Basic Service Charge

What does the Basic Services of the Funeral Director and Staff mean?

Basic Services of the Funeral Director and Staff

Basic Services of the Funeral Director and Staff

This fee is based on the operational cost of the arrangement conference, coordination of details for the final disposition of the deceased; preparing and filling of the death certificate, other forms and permits as required by law.  

So just what does that mean.   Well, every business must review their costs of providing their services.  In this case the funeral home takes a look at the expenses such as the rent for the use of the building; estimated monthly cost of electricity for the air conditioning, and lights.  Then there is the phone and fax numbers;  the cable line and the internet; advertising in local papers and church bulletins so that people get to know who we are. Cellphones are another expense as well as the automobiles and gas.  Of course there are salaries and compensation for employees that must be factored in.  

This is a lot of information, but it is the single most cost difference between Grasso Funeral Memorial and Cremation and a lot of other local firms.  The biggest single most important difference is the size of our building.  Our square footage of space is not nearly as large as the more traditional funeral homes.  Back in the day, families were having traditional funeral services with multiple days of visitations, and many people would come to funerals where is was necessary to have a large chapel to allow for large numbers of people, very much like a church.  With the popularity of cremation the need for such a large space is no longer necessary, and very costly because due to normal costs.  The air conditioning is cooling those rooms that are not being used.  As we all know, power bills are more expensive then ever and like everything else, this is passed on to the consumer.  We chose to have a smaller facility to keep the biggest costs down.. You can quickly see that the smaller the building, the less the rent, and less the cost of cooling and heating a room.  Those costs are also past on to the consumer, but at a much lower rate.  We encourage our families to use there own churches where possible.  More and more we have been having the visitation time and the service on the same day; this saves the family the cost of a second day use of the building and allows people to participate in both.  

We do not own a hearse or a limo as those vehicles are very expense to maintain and with cremation are used infrequently.  We have the ability to rent the cars as necessary.  This is yet another huge expense.  I remember back in the day when our firm would have a fleet of vehicle which would allow us to have what we needed available.  Depending on the service selected, hearse as not used as often and limos are very rarely used.  They are expensive just to rent.  Image the cost of tires, and gas, and vehicle insurance.   Those are all costs that are passed along to the consumer and added to the total cost of the funeral bill.  Once again, we prefer not to do that.  

Another budgeting idea is to keep our staff to an absolute minimum. We have the ability to hire staff members as necessary.  We might sometimes have the door locked during the work day and we don't have a secretary to answer the phone all the time, and we don't keep extra funeral directors around, but keeping the payroll down really is the greatest of all budgeting savings.  We do employ a wonderful answering service who only works within the funeral industry.  This gives us a better representation of our firm, and they are able to ask the appropriate questions.  In addition, technology allows the funeral director to listen to the conversation to make sure that our families are being treated properly.  

I read a book a few years back on "rightsizing" business. The book basically shows owners and managers ways to only use what is needed and this logical approach controls expenses.  So as you can see, we have made every effort to reduce the costs of the funeral arrangements and use of the building and pass those savings on to you, the consumer.  We do this with little or no change in the ability to provide a first rate experience for our client families.  

When people ask me what the average cost of the funeral I will usually point them to the Basic Service fees found in the General Price Sheet of the funeral home.  Other funeral home fees and costs are related to the Basic Service fee and will typically be higher and be reflected in the total overage average cost.