Finding the best cremation services is a challenge. With the emotional, mental, and financial stress of putting a loved one to rest, how can you properly say goodbye to a loved one?
Finding a cremation company that supports you at every step of the way is crucial. If you’re wondering how to choose cremation services, we’ve assembled a guide to help you make a decision.
1. What Is Their Reputation?
If you’re wondering what to look for in a cremation company, you aren’t alone. The cremation process is so expensive and emotional that it can be tempting to pick the first one you find.
Start by checking their rating on Better Business Bureau. Dealing with a scam when you’re trying to put a loved one to rest is the last thing you need.
If their ratings on Better Business Bureau are satisfactory, check them out on their website and on Google My Business. What do actual customers have to say?
Don’t just check the star rating on these reviews. Read them, and see what people have to say.
When you look at their website, make sure the information is current. Do they have accurate information, and contact information listed? If not, this could be a red flag.
You can also ask family members, or clergy members, for recommendations. At some point, most adults have dealt with putting a loved one to rest. They’re bound to have some advice, and word-of-mouth is often the most reliable referral.
Don’t make a final decision on a cremation company without touring their facilities, though. Great reviews don’t mean anything if the staff treats you with disrespect, or if they don’t respond with empathy and clarity.
2. What is Their Price Range?
Cremation is known as the cheapest of the burial options. It tends to be the easiest option for many people, especially if there’s not a lot of money for a funeral service.
However, many cremation services estimate setting aside $1000 for a basic cremation service. Then, there’s the urn to think about, space in a cemetery if you choose, or shipping costs if the ashes belong with someone else.
Different cremation services offer different packages and price ranges, which is something we do here as well. It’s also important that you partner with someone familiar with discount options.
For instance, was your loved one a member of the military? Often, burial at military locations is free if they were honorably discharged. There are also federal and state assistance programs available.
Some cremation services also offer payment plans, too. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure that their approach works for you.
When investigating their price range, consider what options they offer, and what’s worth it to you. For instance, some cremation companies will go the extra mile and offer creative options.
For instance, was your loved one a passionate environmentalist? Some companies will pour their ashes into concrete and set up the process to sink these concrete slabs into the ocean. Then, these slabs are used to support coral reefs, which are a crucial part of marine biodiversity.
If your loved one was a music aficionado, some companies will pair with record labels to press your loved one’s ashes into a record. Depending on the company you find, they will be able to cater to whatever your dream is.
3. What’s the Process?
Some people are worried about how to ensure their loved ones’ remains are really theirs. After all, many people are cremated on a given day.
While this may seem either paranoid or morbid, it’s a legitimate concern! Everyone has heard some type of horror story.
Start by asking your cremation company about the chain of custody. This is especially crucial if you’re working with an independent crematory—one that isn’t part of a larger organization or franchise. If your company outsources their cremations, you should also check to be sure.
Here’s how it should go. When your loved one is transferred to the crematorium, they will be tagged with their name and date of birth.
Cremation providers who want to go above and beyond will also place a stainless steel anklet tag, complete with identifying details, on the deceased. This will survive the cremation process, ensuring that you’re actually getting the right ashes.
You should also confirm their identification checkpoints. At every point, from crematory placement to urn placement, your loved one’s identity should be triple-checked. After all, it’s the right thing to do.
If, at any point, you find yourself uncomfortable with the answers that you’re being given, walk away. It’s not worth the stress that you’ll be subjecting yourself to.
4. What About A Gathering?
When you find yourself searching through reviews and Googling ‘best cremation services near me’, remember what comes afterward.
What kind of service did your loved one want, or did they not want a service at all? Consider what you want to do.
For instance, some cremation services will offer an area to host a funeral service. This is less expensive than renting a separate venue, in many cases.
Does your loved one want to be buried or scattered? Depending on what they want, check to see if your provider has connections with burial plots or columbariums to make it easier for you.
If your loved one didn’t want a service at all, there are still options available for you. If you’d like to wait while your loved one is being cremated, there are sometimes waiting rooms available for both you and your family. Taking the time to ask questions can save you a lot of energy in the long run.
Choosing the Best Cremation Services
If you’re wondering what to look for in a cremation company, prioritize empathy, knowledge, and respect. The best cremation services operate on these principles and make every customer feel comforted in their time of need.
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