Jenny Tay

How To Spot A Reliable Funeral Company

Singapore Funeral ServicesIn your time of need, choosing a funeral company to help handle your families affairs is one of the toughest decisions to make. I had no idea what it was like until I entered the trade. In the Singapore funeral industry, there exists established companies, new startups and a group of individuals that we call fly-by-night operators. Its a really tricky thing to identify these people actually.

I have had friends telling me about their ghastly experiences with these fly-by-night undertakers. Stories about starting quotes being reasonable and final quotes hugely inflated; bad handling of their relatives; low quality funeral set ups. The stories can never end. You have probably heard of them before as well. This is probably the last time you will see your loved one. Would you risk his / her final moment? This post is meant to help you in preparation for the time to come.

Fly-by-night operators conduct their business legally or sometimes illegally. After all, you will probably only see them for 3 – 7 days and they disappear. Some of them actually have a reputation and conduct their business regularly; although maybe only a few times a month. They may brag about having 10 years or more experience, but if you do your math, a few funerals a month over 10 years, is less than what most companies conduct in a year. Many of them in fact are not approved funeral homes by the National Environment Agency (NEA). They do not own actually business assets such as an office, vehicles or even manpower. Every thing is sub-contracted out, even the embalming of your loved one. Can you imagine how scary that might be?

Funeral Directors AssociationIn Singapore, to be approved by the NEA, we need to first get an approved unit from the HDB. Funeral operators are only restricted to Kallang Bahru, Sin Ming Drive, Toa Payoh. Then we need to pass strict hygiene guidelines set by the National Environment Agency for embalming rooms before we are finally approved. Fly-by-night operators do not have physical addresses. Some of them borrow the premises of a funeral company and display their address on the name card. Yet when you request to visit their office, they would fervently decline to inconvenience you because if you actually visit them, you would never see their signboards displayed.

In the age of the internet, younger fly-by-night operators who want to enter the trade offer their services through a beautiful website. I would like to warn you that a nice website does not accurately reflect an established company. Some websites have stunningly done 3D mock ups of wakes. People have come to us and exclaimed at how taken aback they were with the low quality of services they have experienced. Established companies use real photos and not mock ups.

I will do my best to share some things to look out for in a reliable funeral operator and later on share some tips on avoiding fly-by-night operators.

Top 8 Signs Of A Reliable Funeral Service Company
  1. They have an established reputation. Often in the family, at least a handful of people have heard of the company’s name before.
  2. They have proper office locations in either Toa Payoh, Geylang Bahru (Kallang Bahru), Sin Ming Drive or Lavender Street.
  3. They have company vehicles with their company logos displayed prominently.
  4. Their staff wear a uniform with the company logo.
  5. They have a range of packages to offer. Their packages are transparent and any additional costs will be clearly explained.
  6. They are in the funeral directors listing by the National Environmental Agency given out in hospitals, police stations and clinics called “What to do when a loved one passes away”
  7. They are members of the Association of Funeral Directors of Singapore.
  8. They have accreditation by service auditors such as ISO or CaseTrust
Top 8 Signs Of A Fly-by-night Operator
  1. They do not wear a uniform when they approach you
  2. Their vehicles are unmarked or they use a magnetic label on the vehicle
  3. They pass you poorly printed / badly designed name cards
  4. Their name cards only have a handphone number. No address / website / land line
  5. They introduce their packages using a folder with no company name
  6. They would tell you “no hidden costs” when there are quite a bit
  7. Their price offerings are incredibly reasonable.
  8. They do not allow you to their “office”
  9. They are not in the funeral directors listing by the NEA

For the list of reliable companies, you can visit the list of funeral directors by NEA or you could visit my website here

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