How to Choose a Funeral Home

Whether you live in a small town, a big city or anything in between, choosing a funeral home can feel overwhelming. If you don’t have an existing personal connection to a funeral provider, the options can seem boundless. What does each provider offer that sets it apart from the rest? How will they care for you and your loved one? How much will it all cost? These and more questions may run through your mind when making this important choice.

We asked Homesteaders employees who have worked in funeral homes what they suggest you look for when you need funeral services. We hope this handy guide helps you with what to research first, which questions to ask and what to look for during your initial meeting with your funeral provider.

What to Research Before a Visit


Jamie Dravecky, a Homesteaders Account Executive and a licensed funeral director, noted an important piece of your initial research should be looking up a funeral home’s Google reviews. Are the reviews current? Do people review them often? Are they consistently receiving positive or negative reviews? What are people commenting on most often? Questions like these can help you get a feel for other people’s experiences with a funeral home.

In addition to Google reviews, Brianne Niedermyer, Homesteaders Training & Development Specialist who also grew up in a funeral home, suggested searching online for news articles about local funeral homes. “Most funeral homes are great, but unfortunately there are a few lemons out there,” she observed. “You want to be sure your family will have the best service to help them get through one of the hardest days of their lives.”


Jamie suggested looking at a funeral home’s website to see what grief resources they offer. Sometimes providers will offer follow-up messages, booklets, articles or even grief support groups to walk with you following your loss. It may not be top-of-mind now, but grief resources can make a tremendous different in the weeks, months and years after the death of a loved one.

Holly Cully, Homesteaders Marketing Department Coordinator and former funeral home office manager, mentioned checking out a funeral home’s website and social media pages to see how they are involved within the community (both volunteer support and financial donations). Often, when funeral providers are active in and caring for their community, you can expect the same attention and concern for you and your loved one.

Holly also suggested looking at a funeral home’s General Price List (GPL) on their website if pricing will affect your decision. It is helpful to also talk with a member of the funeral home’s staff to understand their pricing model as it can be difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison based solely on pricing. What is included in a basic service fee, for example, could vary widely by provider as some will offer comprehensive services and support to your family, while others may simply provide transportation and care of your loved one’s remains. Understanding the differences will help you make a more informed decision for your family.

Terri Bordenkircher, Homesteaders Regional Director and a licensed funeral director, suggested checking the proximity of the funeral home to the place of burial or its proximity to the deceased’s family and friends.

Brandon Full, Homesteaders Senior Account Executive and licensed funeral director, also mentioned perusing the funeral home’s website for information before you schedule a meeting, “A funeral home website is a great resource for information such as disposition options and learning more about staff and the funeral home history. Some websites will allow you to plan for yourself by making selections online, finding a total cost and even prefunding your wishes if you choose.” 

Ask Your Friends

Jamie recommended asking your friends about their experiences with a specific funeral home. Personal stories from people you trust can help you decide which funeral home will be the best fit.

Questions to Ask at a Visit

Once you’ve done your initial research, it’s time to interview prospective funeral providers. Here is a list of questions you should ask during those discussions.

Facility Options

  • Do you have space to hold a luncheon after a service?
  • Can you serve food and drinks at your funeral home?
    • Note that some state and local regulations prohibit catering at facilities that provide funeral services.
  • Is there enough parking for a visitation or gathering?
  • Do you have suggestions for a nearby hotel that may offer bereavement rates?

Service Details

  • What services do you offer?
    • Some services to listen for include live streaming for out-of-town attendees, aftercare or grief resources, a designated space for children, a reception space or quiet room for family, assistance with insurance and direction on tasks that need attending.
  • Can you accommodate our special requests?
    • If you have general ideas or thoughts about a service, ask how they plan to accommodate them.
  • What should I be considering?
  • If we decide to use your funeral home, what is an average timeline we can expect to complete the process, including cremation?
    • While historically the time between a loved one’s death and funeral service has been three or four days, the rise in cremation provides greater flexibility in timing for services.


  • What services are included with this price?
    • Brandon mentioned, “Many times, consumers will ask about the cost of a direct cremation, for example. There are several tasks associated with a direct cremation, which is why it's important to ask what the total cost will be with all necessary tasks included.”  
  • Is there anything that is not included that I should consider?

About the Funeral Home

  • How have you personalized services for other families? What is a service you remember most and why?
  • Can you address my concerns?
    • Terri suggested sharing any apprehensions you or a family member may have, “Talking through things can relieve some of the stress associated with planning a funeral.” Brandon also noted that if you read something negative about a funeral home during your initial research, you can discuss those concerns during your interview.
  • Why did you enter the funeral profession?
    • Getting to know the person who will walk alongside you during this difficult time may allow you to be more comfortable entrusting them with your family’s stories and wishes.

What to Look For During a Visit

Ultimately, it’s important to feel comfortable and cared for at the funeral home you choose. You want to know that you and your loved one’s wishes will be listened to, respected and honored.

Jamie noted, “People should look for an inviting, welcoming atmosphere. I also always encourage people to find someone who wants to teach you. If someone is willing to take the time to educate you and tell you all the options, they want you to have the best experience and form educated decisions.”

Brianne noted that connections with funeral directors and staff are key, “It is similar when making friends or finding a spouse. You should feel comfortable and at ease when you’re with them.”

Finding a funeral home that is committed to helping you make the best decision for you and your family is the sign of a place that truly cares for you and your experience. With a little research and asking the right questions, you can feel confident that you are making the best decision for you and your family.

What do you look for in a funeral home? What questions have you found helpful?

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