What is Funeralocity?

Posted on June 30, 2017 by J. Chad Pendley under Most Common Questions
2 Comments

The question we have been getting lately is “What is this funeralocity about”?  There is no short or easy way to answer it humbly but lets see how I myself answer this question when asked.

In today’s time, we are all better-informed consumers’ thanks in large part to the internet.  We all have access to loads of information and pricing for just about anything that you can imagine.  Also in today’s time, we have become very busy and fast acting people that secure others in helping to take care of “searching” things out for us so we don’t have too.  What that means is we have created a world of middle men/women who serve this very vital role for us.  Unfortunately, when we become dependent on these services then we can easily be taken advantage of… and in this case, some of our weakest moments.

The idea of Funeralocity is nothing new, yet just another platform of an online funeral home comparison site like parting.com, everplans.com, etc…  These were started trying to emulate the success of the same platform for other industries like traveling, airlines and hotel comparisons.  Funeralocity is created by a company in New York City called FutureFactory which is basically  a venture capitalist company that takes ideas and searches out markets to deploy their idea and retain feedback to see if it is a good model to put into different parts of the world.  It seems that the Atlanta Market is usually a good test pilot because of how diverse we are.  The thing that makes Funeralocity different than others is that since we are a test market they are pouring funds into marketing/advertising and really pushing for a local reach and that is why you hear or see their ads multiple times each day. The idea of these platforms is great for the consumer and the funeral establishments, the problem is the misinformation and the risk of paying more money because of this site.  These sites claim they are free for the consumer and in most cases, they are, unfortunately for the funeral homes, they require us to pay monthly fees or large one time fees to update and put our information correctly on their website.  These sites are used to subject funeral directors into paying for leads and not for getting the right information to consumers.  As stated on their website it says to check with each funeral home as their prices may be different then what they show…. And in the case of our funeral home they are way off.

The idea of comparing costs and prices is great for the consumer.  Having a basic knowledge of how an industries pricing works better equips you as the consumer when you enter the door of any establishment.  The problem here arises when you compare funeral homes.  The prices that are being compared on these sites are for services only and not products.  Services are very different between funeral homes.  Yes, each funeral home is mandated by law (the Funeral Rule) to offer certain services with specific language for example, Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff.  You will see a huge difference in this price between all funeral homes  as it should be.  This is basically the funeral home’s overhead charge for things like the building, equipment, parking, staff (licensed and non-licensed), vehicles, certain required services that the law mandates and many other items.  As you can see this “price” leaves a lot of room for discussion in exactly what type of service you are looking for.

Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff…

No two funeral homes facilities are the same, every location has its own unique qualities that are important based on each family’s wishes, some are more traditional and spacious as some are more modern and convenient with everything in between.  When building a funeral home the owner has the option on how he/she would like to present the funeral home to the public.  The law states only the minimum a facility must have to be licensed but the owner has the ability to go way above that if he/she chooses so and that changes the Basic Service Charge.  Some families are not interested in large staffs, large seating chapels, large parking lots, large showrooms, custom printing, the best in audio/visual, state of the art equipment, imported chandeliers and heavy historic moulding at every turn to just name a few, but to some families that does matter.

How many times in life have you looked at pictures when deciding on home purchases, vacation rentals or event locations and became so excited to only be let down when you saw the place in person?  It has happened to me several times and I can tell you these sites will offer the same let down.  This is another example of a must-see item instead of glossy pictures on the internet!

The difference is our People…

The Funeral Home staff is particularly unique across different funeral homes and honestly it is the very one single item that you pay for that will make the experience great or forgettable.  From my experience, I can tell you that months and years after a service you will not remember the casket you chose, all those who attended the service, the hearse that was used, what color the carpet was, which parking spot you parked in but you will remember the funeral director… maybe not the name but you will remember if it was a good or bad experience.  Your experience depends on the funeral director you choose and here at Mayes Ward our directors have over 200 years of combined experience… in this industry that is rare and very unique and something you cannot see in an online comparison of money.

