"How Much Does a Funeral Cost?"
We are often asked the question: "How much does a funeral cost?". The answer can vary greatly, depending on the type of service, merchandise selected, and other elements. To help you determine the answer to this question, Mueller-Bies Funeral Home has developed this planner to provide you with information that may be useful in planning funeral services, or in comparing our charges with other funeral establishments. (To print this page in a printer-friendly format, click here.)
The total cost of a funeral consists of three components:
Part 1: Services - The specific services, facilities and transportation provided by the funeral home
Part 2: Merchandise - Caskets, burial vaults, urns, or other material goods purchased directly from the funeral home
Part 3: Cash Advances - Items purchased from/paid to third parties, such as cemetery, obituaries, flowers, clergy, etc.
Part 1: Services "What type of funeral do I want?"
The first step in estimating your funeral cost is determining what type of funeral you wish to have. There are many different service options. They range from immediate disposition options such as direct burial/direct cremation with no additional rites or ceremonies, to complete traditional funerals with viewing of the body and full funeral rituals, and everything in between. Note: Traditional funerals may be followed by burial OR cremation; the "Services" charges usually are not significantly affected by this choice, but the subsequent "Merchandise" and "Cash Advances" will generally be higher for casketed burial after the funeral than for cremation aftewards.
The "Services" price for some of the more common basic funeral formats are as follows:
Complete, traditional funeral with viewing & visitation the day prior......................$5200.00
Traditional funeral with viewing & visitation one hour prior to service only..............4800.00
Funeral with visitation the day prior, with no viewing (closed casket)......................4550.00
Funeral with visitation one hour prior, with no viewing (closed casket)...................4150.00
Immediate cremation with memorial service and visitation the day prior................4000.00
Immediate cremation with memorial service and visitation one hour prior..............3600.00
Immediate burial with graveside service..................................................................3450.00
Immediate burial with no attendant rites or ceremonies..........................................3200.00
Immediate cremation with no attendant rites or ceremonies...................................3100.00
These figures include all applicable transportation, facilities, service, and body handling charges. Costs may vary from these figures depending on certain circumstances, such as location or evening/weekend services. While the listed prices are generally representative of these types of service, please remember they are approximations. Please see our General Price List for itemization and specific details.
Part II: Merchandise "Do I need a casket? A burial vault? An urn?"
A) Caskets: Services with the body present for viewing and/or services that involve burial of the body require a casket. A rental casket can be used if cremation follows a visitation or funeral; a steel rental casket is available for $920, and a solid oak for $1075. A casket is not necessary if immediate cremation is desired; the required basic cremation container is included in our immediate cremation charge. Every casket we stock is manufactured in North America, and the prices range from $895 to $2760. Prices range as follows:
Solid Oak w/Veneer - $2790
Solid Ash w/Veneer - $2425
18 Gauge Steel - $2010, $2215, $2230, $2360, $2675, $2800
Solid Oak - $1935, $2560
Solid Poplar - $1850, $1905, $2665
Solid Pine - $1520, $2360
20 Gauge Steel - $1190, $1365, $1460, $1515, $1585, $1825, $2005, $2080, $2165, $2195
Cloth Covered Particle Board - $895
Rental Caskets (Cremation Only) - 18 Gauge Steel - $920 Solid Oak - $1075
The casket you select can be a major portion of the overall funeral expense, and so we feel it is important to offer you a wide selection of caskets in an affordable range. We carry 12 models priced under $2000, eight of which are less than $1800; every model we carry is $2800 or less. Rather than display pictures or endpieces for you to select from, we stock the full caskets on hand at both our chapels. This gives you the ability to see the actual casket you are purchasing to ensure its quality. Many of our caskets may also be available from our suppliers in multiple colors and styles, further increasing your selection options (although time for delivery may be required). Please see our Caskets page for more information.
B) Casketed Burial Vaults: Most cemeteries require an outer burial container, or “vault”, for in-ground casketed burials. This is not a law, but a policy adopted by most cemeteries to prevent the long-term collapse of the grave. A vault is not required if you own an above-ground crypt, or if you own a space called a "lawn crypt" with a vault pre-installed by the cemetery. Additionally, some cemeteries offer "green burials" that do not require a vault; certain restrictions may need to be adhered to in these cases, however, such as wood caskets and no embalming. If you are burying at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, the VA will provide a minimum grave liner at no charge to you, or refund $254 towards the purchase of an upgraded vault. Prices for casketed outer burial containers/vaults range as follows:
Grave Liner (basic concrete maintenance shell) - $1080
Single Reinforced Burial Vault (concrete construction, plastic liner, sealed) - $1395
Single Reinforced Burial Vault (heavy concrete construction, plastic liner, sealed) - $1660
Single Reinforced Burial Vault (heavy concrete construction, ABS liner, sealed) - $2045
Double Reinforced Burial Vault (extra heavy concrete construction, ABS & stainless steel liners, sealed) - $2715
Double Reinforced Burial Vault (extra heavy concrete construction, ABS & copper liners, sealed) - $3130
Double Reinforced Burial Vault (extra heavy concrete construction, ABS & bronze liners, sealed) - $3455
Our price of each Outer Burial Container/Vault INCLUDES delivery, installation, & lowering device charges imposed by the suppliers of these unit, as well as a tent for the committal service. Please see our Burial Vaults page for more information.
