I sell wholesale burial caskets to funeral homes. Ask me anything!

Proof has been submitted to the mods.

Edit: I am still here answering questions so keep em coming!

Edit 2: Although it has been a few days, I will keep logging on every couple of days, so if you still have questions, feel free to ask!

Comments: 233 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

PoD682109 karma

Hope this thread doesn't get buried...

TheCasketDude151 karma

Call me if it does.

butternutsquashsoup27 karma

I mean this in the most respectful way possible, but do you feel like death is being capitalized with the large expense of funerals? I mean, I fortunately haven't had too many people in my life die but I'm under the impression that funeral homes take advantage of the vulnerability of grief in order to sell them a more expensive casket, funeral, whatever. I see that you sell wholesale, which makes you a step away from that, but are people taken advantage of and if so, what do you think about it?

Edit: grammar

TheCasketDude27 karma

It is difficult for me to answer this one simply because I only deal with the wholesale casket side of the equation. However, you would be surprised at the amount of costs that a funeral home must cover. Embalming fluids, salaries for a full staff, utilities and mortgage for a million-dollar facility, gasoline and payments on the hearses, etc. I know some funeral directors who fully take advantage of people, and others who do not.

That being said, is it this reason why many people are going with the cremation route rather than a traditional burial.

ThisIsStatus3 karma


TheCasketDude16 karma

I am terribly sorry for your loss.

0110100100f18 karma

Can one get a deal on a family package?

TheCasketDude11 karma

That is something you would have to discuss with a funeral director. I only sell to funeral homes, so any deals/discounts you can receive as a family would have to be through the funeral home.

joshuarowley4213 karma

Do you make special caskets for those with very varied body dimensions? Whats the longest/shortest, widest/thinest one you have sold?

TheCasketDude13 karma

Yes. There are several different casket sizes out there. The shortest/thinnest (which was industry standard for years) is 77 inches long and 26 inches wide. This casket would fit inside of a standard sized vault.

The longest/widest is 85 inches long and 35 inches wide. This requires an oversized vault and often two burial plots in a cemetery.

TorchIt6 karma

Approximately how big would somebody have to be to need one of these?

TheCasketDude14 karma

Assuming you are referring to the largest size, the typical weight of a deceased individual would be roughly 350 to 450 pounds, give or take a few pounds.

DimitriVolochenko12 karma

Why do you think that, in this day and age, we're still saving our dead?

TheCasketDude19 karma

Many people believe that it helps with the grieving process. Others believe that the body should be preserved for religious reasons. However, the cremation/green burial trend is dramatically increasing.

AphiTrickNet8 karma

What's a green burial?

TheCasketDude20 karma

It is a newer trend with a few different possibilities:

  1. Cremation and scatter the ashes in a forest or plant a tree above the ashes.

  2. Wrap the body in a cloth and bury it directly in the ground (usually in a forest-like cemetery).

  3. A biodegradable wood casket is used and the body is not preserved with embalming fluid and is buried without a concrete vault.

erichurkman3 karma

Cremation is not "green" at all. Sure, it doesn't use land, doesn't require perpetual mowing of perfect fields of grass, but it's not "green." It requires a ton of energy (I believe most crematoriums are natural gas powered) to burn a body, at least the current methods.

TheCasketDude10 karma

True, it does use a lot of energy. However, when comparing cremations with the traditional burial (which involves embalming a body, the use of the funeral home, the gas used to drive around town in the hearse, the gas used to dig and re-bury a grave), cremation is slightly less wasteful.

mwproductions5 karma

Not to mention putting a chemical-soaked corpse into the ground.

TheCasketDude10 karma

In a steel box, with a concrete vault.

jaymobe079 karma

Did you know you can buy caskets online through Wal-Mart?

TheCasketDude13 karma

Yes. However, most Wal-Mart/Costco/Amazon caskets are severely lacking in quality. If you purchase a casket at a funeral home, you have the opportunity to inspect it for scratches, dents, and the like. Also, funeral directors typically offer a warranty on a casket that is on their showroom floor - so if a handle snaps during a service, they would not charge you.

