Crunchbase, the website that tracks trends in industries across the spectrum, describes Funerals360 as an “end-to-end funeral planning platform that guides consumers through the planning, shopping, and purchasing of funeral-related products and services while providing high-quality leads to industry professionals.” In an interview with Funerals360 Founder Rachel Zeldin, the description by the team behind Crunchbase only scratches the surface.
Rachel explained that Funerals360 exists to be the most comprehensive resource on funerals, funeral planning, funeral preparation, and associated matters. She explained that the “360” in the company’s moniker exists to underscore that Funerals360 exists to assist people the “full circle” when it comes to resources and access to services associated with the funeral and interment process.
According to Rachel, the circle can be broken down into three components:
- Funerals360 provides people an “end to end funeral planning platform.” It is designed to assist in re-planning all aspects of a funeral, taking advantage of an array of interactive tools available via the company’s website at no charge.
- Funerals360 exits to aid families in immediate need of funeral services and related assistance.
- Funerals360 maintains ongoing, post-death resources, including memorials and associated resources.
360 references a circle because it has no starting or ending point. Rachel explained that people can access resources available from Funerals360 at any point and exit at any point as well. People can take advantage of the specific resources offered through Funerals360 depending on their current needs and requirements.
There is no cost to a consumer to access the full spectrum of resources offered by Funerals360. All a person needs to do is go to the company’s website at www.funerals360.com to sign up. If you elect to signup using Facebook or Google+, the process takes a matter of seconds. Signing up directly with an email address doesn’t take much longer.
How Did funerals360 Come Into Being?
Technically speaking, Funerals360 has been in operation for approximately one year. With that said, Funerals360 came into being through another entity that was in business for five years prior to the establishment of Funerals360. The previous incarnation was known as ImSorryToHearThat.com.
Rachel explained that she got the idea for a one-stop, comprehensive online funeral resource when her great uncle passed on. “My great uncle died, and my family did not really know what to do,’ Rachel explained. “We were totally overwhelmed.”
In order to gather basic information about funeral homes in the community, Rachel got online. She failed to land on a resource that could provide comprehensive information about area funeral homes and associated issues. “I was perplexed by this,” she said, nothing that you literally can find information about nearly anything online.
Her mother embarked on a course of due diligence and took to the phone to contact about 10 funeral homes directly. While she was able to glean some information about the costs associated with different packages at the different funeral homes, Rachel noted that it was very hard to compare the data. Each funeral home had its own packages as well as its unique pricing structure. “It was like comparing an apple to a pear to a bunch of grapes,” she said.
Through this experience, Rachel recognized the need for a comprehensive online resource to assist with funeral planning. As a result, she established ImSorryToHearThat.com. The initial incarnation of Rachel’s business was to aggregate information and resources about funeral homes and related or complimentary services. “This was a great start,” Rachel said. “But not where we wanted to be in the end.”
After five years of operating ImSorryToHearThat.com, Rachel made the decision to launch Funerals360. Her objective was to create a website that provides a comprehensive resource for people interested in planning their own funerals as well as for families that face an immediate need for funeral resources and assistance.
Welcome to Funerals360: Easy to Use Interface
The Funerals360 website has a tremendously user-friendly interface. Once a person signs up, he or she is taken to a very easy to understand and utilize the homepage. The two key pathways a person can take at the homepage is to begin work on preplanning a funeral or to seek resources because of an immediate need for a funeral.
With the click of a button, a person is taken to the preplanning or current need section of the website. At each respective location, an individual is able to access comprehensive resources, including detailed information about different funeral homes and other vendors in that person’s specific area.
Highlights of Specific Consumer Resources Available at Funerals360
My Funeral Wishes
Emotions naturally run high when a loved one passes away. When people contemplate their own passing, they undoubtedly want things to be as easy for their loved ones as possible. One way in which people can help their own families after they pass on is to make sure that funeral wishes are clearly set out. By making certain funeral wishes are clear, people make certain they get the services and disposition desired. They also make certain that the stress level for their family is at least somewhat reduced. They don’t have to worry about making certain that their funeral and internment are conducted in the manner they desire.