C) Urns: If the body is to be cremated, an urn is often selected to house the cremated remains. After cremation, the cremated remains are returned in a simple carboard box. If the cremation takes place before services, the ashes might be placed in an urn and set at the front of the church or chapel to represent the deceased, and possibly later interred. If cremating after services, an urn may be desired for interment or for display at home. Cemeteries may have minimum urn requirements, or size limitations if placing in a niche. We carry approximately three dozen urns on hand, many in multiple colors or designs. Hundreds more are available from our suppliers, time permitting. Keepsakes and pendants are also available if you wish to retain small portions of the ashes. Prices for the urns we carry on hand range as follows:
Solid Birch - $270
Solid Cherry - $260
Solid Cedar - $260
Solid Walnut - $235, $260
Solid Oak - $235, $260
Marble - $165, $190
Rosewood - $160
Brass & Aluminum - $155
Brass - $155, $165, $185, $190, $195, $200, $225, $235, $260, $295, $330
Biodegradable Polymer Sand - $125
MDF - $105, $110
Sheet Bronze - $90
Aluminum - $80, $130
Polypropylene Plastic - $10
Please see our Urns page for more information.
D) Urn Vaults: If burying cremated remains in-ground at a cemetery, an urn vault may be required. At many cemeteries, this is included in their fee for burial. Even if not required, some choose to place the urn inside an urn vault for additional protection. An urn vault is not required if the ashes are to be placed in an above-ground niche. Please review your cemetery's policies to determine if you will need to purchase an urn vault. Prices range as follows:
Economy (Polypropylene plastic, sealed, velour liner) - $100, $120
Grave Liner (Basic concrete) - $210
Single Reinforced Vault (Concrete construction, plastic liner) - $420
Double Reinforced Vault (Concrete construction, ABS & stainless steel liners) - $650
It has always been our policy at Mueller-Bies Funeral Home to allow the family to make merchandise selections in private. After a brief explanation of the caskets, vaults, and/or urns is given by the funeral director, the family can then discuss and make their selections in private. We respect your privacy and will not follow you around as you discuss a very personal decision with your family members.
Part III: Cash Advance Items "What about obituaries? Flowers? Lunch?"
Cash advance items are funeral-related goods and services that are not provided directly by the funeral home, but are instead purchased from outside sources as needed. Funeral homes may not mark these charges up in any way. For your convenience, we can purchase and/or arrange for these items and pay the individual vendors involved; we do ask for payment of these items by the day of the services. Below is a list of common cash advance items.
Certified copies of a death certificate: In Minnesota, these copies cost $13 for the first copy and $6 for each copy thereafter. They are purchased from the state and are needed for insurance, title transfers and other financial transactions.
Cemetery charges: Costs vary among cemeteries. We will assume for this purpose you have already purchased the grave lots from the cemetery. Interment fees (their charge to open and close the grave) for casketed burial generally range from $900 to $1600, and interment of cremated remains typically ranges from $800 to $1300. At Fort Snelling, the VA will provide graves, interment and markers free of charge to those eligible.
Crematory charge: The crematory charge is currently $250. This is included in our charge for immediate cremation, but assessed separately when cremation occurs following services.
Clergy/Church Honorarium: It is customary to offer the clergy or church that is conducting the funeral service an honorarium. This is typically about $250.
Music Honorarium: If there are musicians involved in the service, their fees are normally $125 - $150 each.
Obituary Notices: Obituary notices are charged by the line in Minneapolis and St. Paul; the longer the notice, the more expensive the price. The average cost for one day's notice is approximately $300 per paper; adding a phoot increases the per day cost by about $125.
Flowers: Floral costs vary among florists. Family bouquets usually cost $150 to $300 per arrangement.
Motorcycle escorts: If a funeral procession is planned, at least one escort is necessary to control traffic. Additional escorts may be needed depending on size of procession and distance to be travelled. The charge is $205 plus sales tax, per escort.
