How to Choose a Funeral Director

In just over 500 words find out some important factors and questions to consider when you are arranging the funeral of a loved one.

Finding the right choice for you and your family when it comes to arranging a funeral can be difficult. But it doesn’t have to be as difficult if you can do a little forward thinking and planning… Here’s how.

There are a prolific number of funeral directors in Melbourne. From the low cost, solo operators; through to small family owned and run businesses; medium size enterprises; through to the many faces of the multi-national providers.

In the funeral care business, at every level, you get a range of products and services that relate to the money you are able to invest. For some companies, there is a correlation between the price you pay and the service you receive – at both ends of the spectrum. At the higher end, that might mean you pay for many services that you may not even know you could receive, if you only knew to ask. For some of the independent, family run business that may equally apply. But there are also many small and family run funeral directors who provide magnificent personal and professional care and are run with pride, compassion and professionalism.

You can expect to pay any where between $5,000 and $9,000 for a standard funeral. You can easily pay twice as much as that when you have an international corporate chain funeral director organise a funeral. You can expect, in most situations to pay 50% upon arranging the funeral and the remaining amount prior to the funeral or provision of the final service.

Many funeral homes have their own chapels and viewing facilities. However, availability on your preferred date, size and location may not always be to your liking. Some larger firms will tell you where and when because it fits their resourcing – not your preferences. Others will be able to provide and sometimes encourage families to purchase all the additional, optional extras that can be seen as being “normal”. Normal is a setting on a clothes dryer! What you want, when you want it and where you want it (as long as it’s legal) should be your chosen funeral director’s main priority. Although, what you want may also come with a price tag!

On the other side of the coin, if you don’t want or need audio visual productions, flowers, orders of service booklets or memorial books you don’t have to have them. Be comfortable in your decision – in times of grief it can be easier to go along with a persistent sales person than stand your ground.

I have heard many stories from wonderful and reputable funeral directors, who offer caring and reasonably priced services, that tell of people with unrealistic expectations of what they expect to receive for the price they are willing to pay.

And equally, I have heard from too many families about their less than stellar experiences about having to fit in with a funeral director’s preferences, not being able to choose their own celebrant or what is easier for the funeral director to plan and organise.

In all of this, my key message to you is to be as prepared as possible. I hope the responsibility of organising a loved one’s funeral never falls to you. But if it does being aware of your choices and options, knowing what information you need and being willing to ask for quotes and ensuring you understand what is and isn’t included will make for much easier end-of-life experiences.

We have just one life…

Jacqui Chaplin

Independent Funeral Information | Life Story Collector & Writer | End of Life Tributes | Easier End of Life Experiences | Funeral Planning and Celebrancy

Just One Life… doing and designing dying and death differently and with dignity and distinction.

For more information on doing dying and death differently or to start thinking about how to handle a death of a loved one before you are overtaken by grief, organise a conversation with Jacqui today.

Call +61 (0)412 741 531 or email

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Jacqui Chaplin is a Lifetime & End-of-Life Commemoration Specialist (a funeral celebrant among other things) based in Melbourne, Australia. She loves capturing stories about the nature of life and being human, as well as, celebrating and commemorating well lived lives and lives that have ended. Jacqui has a passion for bringing the conversations that many of us find difficult to think about, let alone speak about, out in the open so we can see how our stories, values and beliefs influence our attitudes.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.