Independent funeral directors offer best value – not the large groups

July 24, 2018   //   No Comments

Blink and you might have missed it. At the end of an interview on another topic this week, Co-op boss Steve Murrells told Sky News’ Ian King that Co-op Funeralcare had started a funeral price war. The interview can be viewed here.

Independent funeral directors will no doubt raise an eyebrow at such a statement.

Mr Murrells also went on to claim that his organisation had “stabilised funeral inflation” and “in many places” brought it down. This is really quite extraordinary.

We would like to draw Mr Murrells’ attention to our research, which shows that independent funeral directors have consistently offered lower prices and better value for money than Co-op Funeralcare and Dignity over time. But don’t take our word for it. Research by The Guardian has shown that independents are most competitive on price.

Not subject to a corporate structure, independent funeral directors are able to be far more flexible with families, tailoring funeral services to their emotional and financial needs.

There might be a price war amongst the large groups, but they are still unable to compete with an independent funeral director, who not only offers better value but also a more personal touch due to the fact that company owners are often involved in delivering and overseeing funerals.

This is perhaps also a good point at which to raise the issue of transparency. We often come across examples of large funeral groups buying up independent funeral directors and continuing to trade using their name. This can be misleading for bereaved people.

 Whilst ownership notices within such funeral homes are undoubtedly legally compliant and some organisations display their parent brand alongside that of the previous owner, we suspect they are not prominent enough to be noticed by families, particularly at a time when they might be in a distressed state. More needs to be done to make company ownership clear to families and the wider public.

We’ve raised this issue on social media and with Sky News, as we would relish the opportunity to set the record straight: independent funeral directors are better on price and personal service.