Salvos offer cheaper funerals

Various options available, to avoid “upselling to vulnerable people”

Salvos beancounter Malcolm Pittedrigh was half joking when he suggested the Army set up an undertaking business at a brainstorming session back in 2012. “We have clergy, we have facilities, all we need is a hearse or two and we are on our way,” he joked.

Salvos Funerals was recently launched, with the aim of rolling it out around Australia after a first phase in Sydney and the NSW central coast. Pittedrigh sees space for a funerals operator with ”transparent and fair pricing” that avoids “upselling to vulnerable people.”

An average funeral in Sydney, the most expensive city, might cost at least $8000, says Pittedrigh (although Choice magazine suggests a figure closer to $10,000). Perhaps 10 per cent less in Brisbane, or 10 to 15 per cent less in Melbourne, according to Pittedrigh.

Salvos Funerals will provide an “average” funeral with a ceremony, hearse and mortuary care for $4700. But they also plan to offer a cut-price option called “direct cremation” which takes a deceased person directly from a home or hospital to a crematorium, with no ceremony, for $2180.

Salvos Funerals will become the second major funeral operator owned by a faith-based group, alongside the Bethel company. “Built upon the principles of Christian love and compassion,” Bethel’s profits support Wycliffe Bible Translators Australia.