New funeral home offers affordable send-offs

By Elizabeth Chiu, CBC News
Sep 02, 2015 10:39 AM AT

There’s a new funeral home in the Halifax-area and it aims to set itself apart by offering affordable send-offs.

traceycroppedTrevor Tracey, a licensed funeral home director and embalmer, says he’s introducing full service farewells at a fraction of the cost.

“I never want to be known for a cheap business. We want to be known for a very affordable funeral but with very high, elite service,” says Tracey.

The 39-year-old quit his job managing one of the big, corporately-owned funeral homes in town to start his own business, T.J. Tracey Cremation and Burial Specialists in Bedford.

Over the years he heard from families about the expense of traditional funerals, which have price tags of $25,000 or more.

So he came up with a unique business model to lower costs.

It starts, he says, with his overhead: his funeral home is about 1,500 square feet, compared to most that are in the range of 10,000 square feet.

His fleet is just three vehicles — not 15, which is common. Additional vehicles are rented, if necessary.
Different, more personal way to do business

He also tries to plan funerals with families in their own homes as a more personal service.

“For a lot of people in your senior years, it’s a lot easier for them to think at home as to what they want for their loved one and have them involved, instead of their family leaving them at home and coming into our office and making the decision,” says Tracey.

“We go to them, we have a cup of tea, and make it all happen at home for them and that way they’re involved. Because it’s very important for everybody to have a peace to say goodbye to their loved one at the end of the day.”

He also accommodates unique requests from families to bring down costs further, he says, such as organizing visitations at people’s homes, in churches or community centres.

“A lot of our community centres and churches are only used on Sundays and so they’re opened six days a week and we work with their scheduling as well. So it also puts revenue back into the churches. As you know, there’s a lot of these beautiful facilities that are closing down now. And you know when we use that space, we of course give them a donation for the use of the facility,” says Tracey.

He says he also offers a white dove release with birds raised and bred on his own small farm in Falmouth.

“We do it all. We do everything,” says Tracey.

He says he can offer cremations with memorial services or traditional full casket burials from $1,500 to $8,000, which he says is less than half what the bigger funeral homes charge. He acknowledges his low-cost option isn’t for every family. But he says he’s getting a lot of interest.

“We’ve been open for one week now and we’re getting — our phone rings every day with people inquiring about it and wanting to know exactly what we offer and so on. So it’s a very positive spin, everybody that we’ve talked to and interviewed with they’re very positive about this business. So hopefully we’ll have good success with the community.”