top of page

How to Shop for a Funeral



Utah law doesn't require refrigeration to begin for 24 hrs so if a hospital, or police, are asking you to call a funeral home NOW, don't let that force you to rush. Just proceed to the second step knowing the worst has already occurred. For help with what must be done immediately when death occurs see Our Flow Chart 


You can save thousands of dollars by: Calling a few funeral homes to obtain their price list. Or use FCA of UT's Funeral Home Price Survey to compare prices of regional mortuaries at-a-glance. (Be sure to expand your search to include funeral establishments up to a 30 mile radius to access the best pricing).

For hunting outside Utah try "Funeral Consumers Alliance of [name the state] or go to to get a general idea of which mortuaries are charging more and which charge less. Or type into a Search Engine something like: "Discount Cremation Provider Near _______" to find candidates.



Expensive Funeral Homes typically insist you sit down with them at their location for an "arrangement conference". This is their chance to "build a relationship", make you feel like you're getting a good deal, and to plan your event and preparation of your loved one's body. Cheaper funeral homes are often more flexible, let you buy online, do part of the services yourself, or are friendly to you bringing outside merchandise.


After you have selected all the goods and services you need: the funeral home must present you with an itemized "Statement of Goods & Services Selected" [see a sample]. Once you've examined that statement you can still tell them to remove anything you don't really want.

Many funeral homes then require you arrange payment before they conduct burial, cremation or a funeral service.

Keep in Mind Before Shopping


1. Consider Holding final disposition BEFORE a remembrance service. The two cheapest final dispositions:
"Immediate Burial" package: the body is buried on mortuaries' own timing without embalming or viewing. 

"Direct Cremation" package: the body is cremated on mortuaries' own timing without embalming or viewing. (Reconsider: cemetery costs)

2. A Simple Box Can be Lovely: A mortuary might use poor lighting, condescending names, yucky colors, dull finishes (called "vulgarizing") when displaying their simple and affordable caskets and urns. So go to our caskets page to find better selections at half the price.
After cremation most mortuaries hand over your lived ones cremated remains in a box stamped with the giant words "Temporary Container". So why buy their permanent "respectable" urns? Why not choose a special container from your home or make your own. Afterwards, for a meaningful experience together you could gather loved ones to transfer the cremated remains yourselves. 

3. Alternative Venues: If you have people in your group that know how to conduct a meeting, move decor and carry a casket you don't need a professional to conduct services. Instead of holding remembrance services at a mortuary, consider locations like a church, home, park, community center, or virtual (for better sound than zoom: 

4. Bring Authentic Decor: Flowers can be from a store or from a garden, artificial or fresh. You could even invite attendees to bring potted plants instead of cut flowers. Or decorate the venue with portraits, handicrafts or art made by the deceased. A favorite quilt over the casket can be more touching than a floral spray.

5. Print Your Own Programs: Instead of having a funeral home print programs, design and print them yourself or seek assistance from a friend or family member. Many want to do something meaningful to express their love. This is one of many ways to let them. 

6. Purchase Items Separately: Most mortuaries bundle their goods & services to charge a package price. But you can purchase items and services separately. It's called Itemizing, which often ends up costing less than a package of overpriced things you don't want or need.

9. Make Love-based Decisions Instead of Fear-based: Take the time to discuss your options with those who are supportive of you AND who know your rights. When people say, "You can't.....", search this site or contact FCA of UT and we'll advise any time of the day or evening: Joyce 801-368 5884.
The Federal Trade Commission has advice about funeral shoppers rights that may help encourage you to advocate for yourself:

10. Burial Plots: Many consumer complaints we get are about cemeteries! If you have a prepurchased plot, cemeteries raise prices for opening and closing and all the accouterments, without telling you, make you sign away basic rights, and are extremely restrictive about monuments and plaques. Yet they don't publish those restrictions. So before buying a bunch of plots ask for a copy of their policies and procedures which include:

 -what is allowed if you later decide to resell your plot(s)

 -how the future fees climb (for interment/opening closing, vaults and monuments) if you don't prepay, or if family become non-residents

 -restrictions as to shroud burial or grave liners (instead of vaults)

 -requirements surrounding memorial stones (materials, size, sheen, where purchased, setting fees, inspection fees).

Monuments: Some families wait years for a pre-paid monument to be delivered, until the funeral home stops picking up the phone and all hope is lost.

bottom of page