Blog » Direct Cremation vs Funeral Home Services: An Affordable Alternative

Direct Cremation vs Funeral Home Services: An Affordable Alternative
July 30, 2021

The cost of a traditional casket burial with a body viewing and the use of a funeral home can be quite costly. The average cost for a burial in a cemetery in America is around $11,000. In many cases, a traditional funeral can cost much more.

Total Funeral Costs

Here is a breakdown of the typical funeral expenses for a traditional arrangement:

  • Cemetery Costs: Average cost for a burial plot is between $3,000 and $5,000. On top of that, opening/closing a grave costs around $1,000. A simple stone headstone for a grave costs $1,000, while more ornate headstones costs around $2,000 plus additional fees which may be charged for maintenance.
  • Funeral Home Costs: Transfering the body from a home or the hospital will cost up to $350. The funeral director and staff costs around $1,500. Embalming costs run from $600 to $1,000.
  • Casket: The cost of a wooden casket is about $2,000, while an airtight steel casket can cost up to $5,000.
  • Funeral Services: Scheduling a viewing costs approximately $1,000. The cost of a hearse to transport the casket to the church or the memorial service, and then subsequently to the gravesite, costs roughly $500. If you need additional limousines to transport people in the funeral party, this may cost up to $200 per vehicle.
  • Church or Memorial Services: The average cost for a ceremony is $1,000 plus the cost of flowers,which can add $300 to $500 to the cost.
  • Reception: Venue booking for the reception can cost between $300 to $500. Snacks and beverages will add another $500 or more depending on the number of people invited.

Adding the costs up, the total cost can easily top $11,000 for a traditional funeral burial.

Cremation: Total Costs

A simple direct cremation costs from $1,300 to $3,000 and usually includes the following:

  • Transportation of the body from a home or hospital to the crematorium.
  • Cremation services.
  • Crematory fees.
  • State fees on any required permits.
  • A certified copy of the death certificate (extra copies are an additional cost).
  • A basic container for the ashes.
  • Delivering the ashes to the next of kin or the executor of the estate.

Some service providers offer optional extras to the basic, simple, direct cremation that include ornate cremation containers for transporting the body to the crematorium. This container is incinerated with the body inside the oven to be cremated. These special containers are made of sturdy cardboard or wood. The wood may be covered with soft cloth. They cost around $350 to $500.

Another highly requested item is an urn for containing the ashes. These can cost anywhere from $50 to $300 if purchased from a crematorium, and decorative custom urns can be commissioned at much higher prices. One nice idea is to commission an artist to create the bust of the deceased person that can be used to hold their ashes.

Clearly, cremation services have many advantages over traditional funerals. In addition to the lower cost, they also offer enhanced flexibility in scheduling the memorial service. A cremation has the added benefit of fewer restrictions on the where the memorial services may be held. With cremation, a family can select outdoor, natural settings where they can spread the ashes.