Broker. I think I love that term. Broker.
Wikipedia says ” A broker is an individual or party (brokerage firm) that arranges transactions between a buyer and a seller, and gets a commission when the deal is executed.”
After some thought, I realized that most major transactions we make in life involve a broker: buying a home – Real Estate Broker; purchasing stock for retirement – Investment Broker. Need Insurance for your car? Your local insurance company is your broker who will go out and shop for the coverage that is perfect for you. Joint Venture Broker, Information Broker, Energy Broker, Marriage Broker …the list goes on. If you can buy it, there is a broker that can help you.With the price of funeral services being so high, (US average $6, 000 – $10,000) wouldn’t it be nice to have someone helping you navigate all the options and decisions? Someone who has been in the business for 20 years. Someone who has served 1000′s of families.
- Do I need a vault? What do you mean by vault?
- What is a sealed casket? What IS a sealed casket?
- Do I have to pay for embalming? What the heck is used in embalming?
- How much does a casket cost? Where can I get a loan to pay for all of this?
Williams River Services is offering Funeral Broker services. Let us answer your questions. Let us help you find the best services, at the best prices, for this major expense for your family. We would love to help your family now or at the time of death. We are here and helping families.
Call anytime at 802 353-0021.
Tag Archives: funeral home services
Let’s clear the air. I have been writing this blog for more than a year, often talking about how the funeral industry is falling apart and people are finding value in other services. I want it to be a clear that when I say “funeral industry” I mean the corporate conglomerates that took over the funeral world back in the 60s and 70s.
There is a huge difference between the local and corporate operations. My experience in the “industry” started after a few years in a family business. While I was doing my schooling, I worked part-time at a family business in Lowell, MA. In the family business, I saw a funeral director who cared about serving his neighbor and friends. He went to church with them; he served in rotary and was on the local school board. When I took my first job with a corporate funeral home, things were quite different.
I worked about 60-80 hours a week. I saw 3-4 families a day and embalmed at least that many later the same day. I never came to know any of those families. I was working for Lowen; the company had come to the Cape in the late 80s. They bought a group of 11 funeral homes, which was more than half of all the funeral business on Cape Cod at the time. Everything was about the money. On the days I didn’t make arrangements with families, I was conducting services for families someone else had met days before.
When I came to Vermont things were much different. I joined the company Keystone; work was enjoyable again. Money was a factor but was not the be-all and end-all. We needed to get paid but we would not turn anyone away. As time went on Keystone, whose owners has previously worked for SCI, started to change. They were now being traded on the Toronto stock exchange. Keystone now had stock holders. Money and spending were of ought most importance. Rumors within the company said that Keystone was getting ready to sell to SCI. This had happened while I worked at Lowen. We were squeezed at the end, trying to make the company as attractive as possible to SCI. Lowen and Keystone had been quietly consumed by SCI.
Business is business. SCI is governed by stockholders. Stockholders only care about the bottom line. SCI continues to show record profits and grow by buying small clusters of family owned businesses.
There are many local funeral homes who still believe in doing the right thing. Here in Vermont and across the country there are family-owned businesses who are not interested in huge profits. They are interested in serving their neighbors and friends. We all need to get paid for what we do, but the continued price gouging by corporate entities makes all funeral businesses look like thieves.
Shop local. Know your options. Know who you are doing business with and be an educated consumer. Corporate funeral companies want you to know nothing when you walk in their door. That is why I started Williams River services.
Call me if you have any questions. 802-353-0021.
One of my favorite movies by Tim Burton is “Beatle Juice”. Tim Burton is a talented Hollywood outsider. If you’re not familiar with his work some of his movies include “Edward Scissorhands” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” “Corpse Bride” and “Big Fish.” Burton’s new animated feature, “Frankenweenie” will be released by Walt Disney on October 5. Here is the trailer. This will be an instant hit.
Found a blog by THE FAMILY PLOT BLOG: FUNERAL PLANNING FOR THOSE WHO DON’T PLAN TO DIE. I follow this blog and always like their point of view. “Tim Burton Says Plan Your Funeral.” Read the blog here.
Here is a blog I found about Jewish funeral services. I have directed my fair share of Jewish services over my career. They have a huge amount of symbolism incorporated in their services. These customs are millions of years old. Some of their traditions have been changed slightly over the years but they all are very meaning full to the family and the community.
