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If you’re looking for a funeral director in the UK, you have a choice between using an independent funeral director or a large nationwide group such as Co-op Funeralcare, Dignity and Funeral Partners. It’s completely up to you who you choose – different funeral directors will suit different people. Here’s more about independent funeral directors and things to consider when you’re making your choice.

What are independent funeral directors?

Independent funeral directors are professionals who run their own funeral home. They’re privately-owned, sometimes run by families. And they often pass their knowledge down in the family so that their work in the local community continues. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that there’s a real variety of independent funeral directors across the UK. So it’s worth comparing your options to find one who is the right fit for you.

While they’re often run by a small team, you can also find independent funeral directors who own several funeral homes in a particular area. For example, they might have 6-12 funeral homes across London or Bristol.

How do you know if a funeral home is independent?

If you’re arranging a funeral and you’d like to work with an independent funeral home it can be difficult to know if the funeral directors you’re looking into are actually independent. This is because some independent family funeral directors have been bought by larger companies but have still kept the family name.

Here are a few ways you can find out:

  • Is the funeral director a member of the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)? This is a trade organisation that supports independent funeral directors but also makes sure that their members offer a high level of service according to their code of practice.
  • Look for leaflets or signage in branch. If a funeral home is part of a nationwide group, you’ll usually see their logo or name in smaller print on their window signage or leaflets, even if they don’t include it in their company name.
  • If there isn’t any info on their website or leaflets about who owns and runs the funeral home, you can always contact the funeral home to ask.

Why choose an independent funeral director?

Independent funeral directors are all very different. But you’ll usually find that an independent funeral director can offer you:

  • Experience. Many independent funeral homes have been in the funeral industry for years, maybe decades (some even go as far back as the 1700s). So they’ll have the knowledge you need to plan the funeral you’d like for a loved one.
  • Flexibility. With a small team managing their own time, it’s likely that an independent funeral director will be able to adapt their services to your requirements.
  • Specialist knowledge. While some independent funeral directors will offer a wide range of ceremonies, others choose to specialise in a specific type of funeral. For example, natural burials or Asian funerals. This could be the right choice for you, depending on the type of funeral you want to organise.

Important: Even though some independent funeral directors may be able to offer the benefits above it’s worth doing your own research. Ask family members and friends for their recommendations too and don’t be afraid to get in touch with several funeral homes, including the larger corporations, before making a decision that’s right for you.

And remember you don’t have to use a funeral director at all if you don’t want to – read our guide to organising a funeral without a funeral director for more info.

Will an independent funeral director cost less than a well-known name?

This will depend on what type of funeral service you have in mind and also the funeral director you choose. Funeral director prices can vary a lot, so it’s worth comparing the options in your area before making your decision. You can use our funeral directory to find and compare local funeral directors near you in just a few minutes. It’s quick and easy to use.

How to find independent funeral directors near you

Not sure where to start your search? Use our funeral director finder. Just type in your postcode, region or city and you’ll be given a list of funeral directors near you. Click on one of the local funeral homes and you’ll see immediately whether they’re an independent funeral director or if they’re part of a larger group.

Funeral Choice is a free resource that helps you find a local funeral director. You can also find more useful info in our hub of funeral advice.