If you are not ready to choose a specific provider, we can help you learn more about your options and discover the questions you should ask when evaluating cremation service providers.
If you are still trying to decide if cremation is the right choice for you and your family, visit our Cremation Services: What You Need to Know page. This page contains information to help you understand the process, costs associated with cremation, and the questions you should ask when evaluating the pros and cons.
What are my options for a cremation service provider?
There are several types of organizations that provide cremation services. Which one is right for you will depend on the type of cremation you have in mind.
Funeral Home and Cremation Service:
Funeral homes provide a full slate of services and will deal directly with the crematorium so that you don’t have to. A funeral home can be a good choice if you want to have a funeral and visitation, a memorial service (the body is not present), and you are looking for a full-service provider.
Companies specializing in cremation may also provide a range of services, but they do not offer in-ground burial. Since they specialize in cremation-only, cremation companies are sometimes more affordable than full-service funeral homes.
Cremation societies are membership-based groups that offer special pricing to members. People often join cremation societies when they want to preplan, but you can take advantage of cremation societies in planning an immediate cremation. Whether or not the designation of “society” means lower prices will depend on state regulations.
Cemeteries may have a crematorium on-site or are affiliated with a cremation company. If you don’t know where to start, but you have a cemetery you are familiar with, ask them for a recommendation.
National Cremation Services:
There are several nationwide cremation services, cremation societies, and funeral home operators that may have a provider in your area. These can be a good choice if you are preplanning and expect to move to another city at some point.
PRO TIP: The most important thing you can do when you shop for cremation services is to make sure you know what you are buying. Providers may present services in different ways which can make it difficult to compare. Often they sell cremation packages, so it is important to ask questions about what the price includes and what is charged separately. Do not hesitate to ask for pricing in writing.
How do I choose a cremation service provider?
Buying cremation services is similar to making any large purchase. Unfortunately, the process can be complicated by the fact that you do not have a lot of time for comparison shopping. Even when you need to make your decision right away, there are a few things you can do to make sure you are choosing a reputable company.
- Ask questions: In no case should a cremation service provider make you feel uncomfortable when you ask questions about the pricing, how the process works, or what your rights are. If a provider is not willing to offer the information you need, it may be best to try another company.
- Check them out: Organizations like the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) require their members to abide by certain standards. Check to see if the company you are considering is a member.
Here are some other good ways to learn more about a cremation service provider:
- Visit their facility: Is the facility clean and well organized? Do they seem forthcoming and open? Are they proactive in providing you with pricing?
- Check rating agencies: Consult your local Better Business Bureau, funeral regulatory commission, or state Attorney General to see if complaints have been filed.
- Study online reviews: Is their business listing up-to-date and complete? What kind of feedback have they gotten?
- Check out their website: Is the information current? Do they list contact information?
- Ask for referrals: Friends, family members, or your clergy may have recommendations on companies they have used.
DO SOME HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU START SHOPPING
Advance research and planning can help you be a smart shopper when selecting a cremation service provider. You can learn everything you need to know about cremation, the cremation process, and cremation costs right here.
Also, you can use our free funeral planner to get a cremation cost estimate and record your wishes for your funeral. It’s easy to get started with our Quick Plan. Give it a try!
Pet Cremation: Options and Alternatives
Many people choose cremation when a treasured family pet passes away. It is an economical alternative but be aware that, depending on where you live, backyard burial may not be permitted. The cost for cremation will vary, but in most cases, you can expect to pay between $100-$300. The price typically includes the return of the remains in a small box with the pet’s name on it.
Click here to visit our Pet Burial versus Cremation Page
If Your Pet Dies At Home
If your pet is ill or elderly, it is best to talk with your vet ahead of time so that you know what to expect. Most vets have established relationships with cremation service companies and can help you learn what to should your pet pass away. If you have not had time to prepare for your pet’s death by making arrangements in advance, you have several options.
- Ask your veterinarian to handle your pet’s remains. He or she can walk you through the steps you need to take with regard to preservation. You may need to transport the animal to the vet’s office. The vet will then work with a local pet cremation service to take care of your pet’s remains.
- Contact a local pet cremation service company. Pet cremation service companies normally include transportation as part of their services. They will come to your home to receive the pet and work with you to discuss your options for receiving the remains. Our Provider Directory includes Pet Cremation Service Providers as well as Pet Cemeteries.
If Your Pet Dies At the Veterinarian’s Office
When an animal dies at the veterinarian’s office, most people prefer to have the vet take care of the arrangements. When the time comes, the vet will provide you with information in writing that detail your options. For example, would you like to have the remains returned to you or would you prefer to pick them up. Payment arrangements vary, but normally payment is expected upfront. If you would prefer to handle the arrangements yourself, consult with your veterinarian about how to manage handling of the body.
Unlike humans where it is against the law for more than one person to be cremated at a time, some crematories offer the option to have your pet cremated in a communal process. Communal cremation should not be done without your approval. Do not hesitate to ask questions about the type of cremation your pet will be having.