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Coping with loss is hard enough.  But if you’re arranging a funeral, we know you’ll likely want to make informed decisions about which funeral director to appoint.

So where do you start? As an independent family run funeral director, experience of supporting local families helps us anticipate what you may be thinking.  Here’s our list of 5 questions you should consider asking us, or any funeral director.

1.  What will the funeral cost?

This is a common concern for anyone arranging a funeral, now or for a future date. Put simply, funerals can be arranged for most budgets: big or small.  In speaking with our bereaved families, we find out what’s important to their loved one, and the expectations they have.  Shaping an event that achieves their goals within budget can be done by making choices such as fewer flowers, a complimentary online obituary rather than a newspaper notice, flexible time ie. at the start or end of the day.  And that’s before we explore coffin, transport and other options.

Our charges are published on our website under Funeral Costs, as well as the footer.  It shows the average cost of each element of a funeral, enabling you to build a picture beforehand.  Following an arranging or planning meeting, a funeral director will be able to estimate the actual cost based on your choices.

2.  What does our fee actually include?

This varies considerably between firms and it can be a challenge to compare services and costs. Put simply, we include as standard what many others add as extras.  That means we have no hidden costs and you can find out more on our websites or in our branches.

Our fee covers:

–          Transport the deceased body to the funeral home

–          Out of hours service 24/7, 365 days a year

–          Coming to your home or meeting you in branch to make arrangements – there is no limit to how many meetings this takes

–          Continuity of funeral team throughout (as much as possible)

–          Assisting with the paperwork: cemetery or crematoria forms

–          Collecting clothing, jewellery, personal belongings or paperwork from your home

–          Notifying people through newspaper notices or online obituaries

–          Hygienic treatment known as embalming

–          Provide coffin, urns, caskets, scatter tubes and any other keepsakes

–          Viewings in branch which are unlimited, one to one or large groups, at home or other location

–          Co-ordination with celebrants and other key participants, including all bookings

–          Organise flowers

–          Arrange music choices

–          Prepare printed and digital Orders of Service

–          Offer webcasting and/or recording of funeral

–          Service space for a celebration of life

–          Transportation in a hearse or other choice to the funeral

–          Limousines for family and other large groups

–          Option of late, early, and where possible Saturday morning funerals

–          Additional staff on attendance if required

–          Bereavement aftercare and free resources throughout

No two funeral directors are the same.  We include what most people expect a funeral director to offer. But that’s not the case for everyone. It’s very important to find out what is included to avoid any surprise or unexpected costs.

3.  How long have you been in business?

The youngest business in our company is 8 years with the oldest, 135 years.  Today we operate across 30 sites throughout Scotland and NE England; some with their legacy brand name, but all owned by William Purves.  We’re a family owned and run business into it’s fifth generation.  Over the last 25 years, our business expanded as we took over a number of other owner-managed businesses looking to pass on their legacy of care to a company whose values matched their own.

It is the people who make up our company family.  Funeral directors, branch administrators and funeral operatives are client facing and from the local communities we serve. Behind the scenes are embalmers and stonemasons, with specialists in these fields.  And as a whole company, we’re supported by IT, HR, finance and marketing professionals.

It’s not just how old we are, or how many branches we have.  We should be judged by our reputation, defined by our customers.  That’s why we’re privileged to have so many families return to us at their time of need, and be the source of referral by stakeholders who work closely with us.

4.  Are we qualified?

The UK funeral sector finally became regulated by the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) in 2021.  But long before then, we were members of the two main UK trade associations: NAFD (National Association of Funeral Directors) and SAIF (The National Society Of Allied And Independent Funeral Directors).  Our membership continues today and our MD is a member of SAIF Scottish Executive and another working party striving to ensure the highest standards of quality are at the top of the industry’s agenda.

Our funeral directors are either fully qualified or on a pathway to achieve this status.  Training is an important cornerstone for our business to ensure each member of staff is performing to the highest possible standard with options to grow and improve throughout the company.

5.  How can I personalise the funeral?

We love when we’re asked this.  There’s no formula or one-size-fits-all despite what some firms offer.  We believe in making each event fit the needs of the family arranging whilst respecting the deceased’s wishes.  This is best achieved if there is a plan to follow such as one of our online Plans of Wishes.  But even if there isn’t, our team draw on years of experience listening and hearing to ensure that each event is a true reflection and celebration of the life lived.  From coffins, to keepsakes, to mementos or themes.  Check out our guide “I Didn’t Know You Could Do That” for inspiration.

Our door is always open and there is no question we can’t answer.  It’s important you feel fully informed so you can focus on saying goodbye.