If you buy a casket from an outside source, you usually do not see it until the funeral. If there is a chip/dent/scratch in the casket, then oh well. If the handle snaps off and the body falls to the floor, then oh well.

pedantic_dullard17 karma

Yes. However, most Wal-Mart/Costco/Amazon caskets are severely lacking in quality. If you purchase a casket at a funeral home, you have the opportunity to inspect it for scratches, dents, and the like. Also, funeral directors typically offer a warranty on a casket that is on their showroom floor - so if a handle snaps during a service, they would not charge you.

Chips, dents, scratches...

The family does realize twenty minutes after the service the casket is going to be buried, right?

What is that warranty getting me? A new handle?

If you buy a casket from an outside source, you usually do not see it until the funeral. If there is a chip/dent/scratch in the casket, then oh well. If the handle snaps off and the body falls to the floor, then oh well.

But the funeral home employees will stuff dear old dad back in the casket, right?

And if the casket is being delivered to the funeral home, I would assume there would be an inspection to make sure the thing wasn't damaged in transit, right

TheCasketDude12 karma

The family does realize twenty minutes after the service the valley is going to be buried, right?

Yes, but some families are extraordinarily picky when it comes to the casket. You can't blame them though - the casket is rather expensive. Even though it will be buried anyway, you pay the money and expect perfection.

What is that warranty getting me? A new handle?

If you notice a chip/dent before the service, it is common to replace the casket with a new one. The local supplier can get a new casket delivered same-day. If the handle breaks and dad falls out, you are looking at a free funeral.

And if the casket is being delivered to the funeral home, I would assume there would be an inspection to make sure the thing wasn't damaged in transit, right

True, but if the casket is delivered to the funeral home in the morning when the funeral is later that day, they are forced to use the casket. The return policy with outside suppliers such as Wal-Mart is often "damaged in transit - not our fault."

cussindrinkinfartin7 karma

This may be a silly question, but does the warranty only apply when the casket is above ground?

TheCasketDude8 karma

Not silly at all. Yes, it applies to above-ground caskets. There was a case many years ago where a family sued a funeral home because they had to exhume the body and the casket was very much degraded. Nothing was in the papers to protect them, so ever since then, many funeral homes have taken steps to protect themselves if the body must be exhumed and the casket has degraded a bit once it is in the ground.

closedoor3 karma

Do you offer any caskets or burial supplies for natural burials (ones in which degrading is the expectation?). My grandfather started a natural burial ground after my grandmothers death which is focused on allowing people to feed the trees and worms. From my understanding it is a growing market. It has its drawbacks because without embalming family must arrive more quickly if there is to be any viewing but it is inexpensive in comparison to alternatives because there is no need for a vault, elaborate casket or other things often associated with funerals. The burial ground allows people to, and even encourages, dig the burial site and fill it back in.

TheCasketDude5 karma

I fully support this method (in fact, this is what I want to happen to my corpse). We do offer certain wood caskets that are biodegradable. You are correct, this is a growing market and it won't go away anytime soon.

SBCxmuskr5 karma

If the handle breaks and dad falls out, you are looking at a free funeral.

uh wow. Have you ever heard of something like this actually happening?

TheCasketDude5 karma

Unfortunately, yes. It is rare, but it does happen from time-to-time. I have never experienced anything like this where the body falls to the ground, but I have had a situation where the handle snapped during the final internment process. Nobody noticed except the funeral directors, but it was enough of a scare to realize what could possibly happen.

Seraph_Grymm7 karma


TheCasketDude3 karma

Thank you!

jerryvo6 karma

What construction company makes these for you? What is the cheapest one made and how popular is it? Ever sell one for non-funeral uses (weird bed etc.)? Are you prohibited from selling direct? If so - how can that be policed? Can I buy mine now and have you hold it (hopefully for a long time)? Any tandems? What if what I desire is not available - will you custom construct?

TheCasketDude6 karma

I only sell to licensed funeral professionals for use at the funeral home - so no Halloween props or charcoal grill conversions. The most inexpensive one we offer sells quite often due to the economic downturn and the increasing notion that buying a solid-gold casket is a waste of money. You can pre-arrange your funeral and casket with a funeral home, which ensures you get the casket that you desire. If it is not available, customization is available.

scubasue4 karma

Seriously: why no jokey uses? Small town gossip?

