled on the outside, the casket will not be scratched or dented 3 inches below the box surface.  We never have damage to our caskets during shipping although sometimes the outer box is scratched up which has nothing to do with the casket 3 inches below.  After it gets to the airport the hot-shot courier typically picks up your casket and delivers it directly to the funeral home.  We will call you to notify you that the casket has been delivered.

6) Should I mention to the funeral home that I will be buying a casket from you?
Do not mention to the funeral home initially that you will be buying the casket from us because they will simply add the extra $3000 to $3500 that you were going to save to the other services so that the total funeral cost still comes up to the same.  First get the itemized list (limo, body preparation, chapel, etc.) of prices and the casket (which is required by the Federal Trade Commission to be listed) has to be shown as a separate item.  After you have checked pricing at several funeral homes, then tell the funeral home that you will be purchasing a casket from us.  They cannot charge you for receiving the casket and must receive it.  See below on the total strategy.  You must tell the funeral home that we will be shipping a casket to them.  You can report the funeral home to the Federal Trade Commission online or by calling them if they do not give you an itemized list .

7) Do you sell to the funeral homes?
We sell directly to over 800 funeral homes now.  They all want to save money also.  Their cost is typically a little less than yours because they usually buy 5 to 10 at a time and 50 to 100 per year.

8) Can you direct me to a local funeral home that might be selling your caskets now?
No, these funeral homes typically buy 50 caskets from us per year and they sell the metal caskets for an average price of $4500.  They get angry when you can buy our caskets online for $995 while they are charging you $4500.  I do not want to anger these big customers of mine.  Some of them have forced us to stop selling to their area to keep their business.  
9) Do we have a selection of interchangeable head panels?
Yes we do.  We have the praying hands (shown in model 2058), the flying seagulls (shown in model 2022 and 2036) and we have the folded design (shown in model 2024 and 2076).  The separate head panels simply fit into the inside top to cover the existing head panel.  What is the cost? They are $30 extra.  Funeral homes charge $100 or $200 extra for these.

10) How does the lock work?
The caskets come with a 5-inch Allen wrench with a handle on it.  You must unscrew a bolt that is in the end of the casket, insert the Allen wrench in the hole and turn it counter-clockwise to open.  After 4 or 5 turns, the casket is unlocked and you can raise the cover.  All funeral homes will have these Allen wrenches on hand to open the caskets.

11) What is the difference between a half couch and full couch casket?
We sell 90% half couch caskets and 10% full couch caskets.  With half couch caskets, both halves independently open up but during viewing or visitation, only the left half is opened up to display the upper part of the body.  With full couch caskets, the top is just one piece and the full length of the body is viewed during visitation.

12) How long can the body be kept at the funeral home?
Typically the funeral home has refrigeration to help preserve the body past 30 days if necessary.  Most people have visitation 2 to7 days after the actual death.  Of course we can get the casket to you in 6 to 8 hours if needed so time is not an issue.

13) When do I get Free Shipping?
We can ship the casket to you for free using a few different trucking companies.  If you are preplanning, this ground shipping is ideal.  The problem comes in when the person is in hospice and we ship the casket using a trucking company and you get the casket 5 to 12 days later and they pass away in 2 days.  Actually, this trucking option rarely works when you need or may need the casket quickly.  If the person is in hospice or has already passed, we recommend using the expedited 1 or 2 day shipping which costs more to get it to you quickly because we have to use commercial airplanes and hot-shot courier services to go directly to the funeral home.

14) Do we charge Sales Tax?
We have to charge sales tax if you are in Texas.  Your local funeral home in your state will charge you the normal local sales tax if you buy the casket from them.  For example, if their casket price is $4500, you will also have to pay an extra $315 to $360 extra just in sales tax to the funeral home.  If you do not live in Texas, you will never have to pay sales tax on our caskets.

