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Here is our own personal take on what you might wish to consider when choosing your Funeral Director, for an alternative perspective you may also download this list of questions from the Natural Death Society
First of all, think about what type of funeral are you considering for either your loved one or for yourself. In fact, the following advice could be either for your loved one or for yourself, but for the sake of ease, let’s assume it’s a funeral for your loved one, which most are!
Are You Looking For a Simple Funeral?
If you wish to have something very simple, like for example our ‘Absolutely No Fuss’ option, which here at Sussex Funeral Services or Brighton Funeral Services, we offer as our lowest price option, you aren’t really going to be looking for any pomp and ceremony services, so the role of Funeral Director, doesn’t really come into play.
Instead you are looking for an ‘Undertaker’, a person who undertakes to take care of the body of our loved one, with as minimal fuss as it requires, to get that person from the place of death, to the crematorium, for the purposes of cremation, this being simply a collection and delivery service, when looking at things from a more pragmatic perspective.
This type of service is more commonly known as the Direct Cremation. And as I said earlier you aren’t in need of a ‘Funeral Director’ as such but an Undertaker, albeit it means one and the same.
But nonetheless, you are still looking for a reputable Undertaker or Funeral Director, so how do you go about finding one of these. We would strongly recommend that you seek to find out if the companies you are considering belong to the trade organizations, either SAIF(Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors) or the NAFD (National Association of Funeral Directors). SAIF is usually the Independent’s choice of membership, whereas the bigger players such as Coop and Dignity are members of NAFD. Which brings us to another consideration.
Independent Funeral Directors vs Conglomerates
Which do you prefer to use – An Independent or a conglomerate? Here at Sussex Funeral Services, as Brighton Funeral Directors, we are one of the few remaining Independent Family owned firms, particularly popular with many families because we are a Husband and Wife team, and therefore can offer both a male or female touch to the arrangements, which some might find favourable.
But whether you choose to use us or not, we would tend to recommend that you consider an Independent Funeral Directors firm, preferably registered with SAIF, because then you know that you are dealing with a small firm, usually a family that aren’t restricted to company policies and guidelines, that will usually bend over backwards to fulfill your every wish, that will always be at the end of the phone, rather than a call centre, and who’s customer service excellence and commitment to their families is paramount to their success.
With us for example, you get us, the business owners, either myself or Sallie my wife. And one of us will always be on hand to talk to you. Except maybe when we are on holiday.
Degree of Recommendation & Testimonials
Another consideration to look out for is whether or not the firm has gone that extra mile to have themselves registered with any other ‘Watch Dog’ type organization. Which tells you if they are open to scrutiny, by the likes of the ‘Good Funeral Guide’ or the ‘Natural Death Centre’, both of which we are proud members. In particular, the Good Funeral Guide insists that we as members adhere to a set of moral and ethical trading practices and ensures that we are regularly inspected as well as having our services regularly monitored.
Of course, you can always go by personal recommendations too, as often your friends or other family members are able to steer you in the right direction, based on their own experiences, but we would still advise that you take any such recommendations and then research them according to the above.
Make an Appointment
Lastly, why not consider actually making an appointment to visit your shortlist so that you get a chance to meet them in person, decide if they are right for you and your loved one and also ask them to provide you with like for like estimations. Funerals are expensive and until legislation states otherwise, different companies charge different prices and indeed companies can vary quite substantially.
We at Sussex Funeral Services, as a Brighton Funeral Director, are proud to say that our prices can all be found on our websites, www.sussesfunerals.com or www.brightonfuneraldirectors.co.uk. We believe that transparency is the first step towards acting with integrity.