TheCasketDude8 karma

I have wondered this myself, because I think that a charcoal casket grill would be pretty awesome. However, many funeral professionals and family members find this to be a very sensitive item and topic of discussion. There would be too many "Oh my goodness, that casket-bed looks exactly like the casket that we buried grandma in, now I am sad." We find it better to avoid any negative backlash and simply sell to only funeral professionals.

Additionally, any joke uses could have the potential to place a bad image or create a bad name for an industry that is already getting hit hard with cremation.

legendslayer6 karma

Does working in the industry desentesize you to death?

TheCasketDude11 karma

In a sense. I am no longer really overly bothered by the sight of a body. However, the thought of losing a loved one still makes me cringe.

PhysicsSaysNo5 karma

How and why did you get into this business?

TheCasketDude11 karma

Honestly, it was one of those situations where I saw a posting in the classifieds and thought to myself "Well, that sounds interesting, let's apply and see what happens." One thing led to another and here I am.

ChuckEye5 karma

You sell wholesale. Out of curiosity, at what quantities do the price tiers fall to get bulk discounts? Are caskets sold in 6 packs? Dozens? Baker's Dozens? Scores? Grosses?

TheCasketDude5 karma

Usually, funeral directors will order an an at-need basis (so one casket every now and again). Discounts start being applied when a funeral director orders five or more.

mrizzerdly5 karma

Do you think the funeral home overprices/excessively mark up their products? I only ask because at the crematorium I used to work at would just an extra zero to their cost (10 to us is now 100 to the customer) and I thought that was kind of bullshit.

TheCasketDude5 karma

From my understanding, it is common for funeral homes to place their entire profit margin in the casket sale. All the other charges (service charge, body removal, etc) are offered at cost. It is this reason why caskets are marked up so high.

pedantic_dullard2 karma

So, since a funeral home can't refuse to use a casket not purchased directly from them, how would a successful third-party casket sales company affect the industry?

TheCasketDude2 karma

It is bad for the industry. Funeral homes lose much of their profit if a third-party casket is used. However, with the unexpected sudden rise of cremation rates nationwide, I am not sure a third-party casket manufacturer would see success on a large-scale.

Cambo_18885 karma

What's the weirdest request you ever received?

TheCasketDude18 karma

Not really a request, but a mortician student offered up the suggestion that I sell a black/red camouflaged casket because he thought it would look "totally sick dude".

aldom5 karma

I like it. Work with MLB, NFL, Nascar, etc., get licensing deals and sell logo laden caskets. Only for the "true" fan. You'd make a fortune and I want my cut

TheCasketDude4 karma

I'll bring it up at the next board meetings. I will me sure to say that it was /u/aldom who thought of it.

bennycur3 karma

I can imagine that working/wanting to work as a mortician means that you have to be a bit odd in the heard.

TheCasketDude6 karma

Possibly. But many people who want to become a mortician are continuing on the family business. I met a student whose great-great-great grandfather started his funeral home and he wanted to continue his legacy, which I thought was incredibly cool.

FattyFarts5 karma

What happens if a family can't pay for a funeral?

TheCasketDude7 karma

This happens all too often in the industry. Most funeral homes offer a very basic package, which includes a very inexpensive casket. If this is still outside the desired price range for the family, then direct cremation is usually the preferred route.

Number6isNo14 karma

Is embalming even necessary? Why can't we just bury people with pumping them full of embalming fluid so that the body decomposes naturally. I hate to think of what is happening to those bodies if the casket is sealed and there is an anaerobic bacteria party going on inside.

TheCasketDude6 karma

Embalming is not necessary. However, if you are to do a visitation (where people come and pay respects while the deceased is laying in the casket), you really want the body to be embalmed. Without embalming, the natural decomposition begins to take place, which means the body swells up and starts to rot. This would not be a good way to remember grandpa.

slighthyperbole3 karma

Is there any specific time of the year you are most busiest?

TheCasketDude6 karma

The winter months are incredibly busy. It slows down a lot in summer. This is because in winter, older folks catch a cold, get pneumonia, and pass away at an astonishing rate.

Slippery_Jim3 karma

I live across the street from a church and can confirm there are a lot of funerals during the winter. Old people should stay away from hospitals in the winter as much as possible because they are a major source of infection and death.

TheCasketDude2 karma

Yes, unfortunately, many of them do not have a choice. Broken hips from falling on ice can lead to a hospital trip, which could ultimately be fatal.

