With today’s average funeral costing nearly $10,000, individuals often face a financial burden in addition to an emotional one. Saying goodbye to a loved one is an extremely difficult experience and can leave many American families end up paying more than they have to.

A familiar story of the overpriced funeral

Unfortunately, in 2016, Liz Siegel found herself navigating through the funeral process for the first time. Like many American families, she felt lost in the planning process. “My experience was overwhelming, frustrating, and expensive. The process in no way met my expectations as a modern consumer – there was little to no transparency in the process, and the client service was underwhelming. I knew there had to be a better way,” said Liz. This negative experience was the spark for her new business venture – Titan Casket.

Finding a better way to buy a casket

After purchasing a new house and car, a traditional burial funeral is typically the third most expensive purchase within someone’s lifetime. Why? Well, until recently, funeral homes have had little to no competition when it came to funeral costs. However, within the last decade, online tools have started popping up to help improve the funeral planning experience. Companies like Funeralocity and Parting have created tools to help consumers comparison shop between local funeral homes. Giving consumers an easy way to compare prices has helped tech-savvy consumers save money. However, funeral homes are still profiting greatly off of the most expensive funeral line item: caskets.

Funeral homes often price their caskets for three to seven times more than what they are worth. This price inflation is due to the industry structure –  the two largest casket manufacturers make up more than 80% of the wholesale casket market and only sell to funeral homes. Discovering this and comparing the structure to other industries recently transformed such as eyeglasses (Warby Parker) and mattresses (Casper), Liz saw an opportunity. “I asked myself ‘why not sell caskets direct to consumers and pass the savings to customers?’” After doing some research, Liz realized that the dated casket industry was ready for some change, and a federal law was already in place to drive the change.

In April of 1984, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) implemented the “Funeral Rule” to help prevent funeral homes from taking advantage of potentially vulnerable customers during an emotional moment. The rule gives consumers several rights to increase transparency behind what the customer is paying. More notably though, it states that anyone can “provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere.” Liz explained how “the FTC’s Funeral Rule is underutilized since most people simply look to a funeral home to serve all their needs.” 

Partnering with an old friend the casket business, Liz then co-founded Titan Casket – the first company building American-made caskets and selling direct to consumers. Since Titan manufactures their caskets locally in America and “cut out the middleman”, they have been able to make high quality caskets at low prices to the customer. Customers can save thousands of dollars when buying the same if not better quality casket than the one at the funeral home. Titan Casket is now two years in and seeing great growth selling on titancasket.com, Amazon.com, and Walmart.com. Liz described how “it has been very satisfying helping customers save money and navigate through an emotional moment.”

As more and more shoppers go online, the funeral industry will be propelled into the modern age. Customers deserve more, and better, options. Titan Casket is ready to help drive that change.