A Houston company, Everest Funeral Package, has launched what it describes as “the first nationwide funeral concierge service.” Everest’s concierges help families plan a funeral, even negotiating terms and prices with funeral homes, reports the Dallas Morning News. Recently, for example, an Everest adviser found one family a casket for $1,300 less than the funeral home would have charged.
About 2.5 million Americans are expected to die this year. Most of their families will contact the funeral home down the street or one they’ve called on before. Consumer advocates say that’s not necessarily the best choice. “It’s sad–most people know more about buying a stereo system than they do about burying their loved ones,” said Joshua Slocum, national director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance. A traditional funeral, including a casket and vault, costs about $6,000, although “extras” such as flowers and limousines can add thousands to the price, according to the Federal Trade Commission.