Otdole3 karma

I've always been bugged by the use of the word "casket" for "coffin". I'm wondering if the word was hijacked by the funeral industry to soften the connotations (e.g. mortician/funeral director; cemetery/memorial park; burial/interment) Any comments?

TheCasketDude21 karma

This is a common misconception. A "coffin" has six sides, much like the thing that is associated with Dracula. A "casket" only has four sides, like a box.

TonySPhillips2 karma

Serious question: Which four?

Otdole2 karma

Interesting. They're still used in Europe, right? Is that what they're called in English speaking countries there? See any sales of those in N. America (assuming that's where you are)?

I would so want to be buried in a Dracula coffin. I'm telling my wife today.

TheCasketDude3 karma

Yes, I have heard of coffins being used in Europe and other parts of the world. Here in North America, it is a very rare right to see a coffin being used. Only one company here manufactures them, and I believe they cost quite a bit.

btcprox3 karma

Well then, what kind of casket would you prefer to be buried in upon your death? Or would you want another formal method of exit?

TheCasketDude5 karma

I would like to be buried in a wood casket without a cement vault. That way, me and the casket can both biodegrade and hopefully nourish a tree or something.

btcprox2 karma

Hmm... would the casket leech chemicals during decomposition that might be harmful? Like, I dunno, ingredients in the varnish?

TheCasketDude2 karma

There are wood caskets out there that are designed for green burials. Typically, the casket does not include any harmful chemicals and the body is not embalmed.

JustVern3 karma

Assuming you're in the U.S., due to our growing obesity problems, have you seen a rise in requests for larger caskets?

TheCasketDude13 karma

Absolutely. It has become industry standard to increase the size of the basic casket by nearly 4 inches (does not sound like a lot, but it can make all the difference). Also, it is very common to have daily requests for large units that require two burial plots. Also, many funeral homes are having to install larger crematories that have the capability to cremate larger bodies.

Some people think obesity and large caskets are funny, but I assure you, nothing is funny about forcing a family (who is already distressed enough as it is) to purchase two expensive burial plots for their loved one

VegasBoss1 karma


TheCasketDude3 karma

Yes, that was the traditional limit. Now, they are designing special crematories for larger bodies. A local funeral home next to me just added a high-power crematory that can cremate up to 1,000 pounds.

FallenOne692 karma

So, I was at my grandfather's funeral, its a military funeral and were all very shaken up. When the coordinator comes up to me in some fashion and asks me about my brother who is a Marine. At which point he takes me upstairs and shows me a casket that is specifically designed for Marines. He explains to me how much work and time goes into it and the materials used, how the service differs and such when it dawns on me.. Hes trying to sell me a casket for my brother who is still very much alive. At my grandfathers funeral.

Now I'm kinda sadistic and decided to bring my brother (who is a marine) upstairs. Honestly what I wanted more than anything was my brother to tell this guy off and get us the fuck out of there. He begins to try to sell my brother who has just returned from overseas mind you, on a casket with Marine Blues sewed in, embroidered, with EGA's all over it. At my grandfather's funeral.

How on earth do you guys go on with your job trying to sell to Living People and not make us or yourself feel uncomfortable. At a funeral for a loved one for starters? Did this guy just have huge uncontrollable balls or are all casket salespersons that way.

TL;DR: Guy tried to sell my brother a casket at my grandfathers funeral.

TheCasketDude3 karma

I can definitely understand your frustration. You were being taken advantage of by a lousy funeral director who tried to play on your emotions and sell you something for a pre-arranged funeral. That was unacceptable and you should not return to that funeral home.

This is not something I do. I only sell directly to the funeral homes. I am the person who convinced the funeral director to place that casket on his showroom floor.

As far as dealing with families goes, I know that funerals are a very sensitive time. Anytime I roll up to a funeral home to make a sales presentation, I always wait until the service is over and the family has left. Unless the family has a question for me, I do not deal directly with them.

Keep-reefer-illegal2 karma

Are there any sales you have been bothered by? Like selling a child's casket or something

TheCasketDude12 karma

Selling a child casket usually leaves me with an empty, sad feeling. It is one thing to provide a casket for a 90 year old who has had a wonderful life. Providing one for a 2 month old infant is entirely different.

rifewitherrors2 karma

What do you think of cardboard caskets?