15) Can we pick up the casket at your warehouse in Dallas, Texas?
Yes you can, with no extra pickup or shipping fee.
16) Will you ship the casket outside of the country?
Not at this time, but we will probably ship to Canada soon for a small extra fee.  

17) Will you ship to Alaska or Hawaii?
We do ship to Hawaii and Alaska but of course the shipping will cost more but the procedure is the same.  Dallas, being one of the biggest airports in the USA, has direct flights to both Alaska and Hawaii.

18) How will I know if I will need an oversized casket?
We have a staff of 30 people.  Only two are big enough to need an oversized casket because they are 25" wide at their widest point.  Simply measure the person at their widest point to tell if they will need an oversized casket or not.  Our normal caskets have an inside width of 23.5 inches and are 79" long (6 foot 7 inches).  Normal guys that are 6 foot tall and 240 pounds can easily fit in a normal casket.  The two people in our office that are 25 inches wide and require the oversized casket are: Lady 5 foot 3 inches and 330 pounds and a man 6 foot 3 inches and 300 pounds; both fit in the oversized casket.  As a funeral home said, it the guy is over 6 feet 7 inches tall, they make him fit, so height is not a problem.  The oversized caskets are 27.5" wide inside.   If the person is wider than 27.5", then they will not fit in our caskets.   Often the funeral director will say that they need a 28" casket, that is because theirs are normally 24" or 28' wide, so usually the person will fit in ours if they need a 28" casket.   Ask how wide the person is.

19) What is the memory tube?
The memory tube is a small glass tube 1/2 inch in diameter and about 3 inches long that screws into the end of the casket.  The funeral home puts the person's identity in there.  The funeral home uses this to up-sell the customer.  They say if there should be a flood and the casket comes up, we can identify the body without having to open the casket.  Scary thought, so you pay the extra money.  Anyway, ALL of our caskets come with the memory tube.

20) Do you have wood caskets?
Yes, we have the lowest prices in the country on 18 and 20 gauge caskets, stainless steel and wood caskets.  All of our wood caskets are SOLID wood.  Other people have MDF, which is a thin 1/200th of an inch thick layer of wood over top of particle board.

21) Will your regular sized and oversized caskets fit a standard sized vault?
Yes, all will.

22) Do we sell vaults?
Not at this time.   Often I hear that the vaults cost $450 to $650.

23) What comes with a casket?
Everything you see in the picture including the pillow, Allen wrench for unlocking it, lining (sealer) and memory tube.

24) What is the difference between 18-gauge and 20-gauge caskets?
Actually 18 Gauge is about 30% thicker metal than the 20 gauge caskets.  Obviously the thicker caskets cost more.  Does it really matter? Not really.  Your car is around 18-gauge metal.  20-gauge is about the thickness of your license plate.  Our 18-gauge caskets weigh 210 pounds and our 20-gauge caskets weigh 180 pounds.  We sell mostly the thicker 18-gauge.  
25) What if we are preplanning or the person is in hospice? Can you store it for us?
Currently we will not store your casket.  You pay us and we will ship it to your residence or to the funeral home.  The funeral home is required to accept our casket only if someone has already died.  They are not required to accept the casket if no one has died and they do not want to make it easy for you.  They will typically say, "We do not have the room for the casket".  Of course you do not believe this, but now you know why they say this.  When you have decided on a funeral home and they have given you all the prices, you can say " I will give you my business, but you have to store my casket until I need it (if they are going to pass soon)".  Otherwise you will have to keep the casket in your garage.  We ship many caskets to people now that are preplanning and keeping them in their garage.  Their main objective is being prepared and saving money.  Your choice.

26) What are your hours?
We will be happy take your phone calls from 8am-9pm Monday-Friday and 9am-9pm on Saturday and Sunday.  We make 4 to 5 trips to the airport each day (7 days per week) with our 24-foot box truck to ensure that your casket is on its way as soon as possible.  