Funeral 360 offers an easy to use an online form that can be filled out and updated any time desired. The form appropriately titled My Funeral Wishes and is available at the Funeral 360 website. The form can easily be printed out or conveyed electronically to anyone desired.
Find a Funeral Vendor Resource Tool
Funerals360 has developed a comprehensive search solution through which you can locate an array of different funeral-related vendors and service providers. The search tool has 15 sub-categories that include:
- Funeral homes
- Estate services
- Headstones and monuments
Funeral Planning Checklist
Another valuable tool offered by Funerals 360 is a comprehensive online funeral planning checklist. The Funerals 360 Planning Checklist is so comprehensive that includes not only an interactive checklist for specific items associated with a funeral or memorial services, but also for things like utilities and other types of accounts that will need to be addressed in some manner after a person dies.
Compare Funeral Prices
The reality is that the costs of a funeral can vary significantly from one funeral home to another. Indeed, there can be some fairly broad price differences between funeral homes located in close proximity to each other.
Funerals 360 has been at the forefront of empowering consumers to take at least some time to do some price comparisons when in need of assistance from a funeral home. Conducting this type of price comparison as part of a funeral pre-planning is an easier process. Nonetheless, it still can be accomplished efficiently in the aftermath of a loved one’s passing. Funeral 360 recommends reaching out to three to five different funeral homes to ascertain where the most affordable professional services can be obtained.
One resource that can prove useful in comparing prices at different funeral homes is information from a local affiliate of the Funeral Consumers Alliance. Many local Alliance affiliates conduct regional surveys of the costs of funeral services, which can prove to be a helpful guide when seeking affordable services.
The least expensive alternatives associated with the disposition of the mortal remains of a loved one are cremation and direct burial. Most people are generally familiar with the cremation option. Many individuals are not entirely familiar with direct burial.
Direct burial is a process by which a deceased person is buried shortly after death, typically with about 24 hours. California state law and the laws of other states permit a body to forgo embalming if it is promptly buried.
Direct burial does not require embalming or other types of preparation of the body. In addition, neither a casket or vault is required for a direct burial. The ability to avoid purchasing these services or products cuts the costs associated with a funeral and burial significantly.
A majority of cemeteries do not permit direct burial in this day and age. Nonetheless, in nearly any larger community, there are cemeteries that permit direct burial. For example, three major cemeteries in Los Angeles have direct burial plots available. These cemeteries are:
- Joshua Tree Memorial Park
- Woodlawn Memorial Park
- Hillside Memorial Park
Joshua Tree Memorial Park is a completely green cemetery. In other words, all burials there meet the requirements of a direct burial.
Including in the spectrum of resources provided by Funerals360 is a comprehensive casket. What a majority of consumers don’t realize is that they are not obliged to purchase a casket from a funeral home. They can purchase a casket from a third-party vendor. If they make such a purchase, a funeral home cannot charge them or penalize them in any way because of a third-party casket purchase.
Body and Organ Donation Information
Funerals360 resources include detailed information about body and organ donations. This includes specific information local, regional, and national organizations that are involved in body and organ donations.
Funerals360: A Mission Oriented Business
In describing the company’s business model, Rachel explained that Funerals360 is “a mission-oriented business.” She went to add that the “consumer is our shining star.”
Previously, reference was made to the fact that a consumer pays nothing to access the array of resources available through the company’s website. Vendors, including funeral homes, from different locations across the United States, are invited to list their services or products in the company’s online marketplace. These vendors do pay a fee for being able to be listed in the marketplace.
Funerals360 also maintains what can fairly be described as a funeral concierge program. A funeral concierge is an experienced individual that advocates for and assists families in maneuvering through the funeral and burial process after the death of a loved one.
A family is not charged for funeral concierge services. Rather, funding for this assistance comes from resources like an employer’s benefits program or a provision of an insurance policy covering final expenses. In the future, Rachel sees this also being added as a benefit of a person in a nursing care facility.
Rachel’s ultimate goal is to be the primary resource for funeral planning as well as addressing immediate funeral needs. She is striving to have the full spectrum of resources and services available via Funerals360 to be available to families from coast to coast.