TheCasketDude4 karma

Cardboard caskets (which are usually embroidered with decorative cloth) are perfect for people who want to go with a cremation (either for financial reasons or personal preference), but also desire to have a traditional visitation/church service.

rifewitherrors1 karma

But what about for burial? Are they not allowed?

TheCasketDude3 karma

This I am not sure of. Caskets are designed to prevent toxic body fluids (embalming liquid, etc) from leaking out. I think the law concerning this varies from state-to-state.

TheExpandingMind2 karma

I'll ask the obvious one: is it lucrative enough to sustain a comfortable living off of?

Do you only make hourly, only commission, or a mix of the two whatisyourbloodtype?

TheCasketDude2 karma

For the time being, yes it is sustainable. However, with the rise in cremation, funeral homes and casket suppliers will have to create a new strategy. Predictions are that within the next 10 years, cremations will be the typical method of body disposal and traditional burials will be a luxury purchase only.

As for my pay, I make a base salary plus commissions.

I have no clue what my blood type is. I got it tested at a county fair once and forgot what it was the next day.

_Alexander_2 karma

Do you have combo deals at all? (Buy one, get one free)

Could I buy a coffin just for the sake of having one, or is it mandatory that I provide a corpse?

Is there such thing as a twin coffin, or something set up like a bunk bed?

How did you become interested in selling coffins?

TheCasketDude2 karma

Not exactly. We offer discounts for funeral directors who purchase five or more caskets at a time. I only sell to licensed funeral professionals, so you would have to talk with your local funeral director about purchasing one for personal use, although I am not sure if they will allow it.

There are no twin caskets or anything like that. Just single ones.

I only became interested when I saw an ad in the classifieds for the job and thought "Well, that sounds like a neat thing. Let's try it out."

breitflyer2 karma


Triple casket. Went there when I was like 10. Still remember it!

TheCasketDude2 karma

Well, I stand corrected! That's pretty awesome.

MistyCascade1 karma

How recession proof is your business? I talked to a guy who worked at a funeral home. He said that he is paid well and does not have to worry about getting laid off.

P.s.I know a wooden casket carpenter. He had a wood shop on his farm with the caskets. One summer my family house sat their farm for a couple months. Every time we had someone come over to stay the night, we would take them out to the workshop and point to the various caskets and say "here is where you will be sleeping!" Lol

TheCasketDude3 karma

Casket carpenters/manufacturers are some of the best people to hang around. Most of them have great senses of humor.

As far as your question is concerned, it is not at all recession proof. When the economy takes a downturn, people do not want to spend $8,000 on a funeral with an expensive casket. They would much rather spend $1,000 on a direct cremation and save the money. We are seeing a very sudden increase in nationwide cremation rates and a sharp decline in active funeral homes.

Large corporate funeral homes (where I bet your guy works) can compensate for this. Smaller family-owned funeral homes are starting to worry about the future.

MistyCascade1 karma

interesting... I guess I can't really see the reason to spend so much on a funeral, I mean the person is already dead, they don't care any more. But maybe it somehow helps people with the grieving process?

TheCasketDude2 karma

Yes, that is a strong argument for the traditional funeral. It helps people fully realize what has happened, pay their respects, cry with their loved ones, tell funny stories about the goofy things Uncle Jim used to do, and move on with closure.

The-Rabbit1 karma

Do you sell ossuaries, like these? I've seen them in European churches, but I've never heard of them being used in the US.

TheCasketDude1 karma

We do not sell those. Honestly, I have not seen those being used in the US. The closest thing that we have to ossuaries are the Urns that hold cremation ashes.

dohickey11 karma

How much do you make per year.

TheCasketDude6 karma

Enough to pay the bills and feed the savings account.

aldom1 karma

I recently when shopping for a new car and the salesman, to add a sense of urgency, told me, "I can put you in that car. I can put you in that car today." Do you apply similar tactics to add urgency>

TheCasketDude3 karma

No, I only sell to licensed funeral professionals. I do not sell directly to the families.

TheCasketDude2 karma

Never seen it, but that casket looks kind of badass actually. Simple and elegant.

Arete_of_Cyrene1 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. It's more interesting than most and about a rarely discussed yet often needed product.

I have two questions: 1) what kind of casket are you going to be buried in? 2) does it really matter what kind of materials go into the making of a coffin? Why?