Basically, every funeral home has a general price list and on that price list every funeral home must list the same basic services but the difference is in how they perform these tasks.  That is where these types of sites fail because all they see is the “required” offerings and place it next to another funeral home.  Where these types of sites do well is, it teaches you the fundamentals of funeral home pricing and what it takes to come up with a funeral price so you are better prepared when you need to decide on a funeral home and it also encourages people to do a little research and preplanning. As I have said many of times, it is a great idea to pre-plan for these life events and I encourage everyone to obtain at least the basic knowledge because at some point we are all going to have to make these decisions.

 

Synopsis…

In closing, this post was requested by many of our families that have asked about information on these sites.  We as a funeral home have built our reputation on certain types of services and how we see that funerals should be performed; other funeral homes have done the same.  We have never claimed to be the cheapest in price nor we have never claimed to be the most expensive, but we do feel as if we are the best for the types of services that we offer.  I can assure you that when you enter our building and meet with one of our directors and tour our buildings you will see the difference.  We will not belittle our values and beliefs to enter into a price war that resembles that of a fast food chain marketing plan and put the service you want and have grown accustomed to at risk. We will also never turn away a family due to financial constraints and we can promise that we have ways to help all that want to experience a Mayes Ward-Dobbins service for their loved one.  We are thankful that we live in a community that supports different choices in funeral services and we are proud to have been serving this community with our same commitment to funeral service for almost 100 years.

Want to see our most up to date pricing… please click here.

J. Chad Pendley

Chad is a licensed professional and is a native of Cobb County, growing up in Powder Springs and currently living in Marietta Ga. After graduating from McEachern High School Chad attended Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service and graduated as a Master Artist of the Pi Sigma Eta Honorary Mortician Fraternity. He was the recipient of the Bill Pierce award and Daniel E. Buchanan award, recognizing him as a leader in the funeral profession. A member of the Marietta Metro Rotary and different organizations in his profession, Chad also participates in monthly activities promoting the funeral home and networking with other professionals in the area. He is a member and attends Westridge Church in Dallas Ga. He is married to Kristin and as a proud father, Chad enjoys the time he gets to spend with his family. Chad is an avid hunter and a true outdoors man. He has a gift of developing a warm, helpful, and strong relationship with the families he serves and is a valuable source of knowledge at Mayes Ward-Dobbins.

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2 Responses to What is Funeralocity?

  1. Chad,
    Thanks for this post. We agree with you that no two funeral homes are alike. That’s why Funeralocity offers not just price, but ratings, testimonials, photos, videos and customized descriptions of their points of difference, many of which you describe about Mayes-Ward in your post.

    Similarly, we hope that you agree that no two internet sites are alike. You are correct that we do not charge families anything to use our site. Nor do we charge monthly fees or start-up fees for funeral homes to participate. We appreciate you updating your pricing information, and it would be a pleasure for us to welcome a high quality funeral home like Mayes-Ward into our Excellence Program. More than 40 funeral homes in metro-Atlanta have seen the benefit of giving families without an established funeral home relationship the experience they are looking for by being able to go to one site to start their search, and we’d welcome your participation as well.

    Sincerely,
    Jeanne Schwartz
    Chief Strategy Officer

    • Jeanne,

      Thank you for your kind response!

      I’m glad that we both see that there are differences amongst funeral home services that can’t be noted by just a price and pictures.

      I love the fact that you accept reviews, as that is great for any consumer, I do wish that you all could make that easier as people can’t just leave reviews without signing up, and not really sure then if they can without purchasing through the site. I have people ask me how to leave a review but I think they are worried they are signing up for spam. I’m sure you have this in place for a reason but maybe note that on your site for those who are concerned.

      I understand that your company is a business and at some point you have to make money, every platform seems to have their own method and it will be great to see how you do statistically against the other platforms as your method is different.

      As I stated earlier, it is great to have sites like this… mostly because people have no idea how a funeral home charges for their services. In our area, all of the funeral homes here charge for the level of service they provide… they mostly don’t care what the other funeral home charges. Actually we have never had an idea what others charged as we just charge what it cost for us to operate. I think that is the message you must try to get out… listing state required charges only, between different funeral homes, makes it hard for the consumer to see the difference, especially if the funeral home has to pay some money at some point to get their listing big and bold on these sites…. causing the funeral home to raise their prices to cover extra cost, this in turn will end up costing the consumer in the end.

      Thank you for expressing your opinion here and on the blog… it’s nice to know that your company does have a friendly face!

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