According to Sun Life Direct, funeral costs and the cost of dying rose to an average of £7,248 in 2011. Prices are continuing to rise. Dying is a very expensive business. Mitchell started Comparethecoffin.com after his first involvement with organising a funeral made him think, there had to be a better way. He took three main lessons from the experience:
Unless you have a definite plan, the funeral director takes over and you end up with their plan, instead of yours;
The coffins are expensive. He reckons mark-up is between 300 and 600 per cent on wholesale prices;
How do you choose a funeral director anyway?!
ComparetheCoffin.com makes a price promise – “If you find the same coffin or casket of the same quality for less we will refund the difference” – as well as providing free planning tools. Your plan then gets sent to more than 400 registered funeral directors. Those who wish to, contact the customer directly offering their services; the user can decide which one to use, thus creating an e-bidding platform. It hasn’t been an easy first year, admits Mitchell. This is a closed, traditional industry that hasn’t responded well to such innovation. There are approximately 500,000 funerals in the UK alone. Mitchell’s target is one per cent of that market – 10,000 coffins and a similar number of future plans p.a.
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