27) How much extra is the expedited shipping if I need it?
If you live 50 miles within a major metropolitan area's airport, then we usually can ship it to you expedited for an extra $300 to $350.  If you live outside that 50-mile radius of the airport, our extra shipping fee is usually $250 to $300 plus $2.20/mile (your distance from the airport).  Sometimes, depending on the airport, we have some cheaper options.  

28) Can I pick up the casket from the airport myself to save money?
Yes, you can pick up the casket with a cargo van or pickup truck (make sure you bring ample tie straps) and then your cost is only the $250 to $350 to get it to the airport.  The funeral home could easily pick it up, but they won't because they are not making any money on the casket and they do not want to make it too easy for you.  

29) Will the funeral home be upset if I do not buy their $4500 metal casket?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wanted to give consumers a choice of where to buy your casket realizing that the funeral home has a virtual monopoly now on the whole business.  Now the funeral home is required to give you an itemized list over the phone and in person including a separate line item for the casket.  You can then choose to remove any item including the $4500 steel casket from the list and buy the casket (our $995 sealed and lockable steel casket) from us.  They have to give you an itemized list but they also can offer Package pricing to include a particular casket.  It is illegal for them to only offer package pricing or to not accept a casket from another supplier.  Again, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission or tell all of the elders at the church.

30) Are your caskets Sealers (have rubber gaskets) or do they have locks?
All of our metal caskets are sealers and have locks.  Often the funeral home will have the ugliest casket that you have ever seen that is solid battleship gray or solid olive green, not lockable, and not sealers to discourage you from buying them and still sell them at a $1000 to $1800 price, then they try to up-sell you to caskets like ours that are two-tone, thicker 18-gauge, rounded corners, sealers, memory tube and lockable for and average price of $4500.  Remember that they are a business with a virtual monopoly (especially when they have the body) and like any business it is their job to make as much money as possible.  One funeral home told me that it is important to get them in as quickly as possible when the tears are still flowing.  This is when it is much easier to get a big check.  When there is less grieving, people are less likely to throw their money away.  Below are some of the lines that you might hear from the funeral home:
a) Would't you want your father to see your mom looking her best?
b) Of course you would want a sealed casket wouldn't you?
c) That online seller sells used caskets.  That is why his price is cheaper.
d) That online seller is selling dented caskets
e) Did the deceased have an insurance policy and for how much?
f) People fall out of the bottom on those online caskets.
Call us to tell us other tricks that they tell you.   Please remember to spread the word in your church or senior center as to all the tricks that your local funeral home pulled on you.   It is unbelievable.   The only chance you have against them is the fear that you will tell 50 other people not to have their loved one's funeral there.   If they fooled you or tried, tell everyone.   Get even.

31) Why is the funeral home charging me $7,100 for an average funeral (not to include the burial)?
$7,100 is the cost of the average funeral in the USA now.  That price includes the average priced metal casket of $4500, and the rest of the service (limo, visitation, body preparation, chapel, etc.) is usually the remaining $2600 (7,100 - $4500 = $2600).  Some funeral homes have dropped their casket prices but simply added the extra cost to the other items so your total still comes out to about $7,100.  Obviously prices vary from one funeral home to another.  Your best defense against this it to shop other funeral homes before coming to the one that you want to have the funeral at.  See below on the best way to approach this.

32) My funeral home is charging me much less than the $4500 average price that you have listed, Why?
Look at the other service fees, are they at the average $2600 for the other fees or much higher? If they are higher, then obviously they have raised the other fees to give you a better deal on the casket, but the end price is the same.  Again, your best defense against this is to shop at several funeral homes starting with the one furthest away first.

33) Do we give credit?
No.  We tried and it did not work.

34) Are our caskets guaranteed to not leak?
No one's caskets can be guaranteed to not leak.  The rubber gasket that we have on every metal casket breaks down with the years.  When caskets are placed in a mausoleum the first thing that they do is to break the rubber seal so that the body can dry out naturally.  What happens if you put a piece of decaying matter in a sealed jar? You understand.  

