Opening and Closing

(read time is 1 minute)   ŠKenneth C. Lambert, 2003

The Interment or Grave-Digging Charge

If you have not done so, before continuing, please review the honesty pledge.

The opening and closing charge, as the funeral industry refers to it, can range in price from less than $400 to over $1200 in metropolitan areas.  If you use their cemetery, you pay their charges. Seldom can you negotiate the opening and closing charge, unless you have not purchased your cemetery property or funeral yet.  If they think you may go to another cemetery, get them to match this price, too.

Normally the vault installation and the set-up of the tent and chairs are part of the opening and closing.  Sometimes there is also a dirt removal charge.  Funeral homes are learning if they charge these things out separately, they can make more money.

Questions to ask about opening and closing:

1.  Does the opening and closing include the vault installation, set up of tent and chairs, and the dirt removal? 

2.  Are there overtime charges after a certain time and on weekends and holidays?

3.  Get the opening and closing charge direct from the cemetery. Sometimes  funeral homes mark this item up.  You usually have the option of paying the cemetery directly for open and close.

4.  All these questions should be asked before the funeral home is given permission to pick up the body.  Whenever possible, get a complete quote before the funeral home has the body.

ŠKenneth C. Lambert, 2003

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