Coroner Cremation Approval Fee: If cremation is desired, the cremation MUST be approved by the medical examiner that has jurisdiction in the county in which the death occurred. Most medical examiners charge for this approval and the fees range from $25 to $100.
Luncheon: If a luncheon is to be held, the cost will vary depending on the location, the food, and the number served. Church-provided luncheons typically cost no more than $100-$300, while catered luncheons can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to over $1000. A good estimate for catered luncheons is approximately $8 per plate.
Part IV: Miscellaneous "What about all those 'extra costs' I often hear about?"
There is often a perception - unfortunately, sometimes justified - that funeral homes will try to “nickel-and-dime” you with various miscellaneous hidden fees and charges. At Mueller-Bies, we believe in being straightforward and clear. We strive to be as upfront and simple in our pricing as we can. We do not surprise you with charges for many commonly assessed items, such as:
One hour visitation prior to funeral or memorial service – Included at no additional charge in our fee for Funeral Ceremony or Memorial Service. Additional hours of visitation after the first are $125/hour.
Register book, memorial folders/cards, acknowledgement cards, and cross/crucifix – These items are complimentary. Other funeral providers will charge hundreds of dollars for this package.
Planning of memorial services elsewhere - In the case of immediate cremation or burial, our staff may not be directly involved in memorial services held later outside of the funeral home. Full assistance in planning and coordinating these types of services is still included in our basic service charges.
Submitting obituaries – We consider placing the obituary to be a basic service, and do not charge to submit notices to the newspaper on your behalf. Obituary charges will only be the exact amount charged to us by the paper.
Online Obituary on Funeral Home Website - We will gladly place an obituary on our website at no charge.
After-hours service calls - Many funeral providers will have surcharges if the death occurs at night or on weekends. Our charge for transportation of the body is always the same, be it day or night, weekday or weekend, workday or holiday. We feel you shouldn't be penalized just because your loss occurred outside normal working hours.
Storage of remains/refrigeration - If it is necessary to store or refrigerate the body for a period of time prior to services or disposition, there will be no additional charges.
Care of autopsied remains - Occasionally the circumstances of the death require an autopsy be performed. This is almost always beyond the control of the family, and thus we feel it is unfair to assess additional surcharges specifically to care for the autopsied remains.
Private family viewing prior to direct cremation/burial – Viewing of the body and paying last respects are an integral part of the grieving process. Should any member of the immediate family need an opportunity to privately say goodbye prior to direct cremation/burial, they will be able to briefly do so here at the funeral home at no charge.
Cremation Container – When cremating, a container meeting minimum requirements set by state regulation is required to house the body during transportation and cremation. We include this minimum container in our direct cremation charge. Not only do many other providers not include the container in their advertised price, they may try to sell you an unnecessary, more expensive container as well.
Vault delivery, installation, and tent at cemetery - Included with vault purchase. Many funeral homes will charge these as cash advance items, potentially costing you additional hundreds of dollars. NOTE: Some cemeteries do not allow installation of these items by the vault company and will charge you directly for their installations.
Interest - No interest charged on balances due for 60 days.
"Membership Fees" - We are grateful for your consideration of Mueller-Bies as your chosen funeral provider. We would never charge you a fee to simply place your name on a list.
Guarantee for pre-paid funeral expenses - If Total Funeral Home charges (Services & Merchandise) are paid in advance, they will never cost the family any more out of pocket, no matter how much prices rise in the future. Some funeral homes will charge you a fee to "lock-in" your guarantee - others may simply not offer a guarantee at all. (Please note that Cash Advance items cannot be guaranteed.)
An additional aspect of our philosophy of being straightforward in our pricing is that our overhead expenses are part of our upfront service charges. Since we charge what we have to up front, follow-on services and merchandise are priced near the actual cost of providing them to you. This means you will not be subjected to upselling or pressure tactics in an attempt to make you spend more, as our fixedexpenses have already been met. We can tailor the funeral services to the needs of you and your family, not to the needs of our budget.
Many funeral homes will advertise low initial prices to bring you in, but subsequent items will often be greatly overpriced, aggressively pushed, or part of costly and unnecessary service and merchandise bundles. With our pricing structure, our focus is free to be on providing the best possible service to you, not on our bottom line.
This planner is meant as an aid in estimating total funeral services cost, and it is not a final statement of costs that may be incurred. Please note that there are items not covered in this planner that may result in additional charges, such as clothing, videos, special printing, casket customizations, miscellaneous memorial merchandise, etc. Additional fees may be incurred if services take place on an evening or a weekend. There may also be variations in the service charges listed depending on location and order of service. See the General Price List for details. Please contact us or consult with your funeral director to receive a complete, thorough, detailed estimate of your specific service needs.
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