35) The funeral home already has the body and they are charging me like they are the only funeral home around.  What can I do?
The statistics say that the average funeral home in the USA now does 50 funerals per year or approximately 1 per week.  Of course many do more than this and of course some do much less.  The ones that do fewer funerals are much more likely to give you a bargain.  You again need to negotiate with a funeral home far away from you and then as you become an expert to their sales tactics you can talk to the funeral home that has the body.  Remember to ask competing funeral homes what to do about the other funeral home already having the body.  You should only pay a very small transfer fee or the competing funeral home will probably go pick up the body for free to get your business.  Be careful, it is normal for funeral homes close to each other to do whatever they can to get the business but sometimes the same individual or the same big corporation owns both funeral homes.  They then will have no interest in picking up that body and no interest in giving you a better price.  Go find another funeral home.

36) How does the funeral home arrive at a price to charge me?
Some funeral homes have multiple price sheets.  As you come in they are checking you out.  How nice of a car did you drive in with? How nice is the jewelry that you are wearing? Who will be paying? How will you be paying? Where do you live (do not tell them nearby, you live 15 miles away but are shopping for the best deal)? Do they already have the body (not good)? Are the tears still flowing down your cheeks? How much checking around have you done before coming in there? What did your husband do for a living? Have we done other family members for you in the past? They are trying to figure out, how much can they can charge you and have you still be happy? They might detain you for a long time to tire you out much like a new car salesman does.  The last thing they want you to do is to shop around for a better price.  How do you combat this? Just start to leave and tell them that you are going to go get prices at another funeral home if they are too busy now and you will see how fast they can put some prices together for you.  It works when buying a car also.  How much extra does it cost the funeral home to do your funeral in addition to the other two that they have that week? Honestly maybe 3 employee's labor for 5 hours x $12/hour, so maybe 3 x 5 x $12 = $180 employee cost if they are not providing the casket.  How much will they be willing to do your funeral for if you are 20 miles away? It is just extra income for them and they are likely to give you a much better price, which they are obligated by law to provide for you in writing.  You then use this itemized list of prices to negotiate with funeral homes that are near you or whom might have the body.  

Your best answers are: We live about 20 minutes away but we do not have much money so we are looking for the best deal.  I am preplanning and looking for the best deal (even when the person has actually died or is in hospice.  Later you can say you were shopping for yourself and for the other person also.  Remember you are playing a game that they are experts at).  My husband worked as a warehouse hand and I don't work.  No, our family has had funerals in the past closer to home but we live about 20 minutes away and I thought that you would give us the best deal because we do not have much money.

Remember with more and more people getting cremated now, the funeral home business is shrinking and they are hungrier to negotiate.  You just have to use as many tools as you can to get the best deal.  You are the decision maker, and you make the final decision but you are playing with the masters.  

I have noticed that few businesses pass from one generation to the next because of market competition and the big chain stores, but the funeral home business is not competitive and is usually passed down from generation to generation.  Why? No price competition, and they know it.  

One appalling thing that I have learned recently is when you first enter the funeral home, they want to know if you have an insurance policy and how much it is for.   What does this have to do with anything? Well the first thing they do is to call the insurance company to see how much the policy is for.   That is how much they will charge you.   Yes, they will spend every penny for you in one spot.   One smart person told the funeral director to forget the policy, he was going to pay for the funeral out of his pocket and to give him the best price.   They did not like that at all of course.   Then the person would collect on the insurance policy later.   Again, shop around for the best deal and I encourage you to not mention the life insurance policy to help you get the best price possible.   Tell them you are short on money, there is no insurance policy, that you are not getting any help from other relatives and that you will be checking with at least 4 or 5 other funeral homes for the best price.