TheCasketDude2 karma

No problem!

I would like to be buried in a wood casket so both me and the casket can biodegrade.

As far as the materials go, the most common material is 18 or 20 gauge steel. There are stainless steel, wood and cardboard caskets.

HelloFellowHumans1 karma

What is the ferari of caskets? Like if I wanted to go out in as much style as possible, what would I pick?

TheCasketDude1 karma

Michael Jackson bought a solid gold casket manufactured by Batesville. It runs around $10,000.

Sir_Clayton1 karma

What's your most unusual casket so far?

TheCasketDude3 karma

We really don't have any weird caskets, but the most unusual one that I have seen was a casket that was basically a wicker basket painted with University of Florida colors.

Carti3r1 karma

Have you ever sold a casket to someone that wanted to use it for things other than a burial? Such as sleeping in, a weird bench, or decoration.

If so, what did they want to use it for?

If not, would a casket make a cool bench?

TheCasketDude1 karma

I am sure that at some point, a funeral professional has used a casket for something other than a funeral. However, we only sell to licensed funeral directors. Since it is a large expense, I do not know of very many funeral directors, who have to worry about salaries, overhead, etc, who would want to waste money on a casket that will not be used in a funeral.

Carti3r1 karma

What about a bench?

TheCasketDude1 karma

You could probably somehow make it into a bench, but it would be a really expensive and uncomfortable bench.

1337m00nm4n1 karma

So, how does one convince a funeral home that the caskets you are selling are the ones that they want? What qualities would a funeral home look for in a casket?

TheCasketDude3 karma

Basically, all casket companies offer the same product. At the end of the day, it is a metal box that holds a body and looks nice for a couple days. That being said, funeral directors are looking for something that has high eye-appeal, high quality, and is inexpensive.

silent_tone1 karma

Have any casket manufacturers experimented with 3D printing?

TheCasketDude1 karma

Not that I am aware of, but I am sure some tech-savvy executive somewhere is considering it.

rifewitherrors1 karma

What kind of casket (or coffin) would you choose to be buried in?

TheCasketDude5 karma

I think a wood casket without a cement vault would be perfect. Both me and the casket could biodegrade and nourish a tree or something!

rifewitherrors1 karma

Have you always planned to be buried, or is it something you decided after going into the business?

TheCasketDude2 karma

I had never really thought about it prior to entering the business. If I have learned one thing in this industry, it is that it is never too soon to start planning or thinking about what your final wishes are.

rifewitherrors1 karma

What if you pay for a funeral plan while in your 30s and have a completely different idea in your 80s?

TheCasketDude6 karma

If you pre-arrange a funeral, it is my understanding that you can always go back to the funeral home and make changes as you see fit. This may vary from funeral home to funeral home though, so please do not tell a funeral director that TheCasketDude on the internet said you can change your plan to a cheaper alternative.

coldfusionpuppet1 karma

So do your process orders (order processing type job), or do you actively establish relationships and grow your sales (salesperson). If it's more like sales, is there convention type activities or any special work related get togethers in this industry? Just trying to understand scope of this kind of job..

TheCasketDude3 karma

My job is more like the salesperson-style job. I make appointments with funeral directors and establish long-term relationships with them. If they need something, they call me directly. I try to be their friend above anything else.

There are conventions that exist for funeral professionals. The largest is the NFDA (National Funeral Director's Association) annual convention, where funeral directors and suppliers get together to discuss industry trends, problems, and ideas.

zaxfee1 karma

have you ever felt the need to sleep in a casket

TheCasketDude4 karma

I did get inside one during my first week on the job. It was amazingly uncomfortable. The pillow was rather nice though.

AutoBond1 karma

I realize that caskets come in sizes and that, like anything, larger costs more. Ever run acros a family that said, " ... A grand More? Oh Hells No! Hacksaw, crow bar, MAKE him fit. Even a Cuisinart would cost less than That...!"

TheCasketDude2 karma

Fortunately, I do not deal with the family side of things. That is the funeral director's responsibility. That being said, I am sure that it has happened in the past where they were forced to stuff a body in there.

Seraph_Grymm-1 karma

Edit: rectified and verified.

TheCasketDude4 karma

Awh, I just replied to your message with more proof.