The Memorial Society, Inc., 66 Marlboro Street, Boston, Mass. 617-859-7990
 

Funeral Service Surveys

2015

During the summer we initiated our biennial Funeral Price Survey for Eastern Massachusetts and are glad to present our findings, even if they represent only a small percentage of funeral homes. We expanded our questions this year to include the number of requests fielded by Funeral Homes for green/natural burial, and questions that aim to determine funeral homes' flexibility when dealing with individual service requests. We were curious how funeral homes respond to requests by survivors to provide partial services. Please read our summary guide for an overview of your rights and for descriptions of typical services offered.  If you choose to use a funeral home (and that is a choice!), the staff are likely to be happy to accommodate your specific requests, but don't forget your rights and don't be afraid to ask and clarify services you do and don't want, as well as costs, as you go!

2015 Summary Guide

This year we had an overall response rate of 9%. Here's the breakdown:

2015 Breakdown of Returns

Number sent out

479

Number UTFs or out of business

11

Number actually delivered

468

Number of non-respondents

427

Total number returned to FCAEM

41

Number returned with General Price List (GPL) but no survey

1

Number returned with survey but no GPL

4

Number returned with survey and incomplete GPL

1

Number returned completed

35

Successful return rate

8.76%

Want a quick overview of our results? Here's a summary of the price ranges encountered for select services offered:

Summary of Select Service Price Ranges

Service Description (see Summary Guide for descriptions)

Low

High

Basic Service Fee

$1450.00

$3850.00

Direct Cremation

$905.00

$3795.00

Immediate Burial

$1400.00

$4945.00

Least expensive casket

$295.00

$1950.00

Least expensive alternative container

$45.00

$295.00

Least expensive vault liner

$375.00

$1395.00

Want to see the comprehensive details?

FCAEM 2015 Funeral Price Survey Results (pdf)

FCAEM 2015 Funeral Price Survey Results (Excel)

2013

We conducted our bi-annual survey of funeral prices in eastern Massachusetts (Worcester county and east), in Spring 2013. We received an 8% response rate.

Our volunteers reviewed each response to identify prices for several services provided by funeral homes – direct cremation, immediate burial, and basic services fee.

The summary guide explains the categories shown in the results table, and guides you through the process of shopping for funeral services in Eastern Massachusetts.

Read the summary guide HERE!

See the data results.

See the data results in Excel format.

2011

We conducted our bi-annual survey of funeral prices in eastern Massachusetts (Worcester county and east), in Spring 2011. Of the more than 500 funeral establishments queried, 47 responded. We sent each funeral home a one-page survey and a cover letter asking that they complete the survey and return it along with a copy of their General Price List.

Our volunteers reviewed each GPL and survey form to identify prices for several services provided by funeral homes –  direct cremation, immediate burial, basic services fee, caskets, and outer burial containers. The results are shown in the data tables below. Or, you can...

Read the summary guide HERE! Trying to make sense of all those numbers? This summary guide uses current price data from the 2011 survey to guide you through the process of shopping for funeral services in Eastern Massachusetts. It answers questions like the following: How do I know how one price compares to another? What hidden costs should I look out for? Can I save money by purchasing a casket or cremation container somewhere else?

See the data (click on one of these links to see the spreadsheet):

2009

We conducted a survey of Massachusetts funeral establishments in January 2009.  We queried those east of Springfield.  Thirty-two responded, a response rate of about seven percent.  We are delighted that there are at least some funeral homes willing to serve those who seek non-traditional services and hope that this information will help people to locate them.

A cover letter explaining the goals of the survey was addressed to the Director of each Funeral Establishment.

The survey form posed several questions on Non Traditional Funeral Service Options and also asked for a copy of their General Price List.

Responses are posted as a table showing establishment name, city or town, the prices for immediate burial and for direct cremation, and whether the direct cremation price includes the the crematory fee.  Clicking on the establishment name will display a PDF image of their response.  Most responders included their General Price List.

2006

We conducted a survey of all Massachusetts funeral establishments in January 2006.

A cover letter explaining the goals of the survey was personally addressed to the Director of each Funeral Establishment.

The survey form posed several questions on Non Traditional Funeral Service Options and also asked for a copy of their General Price List.

Responses are posted in two different ways. 

  1. A table listing only the funeral homes which responded or for which we have other information, with links to the information.
  2. A table listing all  Massachusetts funeral homes, with links to their responses or other information.

Each table is sorted by zip code  The first column contains a link to the response or other info on that funeral home.  Other columns contain the business name and address.  We sorted by zip code because of the confusing way town and village names are used in Massachusetts. 
You can search the lists by town or funeral home name using the "Find" function of your browser. 
Almost all the responses are PDF image files, for which you need either Acrobat Reader or  GhostScript add-in for your browser.

Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association sent this Alert  about our survey via fax to all their members.
Comments on the Alert from Joshua Slocum, Executive Director of Funeral Consumers Alliance (our national federation).

We are delighted that there are at least some funeral homes willing to serve those who seek non-traditional services and hope that this information will help people to locate them.

1998

Our 1998 Price Survey can provide some historical context.  It didn't ask about non-traditional services.

Funeral Establishment Lists

For the 2006 survey mailing list we used the official  Funeral Establishment Database dated November 28, 2005 from the Division of Professional Licensure .

Here is the whole database as a CSV file which you can import to any spreadsheet or database program.  It includes 639 "current" and  81"expired" listings.

Here is a ZIP file of the entire content of the CD the DPL sent. Be warned  that the MS Access MDB file is set by DPL so it can only be viewed, not printed, saved or edited.  The only thing that worked was the extraction program,  "PIR.exe", which did create the above CSV file.  It wouldn't make an XLS file, as it claimed.

In 2003 we received an earlier DPL database which they maintained from 1999 to 2003 but then abandoned.  It contains names of the other licensed or registered employees at each funeral home, not of just the director (manager) as in the 2005 database.  Note that the Establishment Number in the 2003 database bears no relationship to that number in the 2005 database.
 ZIP file of 2003 database.

[updated 2015-11-14]

Protecting a consumer's right to choose a dignified, meaningful, affordable funeral