How the Survey Was Conducted

While all funeral homes are required to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule of 1984 regarding disclosure of costs to protect consumers’ rights, the reality is that some price lists are more complete and understandable than others.  The lack of uniformity in the format and content of General Price Lists can lead to confusion and misunderstanding for consumers.

To enable consumers to make as fair a price comparison as possible, the Cleveland Memorial Society conducts a price survey of funeral homes in Northeast Ohio.  In 2014, General Price Lists were requested from about 50 selected funeral homes, including the most-highly-utilized homes as determined by an analysis of death notices in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  We did similar surveys in 2015 and 2017, including some of the same funeral homes and some additional ones. For the 32 funeral homes included in 2014 and 2017, prices increased on average by about 8%.

In order to make it possible for consumers to compare “apples to apples” across funeral homes, three major categories of services were defined and evaluated – direct cremation, immediate burial, and a full funeral service.

The results of the survey demonstrate a significant variation in price for funeral services.  Note that the cost of the immediate burial and the full funeral service does not include the cost of a casket, cemetery plot, grave liner, or grave marker.  The direct cremation cost does not include an urn; cremains are returned to the family in a bag or cardboard box.

Type of Service Lowest Price Highest Price Average Price
Direct Cremation 545 3880 2037
Immediate Burial 595 4285 2267
Full Service Funeral 2675 7510 5188

With prices at some funeral homes 3 to 6 times the price at other homes for basically the same services, these survey results demonstrate the importance of conducting research prior to selecting a funeral home and paying for funeral arrangements.

We have made a good-faith effort to ensure these numbers are accurate and comparable, however we cannot guarantee that the actual price one would pay at any of these funeral homes is exactly as listed on the price survey.  For example, some funeral homes offer packaged funerals at a discount from the itemized price. We did not use these packages as their components differ from business to business, making direct price comparison challenging.

Price lists can be updated at any time, so the prices we show on our web site may not be up to date.  For that reason, we include in our chart the date we obtained the GPL and the effective date of that GPL.  If you find that the funeral director has created a new GPL please let us know, or better yet send the updated GPL to us and we will update our survey.

This price survey shows the range of costs and will help you determine relative price differences between funeral homes.  Also, keep in mind that price is not the only factor to consider when choosing a funeral home.  Reputation and quality of service are very important, but are difficult to measure.  Therefore, this price survey should be used as a resource and not as a substitute for conducting independent research.

To enable consumers to make as fair a price comparison as possible, we made every attempt to ensure we were comparing “apples to apples” for the services we surveyed.  The definition and description of the categories of services we compared are available by visiting Definition of Terms.



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