Shopping for a funeral online could become commonplace if two entrepreneurs have their way.
Cleveland residents Mike Belsito and Bryan Chaikin have launched an online funeral planning service called eFuneral.com. This free service is just kicking off in the Midwest, but hopefully will takes flight across the country.
What Mike and Bryan offer are price quotes on both burials and cremations that reflect significant discounts along with consumer reviews of funeral homes. In essence, their site is able to put funeral homes in competition with each other, and a fee is charged to the funeral homes for every client generated by the service.
eFuneral has been called the “Angie’s list of funeral homes” in The Plain Dealer because the idea is not just that you’re buying price, you’re also buying reviews and quality from the winning bidder knowing they will handle both you and your loved one in a respectful manner.
I know that it may seem unsavory to talk about expense at the time of the loss of a loved one. But it’s the reality that the price difference from one funeral home to another can make all the difference in the world about what kind of ongoing financial burden the survivors have.
I have long talked about Funerals.org as a way to use collective buying power to get reduced rates on funeral expenses via a local non-profit memorial society. But the idea for eFuneral.com came when Mike was tasked by his family with making sudden funeral arrangements for a cousin. He was stunned with how having to get it done at the last minute wound up being so expensive.
The story of Mike and Brian is a perfect example of people who saw a market opportunity and came up with a solution. I hope this service helps people and makes them money.