37) What about the Funeral Home's package discount?
The funeral home typically will charge you the $2500 + Casket ($4500) to arrive at the average $7000 service.   What they do is inflate the services to $5000 (add $2500) and if you buy the casket from the funeral home they give you a $2500 discount from $4500 to $2000 on the casket.   The end result is the inflated $5000 + discounted casket of $2000 leaves you with the same total price of $7000.   So they fool you.   Also the online casket price does not look as cheap but actually you are still paying $4500 for the casket because they have inflated the services up $2500.   If the funeral home is $2000 for the casket and we are $1000 on ours, you might not think that you are saving that much.   Conclusion, go to other funeral homes, the service fee is normally $2500 and much better when you are negotiating, not $5000.   One customer said it all, when they asked the funeral home if they could a buy casket online and ship it to the funeral home.   They said sure, but they paid $5000 for the services instead of $2500.   Get the itemized list first showing the $2500 for all service fees, then cross off the $4500 casket and have us send you one.   Then your total is closer to $3500 instead of $7000.   Do not allow the funeral director to pick up the deceased until you have an itemized price list that you have gone over with him.   If they do not give you an itemized list report them to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357.   See their web site for more details on the Funeral Rule at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/funeral.shtm

38) Can you give me tips on how to save money on the burial?
Same process as shopping for the best funeral home.  Visit cemeteries that are further away and explain that you are shopping for the best price.  They are way "out of the way" but you would bury there if the price were right.  Some tricks used by the cemeteries are that you have to use a burial vault and you must buy it from them for $650 if you want to bury there.  Another might charge you $450 or not require it.  Concrete burial vaults break up like your sidewalk does outside your house with time.  Remember this when they give you their sales pitch.  You cannot bring back the deceased.

39) Remember, everything listed above we have learned by talking to funeral homes and customers like you.  If you have other things to add, call us and we will add them to our list.  

We feel like we are helping people at a time of grieving to avoid throwing away an extra $3000 to $5000 when they might not have that much extra to throw away.  Unfortunately, funeral expense is one of the leading causes of bankruptcies.  Unfortunately, many people do not have the energy to shop for the best casket or funeral at the time of such grieving.  Nice business to have a monopoly in.
A recent story a customer told me is she went to one funeral home and they quoted her $2500 to transfer the body to their hometown.  The next funeral home told her $521.  Again you have to shop around.  Let every funeral home know that you will be checking with 5 other funeral homes because you just do not have that much money to spend.  Watch the prices drop.

Another customer told me that when they talked to several funeral homes, they told them that they were a elder (or deacon) at the church.  She suggested that she can easily bring more business or divert business elsewhere depending on how they are treated on pricing.
Typical Funeral Prices
$1078.98 Non-Declinable service charge
$ 369.51 Embalming
$ 132.92 Other Preparation of body (Cosmetology, Hair, etc.)
$ 304.84 Visitation/Viewing
$ 325.73 Funeral Service at Funeral Home
$ 134.17 Transfer of remains to Funeral Home
$ 161.24 Hearse
$ 80.76 Service car/van
$ 18.74 Acknowledgement cards
$2606.89 Sub-Total
$4500.00 Casket 18 Ga.  Steel, Sealer, Velvet interior
$7,100.00 TOTAL before vault

$ 760.79 Vault asphalt coated concrete sealer
$ 7,860.79 Grand Total



A Funeral Home dropping their casket price but increasing service fees for same total:
$2600.00 Non-Declinable service charge
$ 500.00 Embalming
$ 250.00 Other Preparation of body (Cosmetology, Hair, etc.)
$ 500.00 Visitation/Viewing
$ 600.00 Funeral Service at Funeral Home
$ 200.00 Transfer of remains to Funeral Home
$ 300.00 Hearse
$ 100.00 Service car/van
$ 50.00 Acknowledgement cards
$5,100.00 Sub-Total
$ 2000.00 Casket 18 Ga.  Steel, Sealer, Velvet interior
$7,100.00 TOTAL before vault
$ 760.79 Vault asphalt coated concrete sealer
$7,860.79 Total (No Savings -- you still pay the same)

©2008 Bestpricecaskets.com
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