The tearing of the cloth, the shoveling of dirt into the grave, and the lighting of the Shiva candle all have great symbolism and provide comfort for the family. It is nice to see that the community gets so involved. Upon learning of the death, the family focuses on making the arrangements for the funeral. At the start of the funeral, the focus shifts and the family moves from being caretakers to being taken care of by their community.
Dr. Wolfelts is one of the first voices that told funeral directors they needed to come up with a different business model. He is a firm believer that the experience far out ways any of the tradition. Personalization is demanded by baby boomers in everything these days. Restaurants, clothing stores, etc.
I saw him speak 5 years ago. Great orator and very topical. He does not hold back anything. “If you people in this room don’t help families create a more meaning full end of life experience, some one else will, and you will all be out of a job.”
This what makes WRCS different. Personalized services, any where you want, at a fraction of the cost. No more 2 o’ clock funerals
“We know that Boomers typically want more information and more ideas for personalization. They increasingly want cremation. They often don’t care about the casket.. Some days it feels like they’re picking on just funeral service, but they’re not. They’re voicing similar wants and complaints about restaurants, clothing, education, home design, etc. etc. etc.. Across the board, Boomers want engaging experiences. Funeral service just happens to be an old-fashioned, traditional goods- and services-based industry that might suffer more growing pains because it may have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the Experience Economy.”
This article is excerpted from Dr. Wolfelt’s book Funeral Home Customer Service A-Z: Creating Exceptional Experiences for Today’s Families. This revolutionary and comprehensive manual, which covers the full gamut of customer service issues from aftercare to cremation to products to visitation, is available from Companion Press for $24.95. An abbreviated pocket-sized version is also available. To order or for more information, visit www.centerforloss.com.
As I think about topics for a blog post, I review other websites and information for facts and advice. This time, I came across a website call cremationlady.com. I wasn’t too sure what to expect (…cremation lady?) but I was more than pleasantly surprised.
Burial or Cremation? How To Decide
Life is full of choices that require decisions. One of the most important, and perhaps, difficult decisions to make is about final disposition of a body. This article discusses some of the Pros and Cons for burial and cremation. Once decided, it is advisable to make your decision known to your loved ones in writing.
This lady gets it. I enjoyed reading it and I hope you do too.
After spending a few minutes online, I found good information on Green Burials and Home Funerals. You might be surprised by some of the information.
First, I would like to share this short FOX news story that highlights green burials: Introducing Green Burials When Dad died, the family wanted to have “something positive come out of a bad situation” and they chose to have a green thinking funeral home help them with their arrangements. The funeral home got it right: biodegradable casket, family involvement, low prices. Most funeral homes will not help a family with this type of arrangement because it affects their bottom line. It is good to see news stories like this because green thinking is important, even in the funeral industry, and families should know their options.
There are two organizations that I have found very helpful on procedures and family involvement: Home Funeral Alliance and Home Funeral. Both sites give valuable information and advice to someone interested in home funeral services.
Adding to this, I wanted to answer some myths I have encountered:
- Home funerals have to happen at your home. Not true. Most people have modest homes that would not be large enough to comfortably host family and friends. Churches, civic halls, fraternal organization are all large enough to supply a room that would be comfortable for a family. A small donation is a nice gesture; it helps you with your service and helps them pay the bills. Donations could be $100-$200 dollars.
- The family has to help with preparation of the body. Not true. The great thing about home funerals is you get to decide what you are comfortable with. A hundred years ago families did all the preparation in the home before a funeral director was called. Washing your loved one and dressing them in their favorite clothes is extremely comforting to some families. But this doesn’t need to be a requirement of a home funeral.
- It’s illegal to keep a deceased love one at home after they die. Not true. Most funeral directors want you to believe that the body must be moved to their facility as soon as possible. In extreme cases this might be true, but most times it is not. This myth is usually followed by “the body must be embalmed”. Your loved one may be able to remain at home a short while, until a close family member can arrive.
- Only a traditional funeral home can help with a home funeral. Not true. There are hundreds of home funeral organizations that can answer your questions and point you in the right direction. The web sites I shared above have lists by state on who can help your family. WRCS is one of many services which will help guide the family though the process.
This is not about cost. This is about taking back one of the most meaningful things you and your family can do for a loved one. Families that choose home funerals prefer personalization over commercialized funeral practices. Like home births and home schooling, home funerals offer people a measure of control and allow you to go at your own pace. The fact that a family can save thousands of dollars, help the environment, and possibly make the grief process a little smoother are all bonuses. If you’d like to discuss Green Burials or Home Funerals, please be in touch at any time.