Types of Cremation Providers

Choosing a Cremation Provider

In Oregon, cremation services are arranged through a licensed Funeral Establishment.

Choosing a funeral or cremation service provider in no way implies that you must choose to have a funeral. You are simply selecting who you’d like to work with regarding details of disposition, processing an array of paperwork and, if you choose, assisting with a funeral or memorial. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions of potential providers; it’s your right to know the provider’s policies, practices and prices. To learn more about this, click on: Cremation Services: Questions to ask yourself and your provider.

All Oregon funeral service providers must be licensed as Funeral Service Establishments. (A few hold a limited license as an Immediate Disposition Company, but that is insignificant, as long as they are appropriately licensed) The Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board licenses individual death care professionals and the facilities where they work. The Board maintains an informative website: http://www.oregon.gov/MortCem and they can be reached by phone at (971) 673-1500.

To help families compare prices, the Federal Trade Commission requires all funeral service establishments to provide a ‘General Price List’ upon request.

Basically, there are two types of providers:

  • Traditional funeral homes – Traditional funeral homes typically operate out of larger facilities which are usually on commercial property and sometimes located on or near cemeteries. Generally, they have an on- site chapel, viewing rooms, embalming facilities and a casket selection room. A traditional funeral home is an excellent choice for families that wish to hold a funeral or memorial service within the funeral home’s chapel or need the funeral home’s facilities for other reasons. Although all funeral homes offer cremation services, most do not have cremation facilities at the funeral home. Cremation facilities are licensed separately by the Board as Crematories. Often the cremation is handled by an outside company or “third party” who may or may not be affiliated with the funeral home; however, some funeral homes do have cremation facilities. If choosing cremation, ask where the cremation takes place and who owns the crematory. Because traditional funeral homes must own and maintain the large facility, they will typically have the highest prices.
  • Non-traditional providers – As an alternative to the traditional funeral home, a rapidly growing number of Northwest families find that their needs are being met quite successfully by choosing a non-traditional provider of burial, cremation, funerals and memorials. Most non- traditional providers can assist you with services in a church of your choice or other facility, but usually they do not have on-site facilities to accommodate a large group. Although they generally hold the same Board license as the traditional funeral home, this type of provider usually operates out of a more conservative facility and offers substantially lower prices. Again, if choosing cremation, ask specific questions and find out where the cremation takes place and who owns the crematory. For your family’s piece of mind, it is very important to know exactly where the body is taken and who holds the very important responsibility of caring for your loved one prior to cremation. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions; it’s your right to know.

Based on your needs and desires, you must decide which type of provider is best suited for you and your family.

You should evaluate the following:

  • How important is cost to you?
  • Is there a trusted relationship with a provider that you prefer to use, regardless of cost?
  • Do you need the facilities that a traditional funeral home offers?
  • Would a non-traditional provider satisfy your needs?
  • If you call or visit potential providers:
    • Do they make you feel comfortable?
    • Do they answer your questions?
    • Do you feel that you can trust them?
    • Do you feel they meet your needs and the needs of your family?
  • With whom are you actually doing business?
  • Where will the cremation take place?
  • Who has custody of the remains until cremation?