STAFFORD, NJ - As the owner/operator/manager of Maxwell-Tobie Funeral Home and Cremation Service, I serve our Community on a daily basis,.  I serve both in and outside the funeral home. My hope is that my articles will help you in making key decisions and/or considerations when planning for the final life event. Unlike other life events, you only get one chance at planning this event for yourself or that particular loved one.

Not to say that “the pressure is on”, but it kind of is. There are many decisions to be made, first and foremost, is selection of the funeral home you will entrust. Some communities have many choices of funeral homes to choose from, some only a few. The most common question I am asked is ‘how much?” Again, here you will find different answers when you make your inquires to area funeral homes. So why is pricing different when the end result is the same? True, at the end of the day, that person will be buried, entombed, cremated, etc. However, it’s not the end result that you pay for, it’s what happens in between that first call to the funeral home up to the end result. If the absolute lowest price is the key to your decision, then you probably do not need to continue reading any further. But if understanding the VALUE of what you are paying for, keep reading.

So then, how do you know who to contact when the time arrives? Here are some considerations for you to use as a guideline:

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  • Ask friends, neighbors, who have been through the experience, for referrals. They can provide valuable feedback on their experience.

  • Provide your own referral. Have you visited a funeral home recently for services? What was your review? Were the facilities attractive, spacious, welcoming? Was there ample parking? Friendly, helping staff? And of course, how was the deceased appearance? As in any business or any activity for that matter, some will just exceed in certain areas more than others. Value here cannot be overestimated.

  • Is the funeral home family owned or is it “corporate?" 
    I can only speak for my funeral home in  that when you meet with a funeral director, you are meeting with the owner of the business not a corporate employee. If you are not sure who you are speaking with, ask.

  • Is your love one being cared for at the funeral home or at an off-site facility?

  • Remember the old saying “you get what you pay for”.
    When speaking to a funeral home that claims to offer same service at a low price, remember that this type of operation still needs to pay the bills. This usually means that they must rely on high volume to maintain profitability. This can result in inferior customer service and a feeling of being “rushed”. Also, some of these facilities may be smaller in size with limited parking (lower overhead, lower pricing) and may not be your choice to accommodate your family and friends.

  • In lieu of just an inquiring phone call, I recommend visiting the funeral homes you are considering. Meet with the owner/manager, ask questions and tour the facility. You will get a sense of the person you are entrusting as well as seeing the location and if it meets your expectations. Ask yourself, “do I feel comfortable and will my family and guests have the best care”.

These are some considerations in preparation for or planning for funeral services. I encourage you to do research, reach out and visit with the funeral homes in the area and do not just rely on the lowest price. Know the value in what you are getting for dollars you are spending. For a consultation, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.

Mark L. Tobie

Maxwell-Tobie Funeral Home& Cremation Service
573 Mill Creek Road, Manahawkin, NJ