When compared to other major life events like births and weddings, funerals are comparable. A wedding can cost three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. A funeral home is a 24-hour, 365 day labor-intensive business, with extensive multimillion dollar facilities just as a large church, and sanitary care rooms equivalent to many hospitals and medical facilities. These expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Budget funeral homes have been opened in the last 25 years with very little support from communities; capturing less than 10% of the market share. Experts believe this shows families generally prefer quality and service over budget in their time of need. If expense was a driving factor, budget funeral homes would dominate the demand. The conclusion is, nicer facilities, amenities, memorization options and world class service, is the only way to capture market share.
Additionally, funeral homes are many times blamed for cost that are not part of their services and merchandise. These cost come from cemeteries, crematories, flower shops, newspaper obituaries, police escorts, gratuities to musicians and clergy and headstones. These miscellaneous fees should not be considered a part of funeral home charges. Funeral homes, as a service, include these items on their contract and pay them in advance. This prevents the family from having to write checks at multiple locations in a rush before services.
Funeral homes are an extension of a community's health and human services, law enforcement, disaster response, forensic logistics, psychological and spiritual healing. There are few professions that specialize in such an intimate relationship with the individuals in a community.